• REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [2017]

    “It’s hard to know what to do” It’s no coincidence that the dumbest character in Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri says the most revealing line of dialogue throughout the entire film: “Anger begets more anger.” I guess it’s because Penelope (Samara Weaving) isn’t dumb as much as she’s naïvely innocent and young. She’s […]

  • REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 [2017]

    “Because you’ve never seen a miracle” Survival is a selfish endeavor, but not necessarily one driven by ego. On the contrary, survival is often a selfless means to place community ahead of the individual. Look at our country’s current, abhorrent divisions along lines we should have erased decades ago or never created in the first […]

  • REVIEW: The Florida Project [2017]

    “What are you playing?” It’s hard not to think about another A24 produced film while watching Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project. The themes it presents due its impoverished central characters barely scrapping by financially on a day-to-day basis are identical to Andrea Arnold‘s American Honey and its band of twenty-somethings traveling the countryside to scam […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2018]

    “The darker the night, the brighter the stars” Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) compares God to a fire when explaining how the ones our religions’ sacred books describe aren’t quite right. Our creator is simpler than those iterations. He has the power to turn wood into ash and water into steam. He has the power to transform. […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2018]

    “Which of you is the bigger liar?” It didn’t win the Oscar for best live action short in 2014, but Xavier Legrand’s Just Before Losing Everything was by far my favorite nominee. Discovering his debut feature Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] was constructed as an expansion of that story therefore made it a must-see. The short […]

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film reviews

BIFF17 REVIEW: Mermaids [2017]

“All tails are welcome here” On first blush Ali Weinstein‘s documentary Mermaids focuses its glimpse at the titular sea myth’s power towards the whimsical and fun. She takes us from the days of old at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (which is still in operation) to a contemporary trend of mer-lovers creating or commissioning […]

REVIEW: Blade Runner [1982]

“All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain” An over-populated Earth circa 2019 uses synthetic androids known as replicants for the hard labor of colonization. Their lifespans are barely four years long, their circuitry prone to fits of amoral aggression. Each subsequent version becomes stronger and smarter, the risk of mutiny […]

REVIEW: The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One [2017]

“Insanity is a very common affliction around these parts” Here’s the harsh truth: a low-budget sci-fi from Australia propped up by its secondary lead because the actor playing him is the most recognizable and thus “bankable” star involved is never a home run. Sorry Kellan Lutz, but it’s not. The result conjures the type of […]

REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes [2017]

“Libbers not lobbers” Between the title and trailer, I assumed Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ Battle of the Sexes would focus strictly on the circus surrounding the event itself. It’s not like there isn’t enough content to make that happen between the political, social, and athletic motivations behind the media frenzy. But screenwriter Simon Beaufoy […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Prodigy [2017]

“Love is the guise under which selfishness operates” Guilt is a powerful thing. It can make you act in ways that go against your own survival and yet still ensure those actions are selfishly motivated. You aren’t necessarily acting to help another or have their best interests in mind. You’re goal is to make-up for […]

REVIEW: Videodrome [1983]

“Better on TV than on the streets” To watch David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome today is to acknowledge his clairvoyance as far as technology’s capacity to control via (mis)information. He filmed this body horror classic about subliminal messaging in mass consumption in 1983: years before the political firestorm in 1992 revolving around ubiquitous violence in videogames via […]

REVIEW: I Am Another You [2017]

“I’ll show you what freedom is like” Documentarian Nanfu Wang left China in 2011 to find the freedom that remaining in her home country never could provide. She came to America—specifically New York City—to study filmmaking before ultimately creating the 2017 Oscars-shortlisted Hooligan Sparrow (which depicted some of the oppression and persecution that she sought […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2018]

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars” Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) compares God to a fire when explaining how the ones our religions’ sacred books describe aren’t quite right. Our creator is simpler than those iterations. He has the power to turn wood into ash and water into steam. He has the power to transform. […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Vinterbrødre [Winter Brothers] [2017]

“Everyone has a little darkness in them” It opens in darkness—the beams from headlamp flashlights and sparks of metal on rock our only points of illumination. This is the oppressive environment holding the over-worked and under-paid miners while their boss sits in his factory office without a care as to who the men in his […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Of Sheep and Men [2017]

“In this country, the big fish eat the small fish” It’s the cusp of Eid in Algiers, Bab el Oued circa 2016 and the rams are running wild. Well, not wild per se considering each is bought, sold, and always owned. They seem to be a huge staple in this impoverished town as a means […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: شيخ جاكسون [Sheikh Jackson] [2017]

“You can’t guarantee living till tomorrow” The thing I could never wrap my head around religious-wise is the idea of strict right and wrong. As a Catholic it’s somewhat easy as far as sin and repentance. You’re allowed to do a lot as long as you feel remorse and guilt enough to learn your lesson. […]

REVIEW: Elizabeth Blue [2017]

“Mental illness doesn’t need to be treated like a dirty secret” It’s highly disconcerting yet unsurprising that many Baby Boomers now in their sixties and seventies still see mental illness as a weakness. Talk about the scenarios that young people of today face and they dismiss them as a generational thing, a liberalization of society […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Licht [Mademoiselle Paradis] [2017]

“If you cannot see, you are not seen” Maria Theresia von Paradis was the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa’s Court Councilor and thus a young woman of standing despite the blindness that took her eyes before the age of five. Her father Joseph Anton and mother Maria Rosalia had the means to therefore teach her […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] [2017]

“Come here before I get angry” Based on lead actor Adrian Schiop‘s fictionalized biography, Ivana Mladenovic‘s Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] shows a world of poverty and futility possessing few avenues of escape for those born within. Schiop’s character Adi arrives at the Bucharest ghetto known as Ferentari to study its people’s […]

REVIEW: Kingsman: The Golden Circle [2017]

“There’s no room for emotion in this scenario” When Kingsman: The Secret Service debuted, comparisons to creator Mark Millar‘s other comic book to cinematic adaptation Kick-Ass were obvious. How the latter spun the superhero template, the former spun stylish James Bond-type spy actioners. It was all high-concept insanity with a kid from the wrong side […]