• TIFF18 REVIEW: First Man [2018]

    “It’s kinda neat” The non-controversy surrounding Damien Chazelle‘s First Man shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how political parties have appropriated art into their agendas since the dawn of time. Of course they’d glom onto the decision to ignore the lunar flag planting as some “un-American” thing rather than read the script, watch the movie, or […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

    “Flesh of each other’s flesh” Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: Aniara [2018]

    “The utter nonsense of living” So much of our desire to exist is based in control. We have the ability to move our homes, restart careers, and work towards a future of our choosing. No matter how difficult things become, there’s always a hope for better or an avenue towards change. It’s only when we’re […]

  • REVIEW: Night Comes On [2018]

    “I don’t think you’re like him” When the parole board asks seventeen-year old Angel Lamere (Dominique Fishback) why she hasn’t seen her younger sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall‘s Abby) in two years despite only being incarcerated for one, her reply was an honest yet simplistic, “I wasn’t a good influence.” The fact that she is where […]

  • REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

    “More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: C’est La Vie [2016]

“You don’t choose to be me” In the perfect complement to Basically, writer/director Ari Aster uses the same format of pitting his lead character against the camera for an incendiary diatribe about life, freedom, and oppression with C’est La Vie. Where the former centered upon a young, aspiring actress who proved a product of affluence […]

REVIEW: The Turtle’s Head [2014]

“She didn’t get the pun” What appeared an early misstep of juvenile comedic intent with TDF Really Works actually seems to be a glaring blind spot for writer/director Ari Aster after watching his short film The Turtle’s Head. There are few better than him today where using humor to augment the subversions of darker genres […]

REVIEW: Basically [2014]

“That’s just the rejection talking” Even the most vain and vapid have moments of clarity. Whether they prove to be intentional or not is the question. So is it because Shandy (Rachel Brosnahan) has more to her than what appearances reveal that she’s able to turn colorfully vindictive soliloquies into philosophical quandaries worth contemplating beyond […]

REVIEW: Munchausen [2013]

You can almost hear the musical score when thinking about old silent films from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They have that peppy melody to really shine a light on the optimism of what could be before some sort of hardship or tragedy arrives with a somber tone to lead our emotions […]

REVIEW: Beau [2011]

“Well I’m horrified too” Just before he’s about to leave his apartment for a flight to visit his mother, Beau (Billy Mayo) realizes he’s forgotten his dental floss. What should be a quick jaunt upstairs to the bathroom becomes the biggest mistake of his life upon returning to see his keys—which he left in the […]

REVIEW: TDF Really Works [2011]

“Roast duck? Good luck!” Sometimes there really isn’t anything below the surface of gross-out comedy like TDF Really Works. Just because it’s the brainchild of the writer/director behind the equally disturbing yet conversely thought-provoking short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons doesn’t mean you have to try harder to find one either. And whether Ari […]

REVIEW: The Ranger [2018]

“Coming here was a really bad idea” With punk rock blasting from the stage of a hole-in-the-wall venue that’s probably not actually open to the public considering an eventual police raid shutting it all down, Chelsea (Chloe Levine) is introduced looking the part if not quite one hundred percent committed to this zero consequence, wild […]

REVIEW: Elizabeth Harvest [2018]

“It just happened” Brightly lit as though a fantasy beyond Elizabeth’s (Abbey Lee) wildest dreams, we meet her and new husband Henry (Ciarán Hinds) as they drive towards the rest of their lives. She basks in the luck she believes she possesses to find a man of his intelligence and wealth even if she’s quizzical […]

REVIEW: What Still Remains [2018]

“People need to stick together” There are two kinds of people still watching “The Walking Dead”: those who love the gore quotient and believe zombies are the true enemy of the people and those who understand that the undead are merely a catalyst to expose the evil that has always lived within. I’m of the […]

REVIEW: Eighth Grade [2018]

“Gucci!” The transition between middle and high school is weird and frightening for everyone—those who disagree are lying. It’s crazy how different those two worlds prove since elementary and middle are really quite similar. Some crave this shift, desperate for a new beginning. Others dread it because they know the pecking order restarts once multiple […]

REVIEW: Blindspotting [2018]

“To stare is to see” Are we more than what others believe us to be? This question is unanswerable since perception is king and powerful enough to transform your identity. After all, how many times can you be blamed for something you didn’t or won’t do before you break and think you might as well? […]

REVIEW: Night Comes On [2018]

“I don’t think you’re like him” When the parole board asks seventeen-year old Angel Lamere (Dominique Fishback) why she hasn’t seen her younger sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall‘s Abby) in two years despite only being incarcerated for one, her reply was an honest yet simplistic, “I wasn’t a good influence.” The fact that she is where […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Pengin Haiwei] [Penguin Highway] [2018]

“I might be too amazing for my own good” Adapted from Tomihiko Morimi‘s Nihon Science Fiction Taisho Award-winning novel from 2010, Penguin Highway takes us into a world barely unlike our own. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida from Makoto Ueda‘s script, the film centers upon a Japanese fourth grader on the cusp of self-proclaimed greatness. With […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Cam [2018]

“I literally love you” There’s a moment in director Daniel Goldhaber‘s Cam where Alice (Madeline Brewer) is talking to her younger brother Jordan (Devin Druid) about the previous evening’s performance on web-cam site Free Live Girls. She moved past sex gimmicks towards the dark world of snuff film aesthetics and it worked to move her […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 소공녀 [So-gong-nyeo] [Microhabitat] [2018]

“Seems like you’re living a fantasy” What do you need to survive? It’s a common question we all ask ourselves—one that goes beyond the basic tenets of food, water, shelter, and human interaction. I’m talking about the things we cherish enough to put them before everything else. It could be freedom, hobbies, love, or art. […]