• TIFF19 REVIEW: The Rest of Us [2019]

    “Feels Inside Not Expressed” Despite death being a definitive end, there’s still a chance for new beginnings in the aftermath. Sometimes it’s by necessity and sometimes by choice. In the case of Craig, however, it’s inevitably both thanks to his leaving behind two families: his first and his second. While he left Cami (Heather Graham) […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

    “The cow and the shotgun” No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Sound of Metal [2019]

    “Will it come back?” The film opens with Riz Ahmed‘s Ruben sitting at a drum kit while guitar distortions deafen us. Eventually Olivia Cooke‘s Lou starts screaming as his sticks connect for a steady beat until all hell breaks loose. We’re in this venue with them, the in-close camerawork proving Ahmed’s lessons paid off because […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Håp [Hope] [2019]

    “What do we tell the kids?” Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) was married with three children when Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) met him. She didn’t want to fall in love, but twenty years and three more kids later show that’s exactly what happened. When Anja raised their babies, Tomas worked—a lot. When it was time for her […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Calm with Horses [2020]

    “That’s not you” To cross the Devers family is to earn retribution. This is a known fact to all in the rural Irish town of Glanbeigh. Some strangers arrive and overstep their bounds without knowing (as if getting involved with drug dealers was an act whose danger can be unknown), but most everyone knows everyone […]

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film reviews

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Giant [2019]

“You can’t run from where we’ve been” Places, objects, sounds, and smells each retain shimmers of memory we long to hold and struggle to forget. This is what’s happened to Charlotte’s (Odessa Young) childhood home—the place where her mother took her own life. Whether she hasn’t thought of it in a long time or it’s […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: How to Build a Girl [2019]

“This bitch be paying rent” As a young girl with aspirations to write, journalist Caitlin Moran used her hippie homeschool upbringing to enter literary competitions with potential to open industry doors. The Observer‘s “Young Reporter of the Year” at fifteen eventually started her professional career the following year with Melody Maker and never looked back. […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Lighthouse [2019]

“Bad luck to kill a seabird” You can stop yourself from worrying about story the moment you sit down for Robert Eggers‘ The Lighthouse since there is none—at least none of value besides the simple premise of two men isolated on a foggy island with nothing but their wits (and nightmares) about them. Thomas Wake […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Sea Fever [2019]

“Don’t think. Just jump.” Ever the scientist too enthralled with work to bother making friends, Siobhán (Hermoine Corfield) will stop at nothing to gaze upon a school of fish whose swim pattern might be crucial to her research. This means bumming onto a trawler owned by Gerard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen) thanks to […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Sound of Metal [2019]

“Will it come back?” The film opens with Riz Ahmed‘s Ruben sitting at a drum kit while guitar distortions deafen us. Eventually Olivia Cooke‘s Lou starts screaming as his sticks connect for a steady beat until all hell breaks loose. We’re in this venue with them, the in-close camerawork proving Ahmed’s lessons paid off because […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Blackbird [2020]

“To wonderful life” It’s not everyday that an international remake retains the same screenwriter, but that’s the case with Christian Torpe and his script for the Danish film Silent Heart moving to director Roger Michell‘s hands as Blackbird. I haven’t seen the original, but the subject’s universality has me thinking very little besides cultural changes […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Castle in the Ground [2019]

“I’m not stuck here with you” An addict is an addict whether they’ve become one via doctor’s orders or not. Sometimes the “not” part is even a direct result of those orders. When you’re working with volatile drugs like OxyContin, the line separating too much and not enough is razor-thin with the inclination being to […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Personal History of David Copperfield [2020]

“Digs for joy, that boy. Finds it too.” David Copperfield (Dev Patel) has a story to tell. It begins with his cute, precocious little self (Jairaj Varsani) making Mom laugh and nanny Mrs. Peggotty (Daisy May Cooper) laugh even harder. He’s a headstrong boy with dreams of joy thanks to the overflowing love shown to […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Mientras dure la guerra [While at War] [2019]

“But we’re Christians” Director Alejandro Amenábar spoke very briefly before the screening of his latest film Mientras dure la guerra [While at War] and the main sentiment was this: “It could happen anywhere.” He doesn’t, however, just mean rebellion or uprising. He doesn’t mean a coup or military dictatorship either. What he and co-writer Alejandro […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Proxima [2019]

“My mother said it’s not a job for girls” A last minute addition to a Mars mission precursor via the International Space Station, Sarah (Eva Green) is simultaneously excited and anxious. While space travel was her childhood dream, the sheer logistics of this journey dictate a year away from her young daughter Stella ( Zélie […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Harpiks [Resin] [2019]

“They ruin everything” Published in 2015, Ane Riel’s novel Harpiks [Resin] found itself the winner of four major Scandinavian literary awards on its way to international bestseller status. It’s no wonder then that it would be optioned as a film so soon afterwards by fellow Danes Daniel Borgman (director) and Bo Hr. Hansen (screenwriter). A […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Håp [Hope] [2019]

“What do we tell the kids?” Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) was married with three children when Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) met him. She didn’t want to fall in love, but twenty years and three more kids later show that’s exactly what happened. When Anja raised their babies, Tomas worked—a lot. When it was time for her […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Entwined [2019]

“I long for the old ways” The death of their father triggers Panos (Prometheus Aleifer) and half-brother George (John De Holland) to take stock. The latter wants to stick together and move forward while the former chooses to start anew. Panos is a doctor who now recognizes the delicacy of life too well and wants […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Marian paratiisi [Maria’s Paradise] [2019]

“God will punish you” At twelve years old, Maria Åkerblom heard the voice of an angel. It came in a dream and she spoke its words to those around her as though in a trance. She became a traveling sensation as soon as the pious caught on going city to city to tell God-fearing Finnish […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Antigone [2019]

“My heart says to help my brother” A lot of people die during Sophocles‘ Antigone. The death of Oedipus puts his sons Eteocles and Polynices on the throne, their deaths spark their titular sister to fight for the latter’s right to be buried, and her eventual suicide leads to more dead bodies as only a […]