• REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

    “We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

  • REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

    “He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

  • INTERVIEW: Matt Tyrnauer, director of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

    Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Matt Tyrnauer‘s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City has received rave reviews across the country as it opened in limited release April 21st, 2017. Centering on Jane Jacobs—a journalist, author, and activist—the film showcases the problems inherent to how urban planners in the mid-twentieth century worked. […]

  • REVIEW: A Quiet Passion [2017]

    “Give me something pressed from truth” I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who never heard the name Emily Dickinson, although I’m probably not alone insofar as being ignorant to her work. For someone as prolific as the Amherst, Massachusetts-born poet with approximately 1,800 poems to her name, I’m sure I’ve heard at least […]

  • REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

    “Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

film reviews

REVIEW: Annabelle [2014]

“Crazy people do crazy things, ma’am” The story of Annabelle—a possessed Raggedy Ann doll from the 1970s—is a part of Lorraine and Ed Warren’s lore as experts in the occult. It along with the Amityville house are what the couple are most known for “combating” and thus easy fodder to provide audiences an entry point […]

REVIEW: The Transfiguration [2017]

“I’ve got plans” Life’s been hard for Milo (Eric Ruffin). His father died when he was eight and his mother committed suicide not too long after. That type of horror will change anyone let alone a child. It turned him towards the macabre—mainly a fascination with movie vampires and the rules with which they exist. […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Sequence Break [2017]

“Let the void look into you” Introversion and high anxiety are real and can be triggered by the tiniest of things or the lack thereof. Oz (Chase Williamson) has struggled with both his entire life, that insecurity in social situations driving him towards the world of videogames. The joy of solitude playing them and being […]

REVIEW: A Ghost Story [2017]

“I don’t remember” **SPOILERS** There’s a character (Will Oldham‘s ‘Prognosticator’) in David Lowery‘s A Ghost Story—a sparse meditation on life, love, grief, and death—who delivers a dissertation of that very film. Or at least what pedantically pretentious windbags such as he would think the film means in order to minimize art’s infinite power to profoundly […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: S.U.M.1 [2017]

“We will fight for our future. Your future.” It’s been decades since a new world order changed Earth forever, an alien invasion by creatures known as the Nonesuch forcing humanity underground. The old guard who survived remembers the war that drove them subterranean, memories of life on the surface and the beasts that present-day generations […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tragedy Girls [2017]

“To make an omelet you have to kill some ex-boyfriends” You’re a couple of horror obsessed high school seniors living in a boring town where the most salacious thing happening is an affair between your teacher Mrs. Kent (Nicky Whelan) and fire chief Big Al (Craig Robinson). You’re vlog/twitter account searching for gore to capture […]

REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

“We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

REVIEW: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [2017]

“We can forgive, but we will never forget” Sci-fi fantasy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the most expensive European and independent (anywhere) production ever at approximately $200 million dollars—high enough that writer/director/producer Luc Besson pretty much leveraged his distribution shingle EuropaCorp before bringing STX on as a partner to defer costs […]

REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Lowlife [2017]

“It is my great honor to grant you your wish on such a special day” An ex-junkie, ex-convict, and luchador enter a fish taco shack … the punch line is a three-pronged adventure through Compton while engulfed by the shadow of a lunatic pimp moonlighting as a black market organ wholesaler. Director Ryan Prows and […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: La noche del virgen [Night of the Virgin] [2016]

“To the strangers who crossed paths” Don’t mess with a Nepali “cantara” on New Year’s—especially if you’re a virgin. Had young Nico (Javier Bódalo) only been warned, he might have avoided the worst nightmare of his life. While his virginity wasn’t for a lack of trying (or spilled drinks, vomit, and curt rebukes), somehow surviving […]

REVIEW: The Hero [2017]

“You can’t outrun destiny, amigo” Death is the great equalizer and one true certainty in life. That doesn’t mean we’re prepared for its sudden or prolonged arrival, though. If anything it forces us to take stock of achievements and mistakes, knowing that the time we believed we had to fix the latter was about to […]

REVIEW: Bless Their Little Hearts [1984]

“I’m tired, tired, tired. Start trying to be a man.” There’s no getting around the connection that binds Billy Woodberry‘s Bless Their Little Hearts to Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep. Both were written by Burnett, shot in Watts, and entries in the movement known as the “LA Rebellion”. They both deal with the struggle to […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: The Honor Farm [2017]

“Make a choice” If Karen Skloss‘ feature narrative debut The Honor Farm possesses anything it’s an abundance of style. This is a gorgeously shot prom night turned mushroom trip romp of millennial excess caught in the throes of dream. We meet Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) walking through the woods in her dress—trees covered in toilet […]