• REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

    “It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

  • REVIEW: We the Animals [2018]

    “We wanted more” There are a lot of hard truths within We the Animals. Describing patriarch Paps (Raúl Castillo) as “loving but unpredictable” in the press notes gets right to the heart of that complexity since a more apt description could be “abuser.” He’s a man with a hot temper who inflames his wife (Sheila […]

  • REVIEW: Minding the Gap [2018]

    “We formed a family together” It begins as a film about self-created community, three young men coming together on their skateboards to escape the private turmoil experienced at home. The sport was a cathartic outlet more than some bid to act cool, helping them become close enough friends to share details about their individual demons […]

  • REVIEW: Widows [2018]

    “This isn’t your world” When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Write When You Get Work [2018]

“I’m friendly” We don’t ever discover why or when high school sweethearts Ruth Duffy (Rachel Keller) and Jonny Collins (Finn Wittrock) broke up during the course of Stacy Cochran‘s Write When You Get Work. All we know are certain circumstances and thus are left to assume the rest. Maybe they tried making things work after […]

REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody [2018]

“Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds.” There’s the story of Freddie Mercury and the story of his band Queen. One deals with complicated topics spanning fractured identity, the excess of fame, and AIDS while the other is apparently straightforward with little conflict besides creative squabbles that get ironed out before the argument is even finished. […]

REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [2018]

“We mustn’t be what they say we are” Who is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)? This is an important question we have to ask while watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, one we didn’t during the entirety of Harry Potter’s adventures at Hogwarts and beyond. Back then we knew who our hero was because of […]

REVIEW: What They Had [2018]

“Is that my baby?” Norbert Eberhardt (Robert Forster) is a loving, generous man who literally swept the woman of his dreams (Blythe Danner‘s Ruth) off her feet to start a decades-long romance that produced two children (Hilary Swank‘s Bridget and Michael Shannon‘s Nick), two grandkids (Taissa Farmiga‘s Emma being one), and unforgettable memories … until […]

REVIEW: Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak [Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts] [2017]

“This is my prisoner” Considering the seemingly endless number of Hollywood male directors tackling women empowerment films as a means to declare themselves feminists while also—wittingly or not—preserving their careers at the expense of the women they’re seemingly in solidarity with, you must give renowned Indonesian director Garin Nugroho credit for recognizing the treatment he […]

REVIEW: The Clovehitch Killer [2018]

“I like bad news” Don Burnside (Dylan McDermott) is a pillar of his community. He’s the troop leader of his son’s (Charlie Plummer‘s Tyler) church-adjacent Boy Scouts, a devout man of the Lord alongside his wife Cindy (Samantha Mathis), and the type of guy to go out of his way to volunteer and make the […]

REVIEW: Daughters of the Dust [1991]

“I ain’t got no more dreams, cousin” The voice we hear is of the unborn child (Kai-Lynn Warren) growing inside Eula Peazant (Alva Rogers). She speaks about the events onscreen from a future that ensures her birth if not her residence—the lynchpin to the entirety of Julie Dash‘s Daughters of the Dust who metaphorically and […]

REVIEW: Monsoon [2018]

“Don’t let one tragedy cause another” The start of Miguel Duran‘s Monsoon is like its own short film. We meet John (Austin Lyon) and Sarah (Katherine Hughes) the weekend the former is supposed to be moving east for Cornell while she remains closer to home in the Arizona desert. They’re best friends and have been […]

REVIEW: 버닝 [Beoning] [Burning] [2018]

“Should I forget it ‘isn’t’ here?” Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo) never tells Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon) what “metaphor” means. They’re standing in Ben’s (Steven Yeun) kitchen as he chops ingredients for a pasta dish and talks philosophically with a smug smile until the question comes up. He defers answering her to Jong-su since he’s the writer of […]

REVIEW: Jonathan [2018]

“I don’t want to take you with me” Something isn’t right. Jonathan (Ansel Elgort) is tired despite his routine bordering on monotony being the same for who knows how many years. He wakes at 7:00am without an alarm, goes for a morning run, and heads to work as a draftsman at an architecture firm run […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Here and Now [2018]

“First a tragedy. Then a miracle.” The news ain’t good. Famed vocalist Vivienne Carala (Sarah Jessica Parker) is on the cusp of a world tour for her latest (and ninth) album only to find herself in a hospital waiting room calling her manager (Common‘s Ben) to say she’s going to be late for rehearsal. She […]

REVIEW: Suspiria [2018]

“Of what do you ask?” I’m no big fan of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria. It’s a gorgeous film overflowing with mood and aesthetic that ultimately becomes the poster child for style over substance before gradually revealing more to offer upon subsequent viewings. In the end, however, it still doesn’t add up to much besides its place […]

REVIEW: Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain [2018]

“The old stuff is just weird stuff you got used to” Documentarian Alex Winter is really solidifying his place within the tech world as a storyteller willing to look at modern systems stymying the old guard and exciting the new before helping to disseminate what they mean for the world at-large. He looked back at […]

REVIEW: The Old Man and the Gun [2018]

“I know what I’m doing” Finding an occupation you love is rare when familial and financial responsibilities often dictate a path towards compromise. It’s therefore hard to let one go. Just ask Forrest Tucker, a career criminal in and out of prison since age fifteen whose life consisted of planning his next bank robbery or […]