• REVIEW: Wildlife [2018]

    “I feel like I need to wake up” The start of Paul Dano‘s directorial debut Wildlife depicts a happy household of mother (Carey Mulligan‘s Jeanette Brinson), father (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jerry), and son (Ed Oxenbould‘s Joe). They’ve just moved from Utah to Montana so Jerry can work as a country club’s resident “pro”—a job allowing Jeanette […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: First Man [2018]

    “It’s kinda neat” The non-controversy surrounding Damien Chazelle‘s First Man shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how political parties have appropriated art into their agendas since the dawn of time. Of course they’d glom onto the decision to ignore the lunar flag planting as some “un-American” thing rather than read the script, watch the movie, or […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

    “Flesh of each other’s flesh” Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: Aniara [2018]

    “The utter nonsense of living” So much of our desire to exist is based in control. We have the ability to move our homes, restart careers, and work towards a future of our choosing. No matter how difficult things become, there’s always a hope for better or an avenue towards change. It’s only when we’re […]

  • REVIEW: Night Comes On [2018]

    “I don’t think you’re like him” When the parole board asks seventeen-year old Angel Lamere (Dominique Fishback) why she hasn’t seen her younger sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall‘s Abby) in two years despite only being incarcerated for one, her reply was an honest yet simplistic, “I wasn’t a good influence.” The fact that she is where […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Free Solo [2018]

“I realize my body would just explode on impact” Free climbing a mountain wall at any height is insane to me. So watching Alex Honnold gaze upon El Capitan with the simultaneous declarations that it scares the crap out of him and that conquering it without rope would be his ultimate goal makes me shudder. […]

REVIEW: Monster Party [2018]

“Simple as a pimple” I have to think writer/director Chris von Hoffmann saw The Purge and wondered what could be born from reversing the good guy and bad guy roles. Those are generic terms of course since both movies ultimately contain bad guys and worse guys, but for the sake of argument we’ll say that […]

REVIEW: Bullitt County [2018]

“You don’t always have to shoot the rooster” Repression is wild insofar as our minds pushing trauma down to the depths of our soul without a second thought. While guilt will ravage some to the point where certain actions become inescapable no matter what is used to numb the pain, others can completely detach themselves […]

REVIEW: The Sisters Brothers [2018]

“Are you going to watch?” Many assumptions can be made during the opening scene of Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers. It’s here where we meet the titular siblings (John C. Reilly‘s Eli and Joaquin Phoenix‘s Charlie Sisters) approaching a ranch with a clear warning of only wanting the man they’ve come to kill. A firefight […]

REVIEW: The Hate U Give [2018]

“Know your worth” The progression of The Hate U Give‘s genesis reveals its message’s importance. Angie Thomas began its short story precursor back in college as a response to Oscar Grant’s 2009 death by police. She would push it aside soon after in hopes to revisit the subject matter once her rage subsided. Her impulse […]

REVIEW: Tito e os Pássaros [Tito and the Birds] [2018]

“You catch fear from ideas” The “outbreak” started years ago when the twenty-four hour news cycle broke onto the scene by stoking fear for ratings out of a necessity for content. We used to only get an hour of local news every night—itself needing to be bolstered by a public interest story or two—with a […]

REVIEW: Life and Nothing More [2018]

“Are you free, dead, or in jail?” Many filmmakers find the need to politicize truths without realizing or believing their existence has already politicized them. There’s power in this sort of manipulation because the product created is working towards opening eyes or (in most cases) reinforcing what those eyes accepted long ago. That power can […]

REVIEW: An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn [2018]

“That man ain’t dead” There’s an unforgettable scene from “Twin Peaks” season two that can be a make-it or break-it point for viewers due to how far David Lynch and company were willing to go with the cringe factor of their off-kilter comedic tone. It’s the one where Agent Cooper is lying on the floor […]

REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

“Why even have a bell?” Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get […]

REVIEW: Colette [2018]

“It might ruffle some feathers back home” What Wash Westmoreland (who co-wrote with his late husband Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) has done with Colette is craft an origin story for the famous, Nobel Prize-nominated French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It begins in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye with her as the teenage daughter of poor country folk unable to […]

REVIEW: Tea with the Dames [2018]

“It’s alright, you can still swear” Friends for over fifty years, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith join together for Nothing Like a Dame [Tea with the Dames] as they often have. This time, however, comes at the behest of director Roger Michell. And while it’s structured to appear like any other […]

REVIEW: The Wife [2018]

“Do what you need to do” After multiple expressions of frustration tinged with disgust on behalf of David Castleman (Max Irons) towards his father Joe (Jonathan Pryce), the time for the latter to finally tell the former what he thinks about his short story arrives. Joe is an acclaimed author who’s just landed in Stockholm […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: The Rainbow Bridge Motel [2018]

“Didn’t we invent cultural irony?” As soon as Tin’s (Zaw Win) tacky shuttle spins his passengers (Cole Burden‘s Darren and Chris Modrzynski‘s Dean) away from the picturesque majesty of Niagara Falls’ cataracts, I knew exactly what was happening. Anyone who’s called Buffalo’s surrounding area home will too because they’ve experienced the other place sharing that […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Thunder Road [2018]

“Should we call the manufacturer?” It’s unsurprising to learn the opening one-shot of Jim Cummings‘ SXSW-winning film Thunder Road is itself a revision of the writer/director/star’s Sundance-winning short of the same name. The sequence therefore plays like a mini-movie with its escalation of emotion, honest humor in tragedy, and subtle exposition readying us for the […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: About a Donkey [2018]

“Smaller than a horse” The Owens family is at a nexus point of chaotic emotions, troubles, and fears thanks to the start of new chapters in their respective lives. Mom (Katherine Wessling‘s Ann) has officially accepted what everyone else already had: a battle with depression. Burgh (Ben Kaufman) recently started seeing someone (Sarah Haruko‘s Cassie) […]