• REVIEW: The Nightingale [2019]

    “You’re my life” After giving grief and survivor’s guilt physical form by way of a violent monster known as The Babadook, writer/director Jennifer Kent turns her sights on trauma and the ways our bodies, minds, and souls react to unimaginable and unprovoked pain endured at the hands of mankind’s superiority complexes born from delusions of […]

  • REVIEW: Luce [2019]

    “I can’t be perfect” So much of who we are and what we become relies on perception. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, language, culture, education, and socio-economic standing all play a role because we’re perceived by those like us and those not. We therefore exist in a tenuous bubble of expectations wherein normalcy is a razor-thin […]

  • REVIEW: The Farewell [2019]

    “It’s a good lie” Billi (Awkwafina) heads to her parents’ home to clean laundry after discovering she’s now two months behind on her rent only to hear her father (Tzi Ma‘s Haiyan) is “asleep” … at 6pm. Her mother (Diana Lin‘s Jian) dismisses the time as a byproduct of them being very busy, but she […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Black Magic for White Boys [2019]

“It won’t be like last time” In a world where white Americans start feeling unjustly marginalized as the stranglehold of power they’ve possessed in this country since its inception begins to show cracks in a bid for true equality that they continue fighting tooth and nail against, they’ll steal whatever advantage they can to retain […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Knives and Skin [2019]

“I actually don’t want to see what’s about to happen” When Laura Palmer is found dead and wrapped in plastic, her tragic end ripples throughout David Lynch‘s “Twin Peaks” to devastating effect. An outsider in Agent Cooper enters the town to decipher the circumstances surrounding her demise with a cheery disposition that never fades—a direct […]

REVIEW: Murder! [1930]

“You can’t run the world on sentiment” A lot needs to go wrong for Alfred Hitchcock‘s Murder! to go right. I say this because Diana Baring (Norah Baring) would never have been arrested in a perfect world. Why? For all the reasons Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall) lays out about two-thirds of the way through. […]

REVIEW: A Score to Settle [2019]

“Today is your day to try again” It’s been nineteen years since Frank “Frankie Fingers” Carver (Nicolas Cage) has been a free man. He’s made the best of prison despite being there for a crime his mob boss Max (Dave Kenneth MacKinnon) committed. What other choice did he have? With his wife dead, his son […]

REVIEW: The Lion King [2019]

“Slimy yet … satisfying” People are getting excited because Nintendo Switch is releasing a port of Link’s Awakening—an RPG that originally came out on the Gameboy two decades ago. More than a port, it’s an actual remake wherein everything is more or less the same with improved graphics and tweaks in gameplay wherever the developers […]

REVIEW: Blackmail [1929]

“I don’t like waiting about for you” Originally green-lit as a silent film, I’ve read differing accounts as far as Alfred Hitchcock‘s feelings about his producer deciding to shift gears and make Blackmail Europe’s first successful “talkie.” Some say he hated the idea and thus the silent cut (Hitchcock finished two versions of the film […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Wretched [2019]

“Poked the bear” A witch that feeds on forgotten children has taken hold of a sleepy lakeside village in Michigan. It’s because its victims are “forgotten,” however, that nobody ever seems to notice. Not only do the adults assist it by either providing themselves as vessel (it steps into the skin of women) or servant […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jesus shows you the way to the Highway [2019]

“Duty calls for the last time” All Agent D.T. Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) wants is to retire from the CIA and help his love Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) open the best kickboxing joint the world has ever seen. Maybe he’ll hone his pizza-making skills and put a pizzeria next door too if all pans out. Before that […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Deeper You Dig [2019]

“Every gift is its own twisted curse” It’s funny where the mind can go when you only know a few details at first. That John Adams and Toby Poser‘s latest family-fueled film The Deeper You Dig is horror was enough to convince me that a line spoken by Ivy’s (Poser) daughter Echo (the filmmakers’ own […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: DreadOut [2019]

“Don’t you dare say those words” Malignant forces within Catholic tales of evil generally seek to create Hell on Earth by finding a host willing to read the ancient words serving as their key. It’s therefore rare to receive scenes of demonic possession wherein a writhing body with black fluid spewing from its mouth screams […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 메기 [Maggie] [2019]

“Let’s believe in people from now on” How would a movie narrated by a catfish feel? While the animal probably has a good view of what’s going on, would it understand? And when people use it as a stand-in for their conscience—knowing (yet not wanting to accept) the voice responding was still his/her own—would it […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Astronaut [2019]

“To see where we belong” It’s the beginning of the end for Angus Stewart (Richard Dreyfuss). His wife recently passed after a difficult and costly bout with dementia, his heart isn’t what it used to be, and his family is unsure about what to do to help him adjust. While his daughter Molly (Krista Bridges) […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Away [2019]

A one-man show on-screen and behind it, Gints Zilbalodis‘ Away is an obvious labor of love. Opening like a videogame wherein our lead is found dangling by parachute from a tree, we haven’t a clue about his surroundings and neither does he. Before he can release himself and begin a search for answers, however, there […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jade’s Asylum [2019]

“You’re the one who brought sand to the beach” We don’t get our bearings as far as locale and characters go until a little ways into Alexandre Carrière‘s Jade’s Asylum. While we’ve already met Jade (Morgan Kohan) and her boyfriend Toby (Kjartan Hewitt) in the midst of a fight wherein he blames his infidelity on […]

REVIEW: Echo In the Canyon [2019]

“You always brought your guitar” It started with Jacques Demy‘s Model Shop. Director Andrew Slater saw it, thought about the era depicted (it was released in 1968), and got that Laurel Canyon sound—where so many of the folk-to-rock transitional bands lived—stuck in his brain. This shouldn’t be surprising considering Demy recruited Spirit to create a […]