• REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

    “She’ll be okay” It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and […]

  • REVIEW: Napszállta [Sunset] [2018]

    “It’s starting all over again” I felt as though I was running circles throughout László Nemes‘ sophomore effort Napszállta [Sunset]. It doesn’t help that we’re often inches from Írisz Leiter’s (Juli Jakab) face—if not looking through her very eyes—as she winds her way through an unfamiliar and just out of focus Budapest, Hungary. I speak […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2018

    Honorable Mention: #100: Mindset by Vacationer #99: Bruce Wayne by Fetty Wap #98: 7 by Beach House #97: Castles by Lissie #96: Shift by Henry Green #95: Kyoto by Tyga #94: White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood by of Montreal #93: Trickster Blues by RF Shannon #92: I can feel you creepinto my private life by Tune-Yards […]

  • REVIEW: Transit [2018]

    “I won’t be writing anymore school essays” It took until the end of Christian Petzold‘s Transit and my reading the press notes to realize Georg’s (Franz Rogowski) story unfolded in the present day. I felt off-balance from the start as far as what the historical context for these events were because he was a German […]

  • REVIEW: Apollo 11 [2019]

    “The Eagle has landed” A black screen with the title Apollo 11 arrives for an instant before we’re whisked away to July 1969 as those in Mission Control and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins prepare themselves for the first manned spaceflight to land on the moon. There’s no opening interstitial providing context, […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Ask Dr. Ruth [2019]

“My parents actually gave me life twice” A couple mentions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as “Grandma Freud” are seen and heard throughout Ryan White‘s documentary

REVIEW: High Life [2019]

“What do you know about cruelty?” Redemption can be an illusion to so many people. They try so hard to make up for past misdeeds that they often fall prey to even more along the way. That’s what happens when you give your quest a tangible goal—achieving it becomes paramount, the process a means to […]

REVIEW: Wild Nights with Emily [2019]

“Sue, forevermore” As evidenced by her poetry and letters, the reclusive spinster Emily Dickinson proves anything but. Through them we learn of her struggles to get published, the rejections endured, and a love shared with her sister-in-law Susan. Why then was the former thought process how we were told to consider her life? Because those […]

REVIEW: Family [2019]

“Take control of your life” One of many side effects (central tenets) of the patriarchy is this notion that women must either follow a workaholic career trajectory devoid of distractions (family) or choose to stay at home and devote their time to being housewives without distractions (career). It’s a very conscious duality with which to […]

REVIEW: What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine [2019]

“We were the ‘dark’ Star Trek” More than merely a look back at what was, Ira Steven Behr‘s documentary project What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine is also a way to look forward—a perfect contrast considering how maligned the show was during its tenure compared to today. You could say “Deep […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man [2019]

“Turning poop culture into pop culture” This statistic says it all: 40% of citizens on Earth don’t have toilets. A big part of that number is India and China, but it’s still insane to comprehend as someone from a country that won’t allow homes or businesses to be built without one. It’s the type of […]

REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

“I love you three thousand” The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to […]

REVIEW: Booksmart [2019]

“‘Your ugly’ what?” Does Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut Booksmart call to mind Superbad? You bet. Not only is it about two nerd best friends trying to punch above their weight class and party hard before graduating, but it also stars that film’s co-lead Jonah Hill‘s sister in a very similar mode. She (Beanie Feldstein‘s Molly) […]

REVIEW: I Trapped the Devil [2019]

“Something feels wrong” Tragedy struck some time ago and we honestly don’t need to know the details to understand how it’s affected the three characters we’re about to meet. Steve (Scott Poythress) is the one who’s hurting from it and has been ever since. Maybe his brother Matt (AJ Bowen) thought space was needed for […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Willie [2019]

“I’m not done” It was 2003 before a Black hockey player had the honor of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That player was Grant Fuhr, the Stanley Cup winning goalie of the Edmonton Oilers and multiple other teams (including a short stint with my hometown Buffalo Sabres). Because he was far from […]

REVIEW: 江湖儿女 [Jiang hu er nü] [Ash Is Purest White] [2018]

“Armed men tend to die first” The genesis of Zhangke Jia‘s Jiang hu er nü [Ash is Purest White] is intriguing. After thinking about cut scenes from two of his earlier films starring now wife Tao Zhao (Unknown Pleasures and Still Life), he found himself merging her characters into one. He saw this woman having […]

REVIEW: Rottentail [2019]

“I don’t want to change!” I’m a proponent for fun comic book adaptations that don’t adhere to the Christopher Nolan school of brooding drama that’s more or less taken over the genre, but I’d hope the goal would be smart wit rather than dumb idiocy. That doesn’t mean I necessarily begrudge the sort who seek […]

REVIEW: JT LeRoy [2019]

“I wouldn’t even exist without her” It really is a wild story. Laura Albert, in need of expressing her pain outside of her own identity, creates a fictional version of herself to write three novels as exorcism under “his” name. Who knows if she anticipated the type of acclaim they and “he” would receive, but […]

REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona [2019]

“She’s already here” When Warner Bros. decided to capitalize on the box office and critical success of James Wan‘s The Conjuring by crafting an extended universe of creepy spirits with a feature length tale born from that film’s prologue, the results were not great. Annabelle felt rushed at best and retrofitted at worst—a generic horror […]

REVIEW: Peterloo [2018]

“Let’s see what he has to say” Films devoid of main protagonists are generally created as such because the event orbited by their ensemble of characters proves the focal point instead. So when that central moment is a massacre, you must brace for the reality that many will end up victims left for dead. The […]