• 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 […]

  • REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

    “More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly […]

  • REVIEW: Leave No Trace [2018]

    “We can still think our own thoughts” It’s easy to depict PTSD-suffering war veterans as unstable, dangerous, and beyond help from inevitable tragedy. This depiction has sadly become the Hollywood norm to conjure volatile dramatics devoid of the empathy those struggling to combat their demons deserve. If anyone could supply the necessary humanity to portray […]

  • INTERVIEW: Xavier Legrand, writer/director of Custody

    It’s always a treat to see a director whose work you’ve enjoyed in short form make the leap to features—especially when the latter debuts at a venue as auspicious as the Toronto International Film Festival. This is exactly what happened with Xavier Legrand last year. Less than half a decade after earning his first Oscar […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2017

    Honorable Mention: #100: Talking by Elderbrook #99: Carnival III:The Fall and Rise of a Refugee by Wyclef Jean #98: Somewhere in Between by VÉRITÉ #97: The World We Built by The Wild Reeds #96: Lines by Charlie Cunningham #95: Ti Amo by Phoenix #94: Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio #93: Last Place by Grandaddy #92: […]

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film reviews

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: BuyBust [2018]

“People die from following orders too” Police director Alvarez (Nonie Buencamino) and his prized team leader Dela Cruz (Lao Rodriguez) are finally making headway with their war on drugs throughout the slums of Filipino capital Manila. They’ve already cleaned sections long-thought lost to crime and currently have one of kingpin Biggie Chen’s (Arjo Atayde) mid-level […]

REVIEW: The Virgin Suicides [2000]

“Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl” With all the accolades bestowed upon writer/director Sofia Coppola these past two decades, only an idiot would question her worth by saying she’s little more than her Hollywood royalty name. Those who said it back in 1999 as her debut feature The Virgin Suicides made the festival […]

REVIEW: How Do You Type a Broken Heart [2018]

“You have to fight” Addiction is a tough topic to do justice with in a short film. I don’t mean that as a commentary on duration, but honesty. The last thing you want to do is have a piece meant to conjure introspection and drama feel like a PSA commissioned by the same companies that […]

REVIEW: Entanglement [2018]

“Should I have brought you flowers too?” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** There’s a great moment in Jeremiah Kipp‘s short film Entanglement wherein Frank (Lukas Hassel) explains to the second party of a random sexual encounter assumedly organized online (Robin Rose Singer‘s Jenny) how he used to “see” his ex-girlfriend everywhere after they broke up. Screenwriter Joseph Fiorillo […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Vuelven [Tigers Are Not Afraid] [2017]

“We forget who we are when the things from outside come to get us” You know things are bad when the art coming out of an area reaches a point where “dark, metaphorical fairy tale” becomes a necessary style to wield as intense catharsis. There’s probably better markers to highlight when a community’s abject horror […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ルームロンダリング [Rûmu rondaringu] [Room Laundering] [2018]

“Don’t cry. Smile.” According to Kenji Katagiri‘s debut feature Rûmu rondaringu [Room Laundering]—and I have no reason to disbelieve him—Japan has a law stating that landlords must divulge whether a previous tenant died or suffered a violent crime within any newly vacated property to all prospective replacements. But while this rule makes sense considering people […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Lifechanger [2018]

“I’m not ready to die” To take Justin McConnell‘s horror film Lifechanger at face value is a mistake. You won’t understand this truth right away, though, because it starts out being exactly what you thought. Emily Roberts (Elitsa Bako) awakens covered in blood next to an emaciated corpse as a man’s (Bill Oberst Jr.) voiceover […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Sankt Bernhard Syndikatet [The Saint Bernard Syndicate] [2018]

“I call it the panda of the west” There’s something profound about Danish director Mads Brügger‘s documentaries due to his entering dangerous countries under false pretext to capture a result. Whether it’s heading to North Korea as a vaudeville act or the Central African Republic as a Liberian ambassador attempting to infiltrate the illegal blood […]

REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

“More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Blue My Mind [2018]

“I’m wasting my youth on trains” Adolescence is a metamorphosis from youth to adulthood—a time defined by its constant state of flux physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Puberty is the backbone to this period because of the changes it inflicts. It alters our hormones and appearance while also providing a moment with which to be reborn. […]

REVIEW: Three Identical Strangers [2018]

“I don’t know if this will turn out great or terrible” Just imagine you’re walking onto your college campus for the first time as a freshman and everyone passing by says hello. Okay. Maybe you’ve landed at a happy-go-lucky school of friendly co-eds ready to welcome all newcomers to the tribe. But then some say, […]

REVIEW: Leave No Trace [2018]

“We can still think our own thoughts” It’s easy to depict PTSD-suffering war veterans as unstable, dangerous, and beyond help from inevitable tragedy. This depiction has sadly become the Hollywood norm to conjure volatile dramatics devoid of the empathy those struggling to combat their demons deserve. If anyone could supply the necessary humanity to portray […]

REVIEW: Skyscraper [2018]

“Got any duct tape?” In an age of remakes, reboots, and rehashes, it’s suddenly become refreshing to see homage—especially the self-aware kind. If you’ve seen the alternate posters for Rawson Marshall Thurber‘s Skyscraper that crib off the designs of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, you understand how the filmmakers have embraced comparison due to […]

REVIEW: Eating Animals [2018]

“No one fired a pistol to mark the start of the race to the bottom” Author Jonathan Safran Foer (of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close fame) wrote his third book—a memoir entitled Eating Animals—as an answer to the question he asked himself upon the birth of his newborn son: Should he […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: La nuit a dévoré le monde [The Night Eats the World] [2018]

“I’m the one who’s not normal” Who would survive a zombie apocalypse? The extroverts who’re always part of a crowd, oblivious to the dire circumstances of their surroundings and therefore unable to escape the clutches of an oncoming horde mere inches away before recognition? No. Nor should they. When you think about the type of […]