• TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2017]

    “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 […]

  • REVIEW: De sidste mænd i Aleppo [Last Men in Aleppo] [2017]

    “If I leave, it will be to the cemetery” It’s a shame that those who need to watch Last Men in Aleppo are those who won’t. I’m talking the brainwashed masses quick to call a liberal media “fake news” while they help facilitate legitimate fake news fabricated by enemy regimes hoping to plant dissent. They […]

  • REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

    “We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

  • REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

    “He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

  • INTERVIEW: Matt Tyrnauer, director of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

    Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Matt Tyrnauer‘s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City has received rave reviews across the country as it opened in limited release April 21st, 2017. Centering on Jane Jacobs—a journalist, author, and activist—the film showcases the problems inherent to how urban planners in the mid-twentieth century worked. […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

“We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

REVIEW: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [2017]

“We can forgive, but we will never forget” Sci-fi fantasy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the most expensive European and independent (anywhere) production ever at approximately $200 million dollars—high enough that writer/director/producer Luc Besson pretty much leveraged his distribution shingle EuropaCorp before bringing STX on as a partner to defer costs […]

REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Lowlife [2017]

“It is my great honor to grant you your wish on such a special day” An ex-junkie, ex-convict, and luchador enter a fish taco shack … the punch line is a three-pronged adventure through Compton while engulfed by the shadow of a lunatic pimp moonlighting as a black market organ wholesaler. Director Ryan Prows and […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: La noche del virgen [Night of the Virgin] [2016]

“To the strangers who crossed paths” Don’t mess with a Nepali “cantara” on New Year’s—especially if you’re a virgin. Had young Nico (Javier Bódalo) only been warned, he might have avoided the worst nightmare of his life. While his virginity wasn’t for a lack of trying (or spilled drinks, vomit, and curt rebukes), somehow surviving […]

REVIEW: The Hero [2017]

“You can’t outrun destiny, amigo” Death is the great equalizer and one true certainty in life. That doesn’t mean we’re prepared for its sudden or prolonged arrival, though. If anything it forces us to take stock of achievements and mistakes, knowing that the time we believed we had to fix the latter was about to […]

REVIEW: Bless Their Little Hearts [1984]

“I’m tired, tired, tired. Start trying to be a man.” There’s no getting around the connection that binds Billy Woodberry‘s Bless Their Little Hearts to Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep. Both were written by Burnett, shot in Watts, and entries in the movement known as the “LA Rebellion”. They both deal with the struggle to […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: The Honor Farm [2017]

“Make a choice” If Karen Skloss‘ feature narrative debut The Honor Farm possesses anything it’s an abundance of style. This is a gorgeously shot prom night turned mushroom trip romp of millennial excess caught in the throes of dream. We meet Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) walking through the woods in her dress—trees covered in toilet […]

REVIEW: Killer of Sheep [1978]

“Now that ain’t me … and damn sure won’t be” It’s not everyday that a masters thesis film is declared a national treasure by the Library of Congress and placed on the National Film Registry, but films like Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep don’t come along everyday either. Shot on weekends over a year in […]

REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Dead Shack [2017]

“I think when the blood’s black there’s no going back” I like when a director knows what he/she wants from his/her film—even if the goal is to entertain on a level that ensures its legacy falls short of cinematic greatness. Some of my favorite movies are those that demand to be re-watched not for comprehension’s […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Replace [2017]

“I thought this was just a painkiller” There’s a captivating science fiction horror concept at the back of director Norbert Keil and co-writer Richard Stanley‘s Replace with the question: how far would you be willing to go for your youth? Do you crave longevity? Vanity? Rebirth? What would you sacrifice for it? Memory? Sanity? Life […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: 악녀 [Ak-Nyeo] [The Villainess] [2017]

“You came alone?” Writer/director Byung-gil Jung sure knows how to open an action flick. Think Oldboy‘s hallway scene from the first-person perspective of Hardcore Henry spilling over through a non-descript doorway into a wide-open setting for a one-on-twenty bloodbath a la Kill Bill‘s House of Blue Leaves sequence. Only when the orchestrator of this carnage […]

REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]

“We are the beginning and the end” I’ve never seen the original Planet of the Apes films, but the little I know has always presented the titular apes as antagonists. You don’t cast Charlton Heston as your lead circa 1968 unless you want him to be the central figure with which to align. He’s a […]