• REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [2017]

    “It’s hard to know what to do” It’s no coincidence that the dumbest character in Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri says the most revealing line of dialogue throughout the entire film: “Anger begets more anger.” I guess it’s because Penelope (Samara Weaving) isn’t dumb as much as she’s naïvely innocent and young. She’s […]

  • 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 […]

  • REVIEW: The Florida Project [2017]

    “What are you playing?” It’s hard not to think about another A24 produced film while watching Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project. The themes it presents due its impoverished central characters barely scrapping by financially on a day-to-day basis are identical to Andrea Arnold‘s American Honey and its band of twenty-somethings traveling the countryside to scam […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2018]

    “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] [2018]

    “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 […]

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film reviews

TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2018]

“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 […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women [2017]

“Fantasy is possibility” Many probably don’t know about the man who created Wonder Woman. It’s not a surprise considering the decades it took to finally bring the character to the big screen despite a popularity that rivals her male Justice League counterparts. He wasn’t just some writer cashing in on the superhero craze spawned by […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Stronger [2017]

“I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Peter Berg‘s take on unsung heroes Patriots Day is barely a year old and here we are with another Boston Marathon bombing film in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Rather than focus on the event itself, however, John Pollono‘s script turns focus squarely onto […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Verónica [2017]

“You have to do right what you did wrong” The story goes that the police were dispatched to a Madrid residence in June of 1991 only to find a teenage girl screaming from what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds. Strange phenomena was seen/found throughout the apartment, so much that the detective assigned the case could […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: The Lodgers [2017]

“Our curse is to live” A family’s shame marks them forever—their fate sealed by birth, bound by a poem’s rules. They must be locked in their rooms by midnight, never let a stranger through the door, and remain together or else the one who stays dies. Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) have lived […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: On Chesil Beach [2018]

“I wasn’t my family. I was me.” It’s 1962. Florence Ponting (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle) have just been married. She’s from a wealthy family and he a provincial one; her desire to be active in world affairs beyond her status’ ambivalence and his hope to be accepted as an intellectual with the […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Le sens de la fête [C’est la vie!] [2017]

“Can you repeat the options?” I went into Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s latest film Le sens de la fête [C’est la vie!] knowing nothing about it. My assumption from their two previous works Intouchables and Samba was that it would prove a charmingly funny dramedy tinged with relevant politics and racial complexity. Boy was […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Papillon [2018]

“I have trouble seeing hope in hopelessness” It’s amazing how some tweaking can turn a decent film showing its age into a worthwhile project that earns its upgrade four decades later. To watch Franklin J. Schaffner‘s original Papillon adaptation is to see an arduous series of harrowing ordeals strung together for no reason other than […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: L’insulte [The Insult] [2017]

“Because that’s what they are. Just stupid words.” Despite the fact that Ziad Doueiri‘s (a crew member on some of Quentin Tarantino‘s early works) latest film L’insulte [The Insult] is set in Lebanon, the ensuing drama can’t help but feel familiar to what’s currently happening in America. As our president says bad things are happening […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Borg/McEnroe [2017]

“Who am I? The gentleman or the rebel?” Juan Martin del Potro just ruined the match-up everyone wanted to see at the 2017 US Open—a semi-final pitting Rafa Nadal against Roger Federer. Despite both being in their thirties, their rivalry has never stopped. What’s intriguing, however, is how amiable it has always been (or seemed […]

REVIEW: It [2017]

“Welcome to the Losers’ Club” There was a lot said about the new cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s It when Cary Fukunaga signed on a few years ago. Enough about him as a rising auteur capable of infusing some magic into a story so intrinsically tied to the Tim Curry-starring miniseries from 1990 that his […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Svanurinn [The Swan] [2017]

“You were so good when you were little” What once was a traditional rite of passage for Icelandic children has now become punishment. Whereas her mother probably visited her Aunt Ólöf’s (Katla M. Þorgeirsdóttir) farmland to learn responsibility and work ethic away from the allure of her ocean-side city, young Sól (Gríma Valsdóttir) makes the […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Menoana e Mehlano ea Marseilles [Five Fingers for Marseilles] [2017]

“The land is all the scripture we need” Director Michael Matthews and writer Sean Drummond were drawn to the landscapes of South Africa’s Eastern Cape while traveling their homeland, especially the echoes of classic cinematic western environments. Learning about how its current towns arose—from the ashes of Apartheid-era cities mimicking European capitals by name—only cemented […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Gutland [2017]

“Well, it’s not impossible to learn” When a German drifter walks into the quaint Luxembourg village of Schandelsmillen with a scruffy beard, bag full of money, and stoically gruff attitude, we wonder what secrets his past holds. Jens Fauser (Frederick Lau) arrives with a single question: “Do you need help with the harvest?” That specific […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Kissing Candice [2018]

“I never know whether I’m awake or asleep” With a first scene as stylish as that from Kissing Candice, the words “music video chic” come to mind before you can even discover writer/director Aoife McArdle is a James Vincent McMorrow regular who also released a short in collaboration with U2’s 2014 release Songs of Innocence. […]