• TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2017]

    “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] [2017]

    “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 […]

  • REVIEW: De sidste mænd i Aleppo [Last Men in Aleppo] [2017]

    “If I leave, it will be to the cemetery” It’s a shame that those who need to watch Last Men in Aleppo are those who won’t. I’m talking the brainwashed masses quick to call a liberal media “fake news” while they help facilitate legitimate fake news fabricated by enemy regimes hoping to plant dissent. They […]

  • REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

    “We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

  • REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

    “He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

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film reviews

TIFF17 REVIEW: The Crescent [2017]

“Yeah, sweetie. Daddy got lost.” It starts by enveloping us in marbleizing paint—overlapping colors raked to warp dots into abstract patterns—and the loud aural pulses of a musical soundscape as heavy and permanent as those oils are fluidly malleable. We assume it’s merely a sensory aesthetic Seth A. Smith constructs to provide the tone for […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Du forsvinder [You Disappear] [2017]

“We just want to make sure you’re well enough” What if it was an established fact that free will as a concept was dictated by our body’s chemistry? Every decision we think we’re making is really made implicitly by our organs—more correctly, they are dictating to our brains what it is we want. That shopping […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Los Burritos [Cocaine Prison] [2017]

“If it doesn’t happen, what can I do?” If you’ve ever watched season three of “Prison Break” and wondered what was going on with Sona’s weird open air slum-like community barely watched by guards, know that the truth isn’t very far off. Just look at Bolivia’s San Sebastian Prison in Cochabamba, a small concrete establishment […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Cardinals [2017]

“Good to have me back” The big story surrounding Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley‘s feature debut Cardinals playing the Toronto International Film Festival stems from the fact that both men graduated from the city’s own Ryerson University. As a longtime festival venue/partner, this premiere will inevitably be treated as a homecoming. But don’t let that […]

REVIEW: Good Time [2017]

“Cross the room if you’ve ever felt lonely” The first person we meet in Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Good Time isn’t its lead Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson). Before he enters the picture to propel the film towards its kinetic search for ten grand, things begin much slower and much quieter with his brother Nick (played […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Black Kite [2017]

“For a drop of water I’ll tell you my whole story” With the world caught in a time and place allowing it to quickly judge so much on so little, tiny human stories like Black Kite prove to be their most potent. Ask Americans about the Taliban and some will probably say the term is […]

REVIEW: Bushwick [2017]

“We’ll make it one block at a time” The circumstances are horrific, but Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott‘s Bushwick couldn’t have picked a timelier week to hit limited theatrical release. We’re just barely ten days out from the tragic death of a counter-protestor by a white supremacist and the viral footage of so-called “alt-right” militias […]

REVIEW: Wind River [2017]

“Don’t steer away from the pain” After watching his first two spec scripts find homes with established directors—Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie bringing those words to life beautifully in neo-westerns Sicario and Hell or High Water respectively—actor turned screenwriter Taylor Sheridan finally steps behind the camera with his latest Wind River. While not as complex […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Verdwijnen [Disappearance] [2017]

“Until we all drown in it” Vignettes depicting a young girl playing the piano on a darkened concert stage come and go throughout Boudewijn Koole‘s Verdwijnen [Disappearance]. They provide bookends to the whole, his film seemingly a visual representation of the melody—both as this single chapter in Roos’ (Rifka Lodeizen) life and its entire duration […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Porcupine Lake [2017]

“Never ever squeal. That’s a rule.” Teenage Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) is in desperate need of an escape from her mundane, isolated life. We can assume Toronto’s big city living isn’t yet something she’s embraced due to her tendency for fainting spells whenever anxiety grows. Mom (Delphine Roussel‘s Ally) therefore keeps a tight leash, protecting her […]

REVIEW: Ingrid Goes West [2017]

“What’s your biggest emotional wound?” Many people are going to like Ingrid Goes West because its dark comedy seemingly mocks a culture they’ve wholeheartedly embraced. They’ll laugh because they see the titular lead (Aubrey Plaza‘s Ingrid Thorburn) as an exaggerated version of themselves: glued to social media, but letting it literally control her life. She’s […]

REVIEW: Brigsby Bear [2017]

“Prophecy is meaningless. Trust only your familial unit.” The best films are those that come out of nowhere and should be viewed as such. Seriously. Stop reading and go see Brigsby Bear yourself because the less you know about it the better. That’s not to say its conceit is a spoiler—its complete shift in perspective […]

REVIEW: Zombi 2 [Zombie] [1979]

“It never pays to ignore native superstitions” While Zombie may be known as a horror classic, its origins are almost farcical. Helmed by “Godfather of Gore” Lucio Fulci, the Italian-produced project was already in development (from a script by Dardano Sacchetti before wife Elisa Briganti took over) when the European release for George Romero‘s Dawn […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Hva vil folk si [What Will People Say] [2017]

“You haven’t done anything wrong” The Toronto International Film Festival synopsis calls Iram Haq‘s latest film Hva vil folk si [What Will People Say] an “empathetic story of family, community, and culture.” I would call it straight up social horror made scarier when you discover that it was partly inspired by the artist’s own life. […]

REVIEW: The Glass Castle [2017]

“You learn from living. Everything else is a damn lie.” It’s easy to dismiss films like Destin Daniel Cretton‘s The Glass Castle for losing their bite upon reaching a conclusion nobody can deny is melodramatically sentimental. You’ve watched Jeannette Walls’ (Brie Larson) decades-long journey of psychological pain and suffering wrought during her upbringing and ever-present […]