• REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

    “It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

  • REVIEW: We the Animals [2018]

    “We wanted more” There are a lot of hard truths within We the Animals. Describing patriarch Paps (Raúl Castillo) as “loving but unpredictable” in the press notes gets right to the heart of that complexity since a more apt description could be “abuser.” He’s a man with a hot temper who inflames his wife (Sheila […]

  • REVIEW: Minding the Gap [2018]

    “We formed a family together” It begins as a film about self-created community, three young men coming together on their skateboards to escape the private turmoil experienced at home. The sport was a cathartic outlet more than some bid to act cool, helping them become close enough friends to share details about their individual demons […]

  • REVIEW: Widows [2018]

    “This isn’t your world” When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate […]

  • REVIEW: Wildlife [2018]

    “I feel like I need to wake up” The start of Paul Dano‘s directorial debut Wildlife depicts a happy household of mother (Carey Mulligan‘s Jeanette Brinson), father (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jerry), and son (Ed Oxenbould‘s Joe). They’ve just moved from Utah to Montana so Jerry can work as a country club’s resident “pro”—a job allowing Jeanette […]

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film reviews

TIFF18 REVIEW: Mid90s [2018]

“I don’t kiss and tell” The summer between middle school and high school is a formative one for any kid. There’s this sense of moving away from childhood and towards young adulthood—of needing to act older to fit in considering the pecking order has restarted with you down at the bottom. Factor in a sibling […]

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 […]

REVIEW: The Miseducation of Cameron Post [2018]

“There’s no hiding from God” “Separation of church and state” has always fascinated me since the only consistency within is the ability to pick and choose when and how it’s enforced. We’re the “land of the free” and therefore shouldn’t impose certain laws and safeties upon religious communities trying to practice their faith. But when […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Fiore Gemello [Twin Flower] [2018]

“Shall we go?” Two strangers running from personal demons collide at the start of Laura Luchetti‘s Sardinia-set Fiore gemello [Twin Flower]. He (Kallil Kone’s Basim) is an Ivory Coast immigrant desperate for money yet unequipped with the correct paperwork to earn gainful employment. She (Anastasiya Bogach’s Anna) is desperate to escape a pursuer (Aniello Arena‘s […]

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 […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Jessica Forever [2018]

“Why wouldn’t you come with us?” Redemption is a tricky concept. Can you be redeemed without forgiveness from those you wronged? Are our actions in the aftermath enough to achieve some semblance of peace if they show we’ve learned through remorse? Everyone has a different opinion on the matter whether victim, loved one, stranger, or […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Where Hands Touch [2018]

“I want her to be like everyone else: unremarkable” Now is not the time to make a film romanticizing Nazism or allowing anyone who donned the swastika during World War II a modicum of sympathy. I’d argue there could never be such a time—at least not for those who say they felt bad but still […]

REVIEW: Predator [1987]

“I ain’t got time to bleed” I really hope the anecdote is true that Jim and John Thomas wrote their script for Predator based on a joke positing how the only opponent left for Rocky Balboa to fight after Ivan Drago was an alien. It’s a cheesy thought and cheesier premise, so the fact that […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Hölmö nuori sydän [Stupid Young Heart] [2018]

“Nobody knows” It was fun to laugh back in January when Donald Trump spoke to the media about how he wanted fewer immigrants from “shithole” countries and more from the likes of Norway. We laughed because it was obvious what the difference between the two was for him—my ignorance towards Scandinavian politics stopping at the […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: The Truth About Killer Robots [2018]

“We will not consider the question of the robot’s guilt” The title to Maxim Pozdorovkin‘s documentary The Truth About Killer Robots is intentionally sensationalized for the same reasons a real newspaper article about the death by machine of a Volkswagen factory worker would be accompanied by a photograph of a terminator. James Cameron put a […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] [2018]

“Stay cool. Okay?” It starts with a rape. I won’t lie: I sighed thinking Sven Taddicken‘s Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] was going to end up another drama about coping and retribution like most others wherein Liv (Luise Heyer) struggles as Malte (Maximilian Brückner) protects. So it was a welcome surprise when we’re […]

REVIEW: Searching [2018]

“Mom would be too” While it’s been done before (Unfriended and Open Windows to name two recent features), Aneesh Chaganty‘s all-on-digital-screens thriller Searching has earned a lot of buzz namely because it arrives with a genre pedigree beyond “schlock.” The vast majority of critics, filmgoers, and distributers still find it easy to dismiss horror despite […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads] [2018]

“There’s a spot on your face” If Broken Lizard were Central American and deadpan, they might make something akin to Ernesto Villalobos‘ Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads]. Think an extremely droll Super Troopers meets Office Space starring a sextet of bike messengers desperately trying to break the monotony of their stagnant lives while also staying afloat […]

REVIEW: 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]

“This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.” The opening chapter of Stanley Kubrick‘s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey is entitled “The Dawn of Man” and depicts the evolution of apes from animal to wielder of tools—a transition marked by the mysterious appearance of a black monolith standing upright to frame the moon at its […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: The Dig [2018]

“He’s on my land” After fifteen years in jail for murder, Ronan Callahan (Moe Dunford) returns home to find his victim’s father caught in a loop. Every day spent behind bars was a day Sean McKenna (Lorcan Cranitch) languished in the bog behind the Callahans’ property, digging holes along a carefully marked grid in search […]