• Top 100 Films of the Decade: 2010-2019

    If you asked me in 2010 which studios’ films would be amongst my favorites over the next ten years, I probably would have answered two correctly: Fox Searchlight (11) and Sony Pictures Classics (7). Those are two independent shingles of big Hollywood names that have been pumping out quality pictures for decades. Next up would […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

    Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Parasite #2Portrait of aLady on Fire #3Marriage Story #4Knives Out #5Us #6Uncut […]

  • REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

    “Don’t regret. Remember.” An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also […]

  • REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

    “We lived above the clouds” With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments […]

  • REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

    “The pie was just a pie” It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when […]

contact me:
[email protected]

film reviews

REVIEW: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [2001]

“They don’t deserve their own movie” It’s easy to forget that Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was supposed to be the View Askewniverse’s final chapter. Writer/director Kevin Smith had finally decided to grow up (a relative term) and leave the foul-mouthed, pot-dealing miscreants he and Jason Mewes brought to life in Clerks (before subsequently […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Buffaloed [2020]

“Debt never dies” Leave it to an actual Buffalonian to write a screenplay set in the city without one mention or frame of snow. Only they know what else the Queen City has to offer above cheap jokes about blizzards and cold because they’ve grown up amongst the eccentric characters found in every corner bar […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Clover [2020]

“You don’t kill your friends” It wasn’t wise to borrow money from local mobster Tony Davolio (Chazz Palminteri), but brothers Mickey (Jon Abrahams) and Jackie (Mark Webber) didn’t have a choice. Running a bar isn’t easy these days and the added pressure of trying to keep one afloat after generations of family ownership forces their […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: The True Adventures of Wolfboy [2020]

“That’s some … kind of beautiful” Denny (Chris Messina) tells his teenage son Paul (Jaeden Martell) to stand tall with dignity and never run away. Meant as inspiration with a sympathetic heart, these words fall flat because he’s trying to solve the wrong problem—his inability to truly understand Paul’s uniquely personal perspective leading him astray. […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Crown Vic [2019]

“The world was dark when I got here” The title of writer/director Joel Souza‘s Crown Vic is a stand-in for “old school.” It’s a connection to a past that guys with twenty-five years on the job like Ray Mandel (Thomas Jane) feels fading away. And they’re correct. As new technologies arrive, oversight increases and a […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Malaisia [2019]

“This side of the Mississippi” There’s a joke told about a third of the way through Mac Cappuccino‘s film Malaisia. It’s bad. Jay Schmidt is the one laying out the excessive amount of exposition while his compatriot (Kevin Guzewich) looks on in exasperation—at one point even interrupting his interminable drone with an interjection to break […]

REVIEW: Knock Down the House [2019]

“We’re running to win” Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election galvanized a lot of racists throughout America to let their bigotry rise to the surface (if it hadn’t already been unleashed) as though they now had permission to spew hate without recourse. It also woke up a legion of outsiders who realized the status […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: The Sympathy Card [2019]

“Consider it a death-bed order” It’s an unorthodox but sweetly unsurprising premise: the cancer-stricken Emma (Petey J. Gibson) demands her wife Josie (Nika Ezell Pappas) meet someone new so she won’t become a lonely widow without love. This turn of events doesn’t surprise because writer/director Brendan Boogie already presented the unbelievably awkward way in which […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Frances Ferguson [2019]

“Was this breaking the law?” We never meet the narrator (Nick Offerman) of Bob Byington‘s film Frances Ferguson. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or uncommon, but I couldn’t shake the idea that we should. It’s because he isn’t some omnisciently objective voice telling us a story. He interjects opinions, giggles, and often meanders to […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: The Fan Connection [2019]

“This is hockey heaven” Buffalo sports fans are die-hard. Go to most big cities across America and you’ll find a Queen City backers’ bar of ex-pats communing to enjoy (and, this past decade, lament) the teams they grew up watching beside their parents. It doesn’t take long for the electricity and excitement to flood back […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem [2019]

“It is the hardest thing to walk away from” Everything in this world comes down to control and that’s what makes the work being done by minority classes (gender, race, sexuality, religion, etc.) so important today. When those in power look the same (white, male, old), there’s little room to want to look outside their […]

REVIEW: Joker [2019]

“Don’t forget to smile” I would have bought writer/director Todd Phillips‘ line about bringing his gritty origin film Joker to the 1970s as a way of removing it from the existing DC Extended Universe (more than he already did by recasting the titular character after Jared Leto played him in Suicide Squad) if not for […]

REVIEW: Born to Be [2019]

“We’re going to make her whole” How does a self-taught upright bass player who dropped out of Julliard to pursue his parents’ dream of medical school become a bona fide superhero? Easy. He raised his hand. Dr. Jess Ting may have graduated at the top of his class and found success as a New York […]

REVIEW: Memory: The Origins of Alien [2019]

“It lives in our dreams” Here’s the thing you should know up-front: Alexandre O. Philippe‘s Memory: The Origins of Alien doesn’t break new ground. No crazy revelations unknown before the documentary began production are discovered. Instead we get first-hand accounts of the struggles to get Alien made, the communal artistic synergy that ultimately helped propel […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Rendezvous in Chicago [2019]

“The whole point of this game is to look” There’s a reason the first word in Michael Glover Smith‘s triptych Rendezvous in Chicago isn’t pluralized despite consisting of three distinct stories. It stems from the fact that Smith sought to close out his cinematic trilogy about on-screen relationships and communications within (Cool Apocalypse and Mercury […]