• 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: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

    “Flesh of each other’s flesh” Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: Aniara [2018]

    “The utter nonsense of living” So much of our desire to exist is based in control. We have the ability to move our homes, restart careers, and work towards a future of our choosing. No matter how difficult things become, there’s always a hope for better or an avenue towards change. It’s only when we’re […]

  • REVIEW: Night Comes On [2018]

    “I don’t think you’re like him” When the parole board asks seventeen-year old Angel Lamere (Dominique Fishback) why she hasn’t seen her younger sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall‘s Abby) in two years despite only being incarcerated for one, her reply was an honest yet simplistic, “I wasn’t a good influence.” The fact that she is where […]

  • REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

    “More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Fallout [2018]

“We’re never free” The former leader of a group of rogue agents seeking to unite people against unchecked government oversight—a cause worthy of pause if not for the terrorist acts of genocide utilized to achieve this goal—speaks to the man who caught him with confidence about how he’s worked to ensure the price of that […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] [2017]

“Have pity on the children” It wasn’t until 2006 that cult Indonesian horror film Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slave] finally received a DVD pressing after accruing its mystique without subtitles courtesy of a Japanese VHS. The 1980 release from director Sisworo Gautama Putra has been called an unofficial remake of Don Coscarelli‘s Phantasm, its supernatural haunting […]

REVIEW: האופה-מברלין [Der Kuchenmacher] [The Cakemaker] [2017]

“I’m not alone” A romantic drama wielding nationality, sexuality, and religion as crucial dramatic themes without giving into their rigidity atop a backdrop of delicious baked goods sounds more than ambitious—it sounds foolhardy. But writer/director Ofir Raul Graizer set out and accomplished exactly that with his acclaimed Der Kuchenmacher [The Cakemaker]. He travels between a […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Nommer 37 [Number 37] [2018]

“Even a one-legged beggar can lose his other leg” It was a calculated risk lock-picker Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally) was willing to make. Borrow twenty-five thousand dollars from a loan shark he’s known since childhood (Danny Ross‘ Emmie) and flip it to some gangsters willing to give him a deal on drugs. Sell the drugs […]

REVIEW: Teen Titans GO! To the Movies [2018]

“Crack an egg on it. Kah-KAW!” Picture this: a popular 1980s comic by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez called The New Teen Titans puts a bunch of sidekicks together to fight one of their rank’s evil father. After a sixteen-year run come new titles to continue the legacy in print with differing line-ups before Cartoon […]

REVIEW: #TheLateBatsby [2018]

“Time is of the essence” Get those kids into the theater and sell some toys. That’s what the executives at Warner Bros. and DC Comics seem to have instilled as their mantra of late. And you can’t blame them. After their dark cinematic universe failed to do numbers on the big screen and its CW […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか? [Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka?] [Fireworks] [2017]

“If …” In a nation of repressed emotions, three young teens find themselves confronting their feelings at what might be their last opportunity to do so. Shy Norimichi (Masaki Suda) can’t stop himself from starring at Nazuna (Suzu Hirose) while his more confident best friend Yûsuke (Mamoru Miyano) admits to wanting to declare his love […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: BuyBust [2018]

“People die from following orders too” Police director Alvarez (Nonie Buencamino) and his prized team leader Dela Cruz (Lao Rodriguez) are finally making headway with their war on drugs throughout the slums of Filipino capital Manila. They’ve already cleaned sections long-thought lost to crime and currently have one of kingpin Biggie Chen’s (Arjo Atayde) mid-level […]

REVIEW: The Virgin Suicides [2000]

“Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl” With all the accolades bestowed upon writer/director Sofia Coppola these past two decades, only an idiot would question her worth by saying she’s little more than her Hollywood royalty name. Those who said it back in 1999 as her debut feature The Virgin Suicides made the festival […]

REVIEW: How Do You Type a Broken Heart [2018]

“You have to fight” Addiction is a tough topic to do justice with in a short film. I don’t mean that as a commentary on duration, but honesty. The last thing you want to do is have a piece meant to conjure introspection and drama feel like a PSA commissioned by the same companies that […]

REVIEW: Entanglement [2018]

“Should I have brought you flowers too?” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** There’s a great moment in Jeremiah Kipp‘s short film Entanglement wherein Frank (Lukas Hassel) explains to the second party of a random sexual encounter assumedly organized online (Robin Rose Singer‘s Jenny) how he used to “see” his ex-girlfriend everywhere after they broke up. Screenwriter Joseph Fiorillo […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Vuelven [Tigers Are Not Afraid] [2017]

“We forget who we are when the things from outside come to get us” You know things are bad when the art coming out of an area reaches a point where “dark, metaphorical fairy tale” becomes a necessary style to wield as intense catharsis. There’s probably better markers to highlight when a community’s abject horror […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ルームロンダリング [Rûmu rondaringu] [Room Laundering] [2018]

“Don’t cry. Smile.” According to Kenji Katagiri‘s debut feature Rûmu rondaringu [Room Laundering]—and I have no reason to disbelieve him—Japan has a law stating that landlords must divulge whether a previous tenant died or suffered a violent crime within any newly vacated property to all prospective replacements. But while this rule makes sense considering people […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Lifechanger [2018]

“I’m not ready to die” To take Justin McConnell‘s horror film Lifechanger at face value is a mistake. You won’t understand this truth right away, though, because it starts out being exactly what you thought. Emily Roberts (Elitsa Bako) awakens covered in blood next to an emaciated corpse as a man’s (Bill Oberst Jr.) voiceover […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Sankt Bernhard Syndikatet [The Saint Bernard Syndicate] [2018]

“I call it the panda of the west” There’s something profound about Danish director Mads Brügger‘s documentaries due to his entering dangerous countries under false pretext to capture a result. Whether it’s heading to North Korea as a vaudeville act or the Central African Republic as a Liberian ambassador attempting to infiltrate the illegal blood […]