• 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 […]

  • REVIEW: For Sama [2019]

    “I don’t regret anything” After five years of footage depicting the rapid decline in Aleppo as college protests turn to rebellion with a dictatorial regime finding friends in Russia to decimate innocent civilians it intentionally refuses to differentiate from soldiers and extremists, Waad Al-Khateab realizes that the snippets she’s uploaded to expose these atrocities to […]

  • REVIEW: Waves [2019]

    “All we have is now” Ronald Williams (Sterling K. Brown) tells his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) what so many parents do: “You don’t know how lucky you are.” What are those words besides a pat on the adult’s back for providing a decent life for their child, though? To me they’re often a source […]

  • REVIEW: Honey Boy [2019]

    “Why am I here?” The bane of childhood stardom is that nothing you do will ever be a secret again. Your success will be written in black and white in the trades. Personal relationships will be speculated upon in the tabloids. And mistakes—large or small—will trend like wildfire on the internet until they become the […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Low Tide [2019]

“You ready to go exploring?” Just because writer/director Kevin McMullin‘s debut feature Low Tide centers on a trio of locals stuck in a New Jersey banks vacation town and forced to watch rich kids come every summer to treat them like one of the attractions with which to entertain themselves doesn’t mean it’s an “us […]

REVIEW: Así habló el cambista [The Moneychanger] [2019]

“Enjoy every penny earned and spent” Mr. Schweinsteiger (Luis Machín) ran a good game in Uruguay by helping unsavory folks launder money through him for a percentage. He was smart too, refusing to work with politicians knowing they’d eventually screw something up and drag his name down with them. Unfortunately, however, the man he willingly […]

REVIEW: The Goldfinch [2019]

“I lost something that should have been immortal” Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) lost a lot one fateful day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art when an unexplained terrorist bombing took his mother, home, stability, and, most importantly, his childhood away. One second he’s stealing a glimpse of the young girl (Aimee Laurence‘s Pippa) beside him […]

REVIEW: Depraved [2019]

“You brought the war home with you” So much of what we do in our lives comes down to a matter of could versus should. Many of us want to prove ourselves worthy by doing something nobody has ever done before, yet the hubris of such a desire often leaves us paying a price we […]

REVIEW: Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice [2019]

“So I started looking for other things” Upon sitting down to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman‘s documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, I had to ask myself why I knew her name. She’s obviously one of the biggest chart-hopping women to ever grace a stage and record music, but I couldn’t think of […]

REVIEW: It Chapter Two [2019]

“We all need to remember” When last we left Derry, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) had fallen to his presumed death after a brawl with the Losers Club in his sewer lair. What we didn’t see as he slipped out of view were the Deadlights extinguishing—those bright beacons of insanity that caused countless children […]

REVIEW: Jauja [2014]

“The desert devours everything” Colonialism, Manifest Destiny, and any other act by a foreign nation to claim the land of an indigenous people as its own are performed with a desire for power and prosperity. It’s about ego and entitlement—the search to create a mythology that glosses over genocide for the “heroism” of a brute […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: This is Not a Movie [2019]

“This is where the match was lit” The reason Yung Chang picked This is Not a Movie for the title of his documentary on renowned journalist Robert Fisk stems from his subject’s inspiration for pursuing that line of work. Fisk talks about watching Alfred Hitchcock‘s Foreign Correspondent as a boy and thinking its lead led […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Pelikanblut [Pelican Blood] [2020]

“I’m the lucky one” Writer/director Katrin Gebbe is not messing around with her latest film Pelikanblut [Pelican Blood]. What starts as a psychological drama about a mother desperate to provide her new daughter the love necessary to free her from the demons of a traumatic past gradually escalates into a supernatural thriller augmenting what science […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] [2019]

“Would you do it?” Directed by Mahnaz Mohammadi (her feature fiction debut) and written by Mohammad Rasoulof (a renowned Iranian filmmaker), Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] is about exactly what its title infers. The labels themselves are somewhat subverted, though. Split into two halves with interstitials, “Son” actually centers on Leila (Raha Khodayari) while “Mother” stars Amir (Mahan […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Nobadi [2019]

“Stop calling me bloody master!” Heinrich Senft (Heinz Trixner) is alone on his little patch of land within a gated senior citizen community, his pension sustaining ready-made meals and the care for his dog Argus. When the latter passes away suddenly in the night, Heinrich has nowhere to project his grief but the veterinarian who […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tammy’s Always Dying [2019]

“I just want to play the game” You have to give credit to any story that allows its despicable characters to be despicable without also demanding forgiveness from their victim. This is especially true in tales concerning a parent and child considering society seems to crave this ideal that the former is due some benefit […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: I Am Not Alone [2019]

“My spirit has survived” Despite the title of Garin Hovannisian‘s documentary on Armenia’s 2018 “velvet revolution” being I Am Not Alone, journalist/activist/Congressman Nikol Pashinyan was exactly that at the movement’s beginning. Word came down that former president Serzh Sargsyan was to be voted in as the nation’s latest Prime Minister—an unjust and demoralizing development considering […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Report [2019]

“It’s based on science” It matters that Diane Feinstein and other Senators (John McCain included) fought to make the Intelligence Committee’s report on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” public because it held information the American people needed to know about how the CIA conducted itself after 9/11. While many would say the fact nobody has been prosecuted […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tenki no ko [Weathering with You] [2019]

“Or maybe not not” Teenagers get plenty of flack these days with derogatory labels thrust upon them by older generations refusing to truly look outside their window at how much the world has changed. They’ve a lot to shoulder with the pressure of living up to impossible and antiquated expectations, confusion as to a future […]