• REVIEW: The Nightingale [2019]

    “You’re my life” After giving grief and survivor’s guilt physical form by way of a violent monster known as The Babadook, writer/director Jennifer Kent turns her sights on trauma and the ways our bodies, minds, and souls react to unimaginable and unprovoked pain endured at the hands of mankind’s superiority complexes born from delusions of […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters [2019]

“This will not bring him back to us” Here’s the thing. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced way back in 2015—a year after Godzilla released and two before Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. wasn’t taking their time rolling out the MonsterVerse and thus guaranteed we knew the big bad reptile and big bad mammal would eventually […]

REVIEW: Child’s Play [1988]

“I’ll be your friend to the end” The rough cut of Tom Holland‘s Child’s Play was around two hours and test audiences weren’t happy. Almost forty minutes were excised (and boy can you tell) before the film saw the light of day and eventually earned an insanely devoted cult following that’s seen six sequels (so […]

REVIEW: All Is True [2019]

“Perhaps, to some, I was the lark” Sony Pictures Classics announced their deal to distribute Kenneth Branagh‘s latest All Is True after it had already been completed without the usual media fanfare surrounding projects with royal Oscar pedigrees such as one whose cast is rounded out by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. You shouldn’t, however, […]

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets 2 [2019]

“Was the world always this dangerous?” Illumination missed the boat on The Secret Life of Pets because the way they’ve told these stories thus far make them a lot more conducive to television than cinema. If that first film’s sprawling character list devolving into wild schemes and pratfalls barely adhering to the flimsy plot beneath […]

REVIEW: Leto [2018]

“Laziness has kept me out of trouble many times” We only recognize it through hindsight, but Americans are spoiled by cultural freedom. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s meant having the opportunity to listen to radio stations, records, and cassettes of music spanning multiple genres and eras. It was all at our fingertips and […]

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe [2019]

“Kale can’t hold on forever” The premise is familiar. Two childhood best friends of the opposite sex lose touch after growing up only to find themselves in close proximity again almost two decades later. One became a huge success elsewhere while the other remained home and thus without much opportunity for escaping that neighborhood’s limited […]

REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

“I’ll take care of the rest” When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while […]

REVIEW: Late Night [2019]

“You’re a little old and a little white” You can imagine how this film would have gone had a white male wrote it. The affirmative action jokes would play strictly for laughs rather than poignant introspection. The strong woman television host would use masculine tropes to service her goals rather than understand that a double […]

REVIEW: Doubles vies [Non-Fiction] [2019]

“An infinite minority” You know when you go to a get-together and the conversation inevitably turns to current affairs for which everyone has a fringe understanding? So rather than provide true opinions, they simply start regurgitating what they’ve read on the subject. Most times their content doesn’t even come from a primary source because we’ve […]

REVIEW: The Russian Five [2019]

“Literally—we’re making it up as we go along” While everyone hates division rivals when it comes to loving the Buffalo Sabres, I don’t necessarily care. They despise Toronto, loathe Boston, and dislike Montreal. Hartford earned ire when they had a team and Ottawa too upon coming back into the league. For me, though, it was […]

REVIEW: Fast Color [2019]

“I want us to try again” It’s a gift that has been carried down through generations, always from mother to daughter. It can break apart any object they can physically see into its core molecules, swirling them around in the air until ready to reform as whatever it was beforehand. A bowl, cigarette, and even […]

REVIEW: The Wedding Planner [2001]

“Dark tower demolished” I shouldn’t be surprised that my nineteen-year old self wasn’t a fan of The Wedding Planner when it came out. Romantic comedies weren’t my genre of choice and I surely didn’t pick it upon going to the theater with friends. So I probably watched with an immovable bias, honed in on its […]

REVIEW: Into the Mirror [2019]

“You don’t have to be lost forever” What started as a script for a five-minute short by Jamie Bacon and Charles Streeter soon developed into the sixty-five-minute feature film Into the Mirror after handing it over to visual artist Lois Stevenson. She saw the potential to expand it outwards to become the colorfully nightmarish fantasy […]

REVIEW: Exhibition [2014]

“Stop worrying about me” After two films centering upon characters that need to escape their insular lifestyles in order to discover what it is they truly desire, Joanna Hogg‘s Exhibition conversely traps D (Viv Albertine) and H (Liam Gillick) within their claustrophobic yet comfortable home so they must confront their past and present before deciding […]

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [2019]

“Rules and consequences” Like the Purge series before it, John Wick is proving to be a money-making franchise that loves to let its mythology gradually unfold in a way that familiarizes via a personal experience prior to zooming out so the systemic issues beyond one man’s home can be revealed. While we still stay with […]