• REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

    “It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

  • REVIEW: We the Animals [2018]

    “We wanted more” There are a lot of hard truths within We the Animals. Describing patriarch Paps (Raúl Castillo) as “loving but unpredictable” in the press notes gets right to the heart of that complexity since a more apt description could be “abuser.” He’s a man with a hot temper who inflames his wife (Sheila […]

  • REVIEW: Minding the Gap [2018]

    “We formed a family together” It begins as a film about self-created community, three young men coming together on their skateboards to escape the private turmoil experienced at home. The sport was a cathartic outlet more than some bid to act cool, helping them become close enough friends to share details about their individual demons […]

  • REVIEW: Widows [2018]

    “This isn’t your world” When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate […]

  • REVIEW: Wildlife [2018]

    “I feel like I need to wake up” The start of Paul Dano‘s directorial debut Wildlife depicts a happy household of mother (Carey Mulligan‘s Jeanette Brinson), father (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jerry), and son (Ed Oxenbould‘s Joe). They’ve just moved from Utah to Montana so Jerry can work as a country club’s resident “pro”—a job allowing Jeanette […]

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film reviews

TIFF18 REVIEW: Hjertelandet [Heartbound] [2018]

“I can sell my body if it helps my family” A film ten years in the making, anthropologist Sine Plambech and her director husband Janus Metz‘s open a door with Hjertelandet [Heartbound] onto an intriguing humanist story dealing with the complexities of life, love, and survival that spans almost nine thousand kilometers from Thailand to […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: The Third Wife [2018]

“One day you’ll like it for real” It’s 19th century Vietnam and fourteen-year old May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) has just been married to a wealthy landowner named Hung (Long Le Vu). She wears a genuine smile on her face, this next chapter in life as hopeful as it is scary. She has two other […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Las niñas bien [The Good Girls] [2018]

“So happy. We’re so happy.” Sofía Hernandez (Ilse Salas) has everything: three children she can ignore, servants and maids to take care of her every whim, and a husband (Flavio Medina‘s Fernando) who inherited his wealth from his father and still has yet to really work for it thanks to Uncle Javier (Diego Jáuregui) managing […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Posledice [Consequences] [2018]

“I am what I am” Andrej (Matej Zemljic) is an eighteen-year old abuser. He’s stopped going to school, started getting into fights, disrespects his parents, and most recently hit a teen after she berated him for his not wanting sex. It’s an escalating series of incidents that no one is willing to deal with anymore, […]

REVIEW: Appropriate Behavior [2015]

“I hate so many things too” It would be easy to minimize the broken relationship at the heart of Desiree Akhavan‘s debut feature Appropriate Behavior to Shirin’s (Akhavan) inability to come out as bisexual to her traditional Iranian parents. This is obviously a factor after watching her ex-girlfriend’s (Rebecca Henderson‘s Maxine) increasing frustrations via flashbacks […]

REVIEW: A Happening of Monumental Proportions [2018]

“Choose, commit, and move” Men have it tough don’t they? I mean they have to worry about married women they’ve engaged in inner-office affairs with ratting them out to the new boss. Some are forced to face the crushing existential crisis that comes with their failed pipe dreams of rock stardom revealing how they’re nothing […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Saf [2018]

“Everybody lies” America isn’t the only country with a portion of its population rejecting refugee clemency (although it’s the most high profile due to international stature, economic wealth, and so-called Christian charity). It’s also not the only one blinded to its hate when confronting the matter. Because that’s what it is to look down on […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Il vizio della speranza [The Vice of Hope] [2018]

“Remember, misery isn’t the only thing that exists” Less than an hour from Naples, Italy is Castel Volturno, a place marred by newspaper headlines like “Forsaken Village” and “Sex, Drugs, and the Mafia.” It shouldn’t surprise then that director Edoardo De Angelis would use it as the setting for his latest film Il vizio della […]

REVIEW: Lizzie [2018]

“I never wanted anything from you” The level of intrigue surrounding Andrew and Abby Borden’s murders in 1892 is crazy because it’s only increased since. We’re talking the O.J. Simpson trial of the 19th century: a well-to-do family mutilated in their home with a hatchet, their youngest daughter Lizzie the prime suspect. She wasn’t the […]

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: Rojo [2018]

“They say bodies appear in the desert” The film opens as people leave a house with objects in-hand, the assumption being that they were bought in an estate sale or pilfered before one could begin. A man (Diego Cremonesi) looks in the front door as clueless as we are to what’s happening before a jump […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Can You Ever Forgive Me? [2018]

“Do you think they all know?” Do you have a Lee Israel work on your shelf? What should be a matter of owning one of her books or not since she was a notable author of biographies who hit the New York Times Best Sellers list, things get much more complicated when you look closer […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Float Like a Butterfly [2018]

“Keep your head up” A lot can change in five to ten years and even more can unfortunately remain the same. When we first meet the Joyce family little Frances’ age has yet to hit double digits, her younger brother Patrick still clinging to their mom’s side. Their band of traveling Irish sing their folk […]

REVIEW: A Simple Favor [2018]

“Oopsy” You don’t wonder which woman has secrets after meeting Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Instead you wonder which has more. They’re built to be hiding something in their past whether dark or not. The former: a goody two-shoes, little Miss Perfect type who always has the energy to show up […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Monsters and Men [2018]

“Six dudes for one guy” The conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter is (and should be) about the victims of police violence who’ve yet to see any killers in blue face real consequences. It’s not about saying their lives matter more than anyone else, but that they matter at all. Because if you look at the […]