• REVIEW: Luce [2019]

    “I can’t be perfect” So much of who we are and what we become relies on perception. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, language, culture, education, and socio-economic standing all play a role because we’re perceived by those like us and those not. We therefore exist in a tenuous bubble of expectations wherein normalcy is a razor-thin […]

  • REVIEW: The Farewell [2019]

    “It’s a good lie” Billi (Awkwafina) heads to her parents’ home to clean laundry after discovering she’s now two months behind on her rent only to hear her father (Tzi Ma‘s Haiyan) is “asleep” … at 6pm. Her mother (Diana Lin‘s Jian) dismisses the time as a byproduct of them being very busy, but she […]

  • REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

    “She’ll be okay” It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and […]

  • REVIEW: Napszállta [Sunset] [2018]

    “It’s starting all over again” I felt as though I was running circles throughout László Nemes‘ sophomore effort Napszállta [Sunset]. It doesn’t help that we’re often inches from Írisz Leiter’s (Juli Jakab) face—if not looking through her very eyes—as she winds her way through an unfamiliar and just out of focus Budapest, Hungary. I speak […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2018

    Honorable Mention: #100: Mindset by Vacationer #99: Bruce Wayne by Fetty Wap #98: 7 by Beach House #97: Castles by Lissie #96: Shift by Henry Green #95: Kyoto by Tyga #94: White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood by of Montreal #93: Trickster Blues by RF Shannon #92: I can feel you creepinto my private life by Tune-Yards […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: The Spanish Prisoner [1998]

“Dog my cats” Anyone who’s on social media has seen the “name” memes where your “whatever name” is formed by that of the first pet you owned and your grandmother’s maiden name—or some riff on this pattern. Everyone does it because it’s fun and they’ve been trained like sheep to participate in such activities so […]

REVIEW: Her Smell [2019]

“I see the void of eternity” The public loves a good train wreck when it comes to rockstars. That notion of burning your candle on both ends to create music that lasts forever at the expense of a life snuffed out too soon carries the sort of romanticism you must give pause to in hindsight, […]

REVIEW: High Flying Bird [2019]

“I love the Lord and all his Black people” A film like Steven Soderbergh‘s High Flying Bird is exactly what the Netflix model makes possible. You could even say the whole thing is a metaphor for the streaming service’s desire for a seat at the cinematic table. They’re a disruptor proving that what they offer […]

REVIEW: Red Joan [2019]

“That’s a peculiar way of putting it” The government agents within Trevor Nunn‘s Red Joan arrest Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) under suspicion of treason and enthusiastically ask who politicized her because to them only an outsider could have brainwashed someone to act against his/her country on behalf of a foreign enemy. It’s an understandably emotional […]

REVIEW: Napszállta [Sunset] [2018]

“It’s starting all over again” I felt as though I was running circles throughout László Nemes‘ sophomore effort Napszállta [Sunset]. It doesn’t help that we’re often inches from Írisz Leiter’s (Juli Jakab) face—if not looking through her very eyes—as she winds her way through an unfamiliar and just out of focus Budapest, Hungary. I speak […]

REVIEW: Ask Dr. Ruth [2019]

“My parents actually gave me life twice” A couple mentions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as “Grandma Freud” are seen and heard throughout Ryan White‘s documentary

REVIEW: High Life [2019]

“What do you know about cruelty?” Redemption can be an illusion to so many people. They try so hard to make up for past misdeeds that they often fall prey to even more along the way. That’s what happens when you give your quest a tangible goal—achieving it becomes paramount, the process a means to […]

REVIEW: Wild Nights with Emily [2019]

“Sue, forevermore” As evidenced by her poetry and letters, the reclusive spinster Emily Dickinson proves anything but. Through them we learn of her struggles to get published, the rejections endured, and a love shared with her sister-in-law Susan. Why then was the former thought process how we were told to consider her life? Because those […]

REVIEW: Family [2019]

“Take control of your life” One of many side effects (central tenets) of the patriarchy is this notion that women must either follow a workaholic career trajectory devoid of distractions (family) or choose to stay at home and devote their time to being housewives without distractions (career). It’s a very conscious duality with which to […]

REVIEW: What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine [2019]

“We were the ‘dark’ Star Trek” More than merely a look back at what was, Ira Steven Behr‘s documentary project What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine is also a way to look forward—a perfect contrast considering how maligned the show was during its tenure compared to today. You could say “Deep […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man [2019]

“Turning poop culture into pop culture” This statistic says it all: 40% of citizens on Earth don’t have toilets. A big part of that number is India and China, but it’s still insane to comprehend as someone from a country that won’t allow homes or businesses to be built without one. It’s the type of […]

REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

“I love you three thousand” The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to […]

REVIEW: Booksmart [2019]

“‘Your ugly’ what?” Does Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut Booksmart call to mind Superbad? You bet. Not only is it about two nerd best friends trying to punch above their weight class and party hard before graduating, but it also stars that film’s co-lead Jonah Hill‘s sister in a very similar mode. She (Beanie Feldstein‘s Molly) […]

REVIEW: I Trapped the Devil [2019]

“Something feels wrong” Tragedy struck some time ago and we honestly don’t need to know the details to understand how it’s affected the three characters we’re about to meet. Steve (Scott Poythress) is the one who’s hurting from it and has been ever since. Maybe his brother Matt (AJ Bowen) thought space was needed for […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Willie [2019]

“I’m not done” It was 2003 before a Black hockey player had the honor of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That player was Grant Fuhr, the Stanley Cup winning goalie of the Edmonton Oilers and multiple other teams (including a short stint with my hometown Buffalo Sabres). Because he was far from […]