• REVIEW: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2019]

    “One’s missing” The film begins in total silence to the point where you wonder if something went wrong with the sound. The camera pans through still trees until finding Gannon (James Badge Dale) on the ground with rifle ready to take out the deer we can assume is somewhere out of frame. It’s only when […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

    Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.) Best Picture #1If Beale StreetCould Talk #2You Were NeverReally Here #3Hereditary #4Eighth Grade […]

  • 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 […]

contact me:
[email protected]


film reviews

TIFF18 REVIEW: Float Like a Butterfly [2018]

“Keep your head up” A lot can change in five to ten years and even more can unfortunately remain the same. When we first meet the Joyce family little Frances’ age has yet to hit double digits, her younger brother Patrick still clinging to their mom’s side. Their band of traveling Irish sing their folk […]

REVIEW: A Simple Favor [2018]

“Oopsy” You don’t wonder which woman has secrets after meeting Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Instead you wonder which has more. They’re built to be hiding something in their past whether dark or not. The former: a goody two-shoes, little Miss Perfect type who always has the energy to show up […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Monsters and Men [2018]

“Six dudes for one guy” The conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter is (and should be) about the victims of police violence who’ve yet to see any killers in blue face real consequences. It’s not about saying their lives matter more than anyone else, but that they matter at all. Because if you look at the […]

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 […]

TIFF REVIEW: Out of Blue [2019]

“You can tell a lot by looking” It’s comforting to discover that the Martin Amis novel Carol Morley‘s Out of Blue adapts is considered a “comedic parody” because I couldn’t wrap my head around the blatant noir affectation she had her stellar cast provide. If Night Train was actually meant as a serious detective story, […]

TIFF REVIEW: Giant Little Ones [2019]

“Why did you tell her anything?” Writer/director Keith Behrman knows exactly what he’s doing when introducing a variety of people along the sexuality spectrum in his latest film Giant Little Ones. He’s intentionally flooding his canvas so that we have no choice but to accept them all rather than turn our focus onto just one. […]

TIFF REVIEW: Life Itself [2018]

“Tell them I’m nice” Morbid or not: I love when stationary characters turn to the camera only to be hit by a vehicle coming from offscreen. There’s something that’s just immensely satisfying about watching one step into that sweet spot of quiet, empty space with a hindered view on either side. I brace for impact, […]

TIFF REVIEW: Skin [2019]

“This is what I have” Bryon ‘Babs’ Widner (Jamie Bell) hears the buzz of a faulty electrical connection, triggering a transition to an operating table and screams as the tattoos covering most of his body start being removed. It’s a soundscape that’ll have you squirming in your seat, the close-up shots of scar tissue replacing […]

TIFF REVIEW: The Lie [2019]

“We’re not turning around” All kids grow up. Some parents grow apart. And the ramifications of this combination can have drastic effects. Jealousies might crop up to cause rifts while nostalgia for times long since past try replacing a present of anger and regret. So what is there to do but deal with the pain? […]

TIFF REVIEW: Teen Spirit [2019]

“Love’s not real” If you haven’t had enough underdog tales about kids from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it big, Max Minghella‘s directorial debut Teen Spirit hits all the usual check marks to provide a stylish if familiar entry to the theme. There’s the likeable teen lead in Violet’s (Elle Fanning) […]

TIFF REVIEW: White Boy Rick [2018]

“We’re goddamn lions” The pitch is as follows: Ricky Wershe Jr. (newcomer Richie Merritt) was a street hustler, drug kingpin, and FBI informant by the age of seventeen. If that doesn’t hook you, the added bonus of it all being real should. Welcome to White Boy Rick, a look at the American Dream that cuts […]

TIFF REVIEW: Beautiful Boy [2018]

“Everything” There’s an odd framing device within Felix Van Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy that strangely frames the first half of the film for no reason. It’s a scene wherein David Sheff (Steve Carell) is conducting an interview with a Dr. Brown (Timothy Hutton). The latter assumes it’s for a story considering the former is a journalist, […]

TIFF REVIEW: Duelles [Mothers’ Instinct] [2019]

“Forgive me” Director Olivier Masset-Depasse lets us know exactly what to expect out of Duelles [Mothers’ Instinct] from the start, introducing an idyllic bourgeois home with all the sensory cues to foreshadow melodramatic suspense. Alice Brunelle (Veerle Baetens) peers out her window as neighbor Céline Geniot (Anne Coesens) leaves, rushing out once the car pulls […]

TIFF REVIEW: کفرناحوم [Capharnaüm] [Capernaum] [2018]

“Because I was born” The synopsis doesn’t lie. Young Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is in prison, his five-year sentence just put into effect. He has no papers despite being born in Lebanon and thus a doctor must estimate his age by his lack of baby teeth as twelve. But here he is anyway for a […]