• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

    Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years […]

  • REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name [2017]

    “‘Cause I wanted you to know” It wasn’t until three-quarters of the way through Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name that I finally began to understand the almost universal praise bestowed upon it since debuting at Sundance. Up until then it merely felt like a familiar coming-of-age film wherein the teenager in question was […]

  • REVIEW: The Work [2017]

    “Go inside to go outside” It’s one thing for a maximum-security prison full of violent offenders like Folsom to offer the type of in-depth therapy sessions it does, but it’s another to see the number of inmates with the courage and desire to attend. To be willing to leave your gang affiliations at the door […]

  • REVIEW: Unrest [2017]

    “I just thought I would have more time” You can tell a lot about someone with the question: “What are your thoughts on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?” The answer is “Yes” or “No” and yet the latter has the potential of holding an infinite number of biases stemming from the likes […]

  • REVIEW: Coco [2017]

    “Seize your moment” Disney and Pixar have lately begun to tell more stories that aren’t intrinsically linked to their white male sensibilities (even if they have a tendency to push out voices that should be talking for their characters like Brenda Chapman on Brave). It’s definitely an evolutionary process—one that might actually be helped with […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Curtains [1983]

“Call it research” By the end of Peter R. Simpson‘s Curtains—I use the producer’s name since he ultimately finished the film two years after original director Richard Ciupka left with only forty-five minutes shot—there are just three surviving characters. One is the potential victim being chased, another the homicidal maniac under a plastic old woman […]

REVIEW: Goodbye Christopher Robin [2017]

“I’ve had enough of making people laugh. I want to make them see.” It begins with a letter—the kind that rips heart from chest. World War II is in full swing and the Milnes (Domhnall Gleeson‘s Alan and Margot Robbie‘s Daphne) are biding their time awaiting word from their son Christopher (Alex Lawther). They know […]

REVIEW: Princess Cyd [2017]

“You get to see where your mom came from” Tragedies are never isolated incidents with a single victim, perpetrator, and survivor left to remember (or forget) what happened. Oftentimes those roles expand to encompass multiple parties or even overlap in ways that let blame, hate, and forgiveness coexist. This scenario is only rendered truer when […]

REVIEW: Bad Grandmas [2017]

“I’m nervous like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” Writer/director Srikant Chellappa and co-writer Jack Snyder aren’t fooling around when it comes to Bad Grandmas. We don’t meet their senior citizens as innocent grannies playing Rummy before watching them turn “bad.” No, Mimi (Florence Henderson) walks into Jim’s (David Wassilak) place […]

REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express [1974]

“With the help of a hat box” If the way in which Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) manipulates his suspects into perfectly incriminating themselves upon inquisition—often unbeknownst to us until the final reveal—infers that he has a photographic memory, we the audience need a bit more exposition as it concerns yet unseen connections than perhaps the […]

REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

“Good luck with that, new Doug!” Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is […]

REVIEW: Das merkwürdige Kätzchen [The Strange Little Cat] [2014]

“And onions are my cats” We’ve all felt paralyzed at one time or another, fearing existence and responsibility as opposed to external forces and death. Life becomes our burden, the rote machinations to remain an upstanding member of society and the myriad social imperatives endured to be seen as a person worth ignoring—someone who neither […]

REVIEW: Mayhem [2017]

“I just wanted the corner office” If you’ve ever worked an office job wherein every single one of your bosses has been promoted above his/her aptitude, you know what futility feels like. You slave away at your cubicle to reach beyond your pay grade only to have someone that knows nothing about what you do—or […]

REVIEW: My Friend Dahmer [2017]

“Smiles up” When someone kills seventeen people over a thirteen-year span with words like necrophilia and cannibalism circling each murder, sympathy for the predator—not his prey—is neither the first nor hundred and first emotion that should come to anyone’s mind. I’m not certain there could be room for anything but disgust whether you’re a stranger, […]

REVIEW: Long Time Running [2017]

“You don’t tell Gord he can’t do something” I’m not sure who it was that said it, but someone put into context what Gord Downie‘s terminal cancer diagnosis meant to Canada shortly after it was announced. Beyond this tragedy on a personal level for his friends, family, and The Tragically Hip bandmates, the idea that […]

REVIEW: Suck It Up [2017]

“… And she fell down” Grief is a strange, personal, and often entirely unexpected reponse to tragedy. It will differ depending on who you are, the point in life you’re at, the cause, and myriad details spanning scenario, age, love, hate, or surprise. To cope with a grandparent’s death for example is something we all […]

REVIEW: The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017]

“You’re too young to worry” Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos is an artist who deals with consequences through elaborately skewed and often-uncomfortable scenarios just left of the off-putting spot that’s just left of center. He uses absurdity and humor to provoke us in order for his complex existential and social messages to hit home in a way […]

REVIEW: Visages, villages [Faces Places] [2017]

“To meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” To look at some of the work of “unidentified” artist JR—giant black and white images pasted onto surfaces with a literal or figurative contextual relationship—is to see the type of community-based, socially conscious messaging Agnès Varda built a […]

REVIEW: Beloved [1998]

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.” Love creates and destroys. Mix in post-traumatic stress disorder and you’ll never know which until it’s too late. Evil can permeate your soul and color your psychology in ways that merge right and wrong into a singular goal seeking survival. To endure horror is […]

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 […]