• TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2017]

    “The darker the night, the brighter the stars” Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) compares God to a fire when explaining how the ones our religions’ sacred books describe aren’t quite right. Our creator is simpler than those iterations. He has the power to turn wood into ash and water into steam. He has the power to transform. […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2017]

    “Which of you is the bigger liar?” It didn’t win the Oscar for best live action short in 2014, but Xavier Legrand’s Just Before Losing Everything was by far my favorite nominee. Discovering his debut feature Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] was constructed as an expansion of that story therefore made it a must-see. The short […]

  • REVIEW: De sidste mænd i Aleppo [Last Men in Aleppo] [2017]

    “If I leave, it will be to the cemetery” It’s a shame that those who need to watch Last Men in Aleppo are those who won’t. I’m talking the brainwashed masses quick to call a liberal media “fake news” while they help facilitate legitimate fake news fabricated by enemy regimes hoping to plant dissent. They […]

  • REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

    “We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

  • REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

    “He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Killer of Sheep [1978]

“Now that ain’t me … and damn sure won’t be” It’s not everyday that a masters thesis film is declared a national treasure by the Library of Congress and placed on the National Film Registry, but films like Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep don’t come along everyday either. Shot on weekends over a year in […]

REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Dead Shack [2017]

“I think when the blood’s black there’s no going back” I like when a director knows what he/she wants from his/her film—even if the goal is to entertain on a level that ensures its legacy falls short of cinematic greatness. Some of my favorite movies are those that demand to be re-watched not for comprehension’s […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Replace [2017]

“I thought this was just a painkiller” There’s a captivating science fiction horror concept at the back of director Norbert Keil and co-writer Richard Stanley‘s Replace with the question: how far would you be willing to go for your youth? Do you crave longevity? Vanity? Rebirth? What would you sacrifice for it? Memory? Sanity? Life […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: 악녀 [Ak-Nyeo] [The Villainess] [2017]

“You came alone?” Writer/director Byung-gil Jung sure knows how to open an action flick. Think Oldboy‘s hallway scene from the first-person perspective of Hardcore Henry spilling over through a non-descript doorway into a wide-open setting for a one-on-twenty bloodbath a la Kill Bill‘s House of Blue Leaves sequence. Only when the orchestrator of this carnage […]

REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]

“We are the beginning and the end” I’ve never seen the original Planet of the Apes films, but the little I know has always presented the titular apes as antagonists. You don’t cast Charlton Heston as your lead circa 1968 unless you want him to be the central figure with which to align. He’s a […]

REVIEW: The Big Sick [2017]

“Always with the comedy” A lot of romantic comedies release each year—a lot. And they’re generally all the same with characters built from stereotypes rather than a writer’s personal experience. The ones that stick out are therefore those that arrive from the heart with something true to say. They’re the few possessing the honesty to […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Savage Dog [2017]

“The human is the hardest animal to kill” When a film opens with Scott Adkins rising from the mud with a scream in Indochina circa 1959, you begin cultivating expectations. You forgive the ham-fisted voiceover narration and the quick slow motion cuts disorienting place and time. You forgive the lack of context as to why […]

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Homecoming [2017]

“Guy in the chair” Here’s an unpopular opinion for you: I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Yes, the one with a blue Jamie Foxx. The only reason I bring it up is to say even I was dreading the proposed villain team-up spin-off and inevitable trilogy capper seemingly arriving at a place wherein Peter Parker’s […]

REVIEW: Baby Driver [2017]

“They call. I go.” I’ll admit that writer/director Edgar Wright‘s departure from Ant-Man was met with mixed feelings on my part. On one hand I was disappointed that we’d never see what he could have done with the material—something I had anticipated for many years. On the other, however, was the realization that I’d rather […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [2017]

“I didn’t want you to be misled” There’s a lot to like about Don Siegel‘s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan‘s A Painted Devil. Unfortunately, there’s just as much left wanting. It built towards a tense finale of malicious intent, the kind that’s able to turn what was a simple wartime drama into a metaphorical representation […]

REVIEW: American Promise [2013]

“I hope times have changed” Before Boyhood began its eleven-year gestation as a fictionalized document of a real life coming-of-age journey in America, multiple documentary projects were born in the same vein. The Up Series started in 1964, Doug Block‘s The Kids Grow Up used home video from as far back as the 90s to […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [1971]

“Old enough for kisses” If you’ve ever wondered what would happen inside a Confederate girls seminary (boarding school) unwittingly thrust into the position of harboring a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War, Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled seeks to provide some dark answers. Based on Thomas Cullinan‘s novel A Painted Devil and adapted by Albert […]

REVIEW: Despicable Me 3 [2017]

“I love the combination of Gummy Bears and meat” You have to give Illumination credit because they chose to cultivate an animated niche able to set them apart from Pixar rather than simply seek to copy their blueprint. Their path brings them closer to Dreamworks and yet we can still pick out the difference because […]

REVIEW: Rough Night [2017]

“Our kids are going to play together” I wasn’t expecting much out of “Broad City” co-writer/director Lucia Aniello‘s feature length debut Rough Night, but even low expectations run into the possibility of not quite being met. A big part of this stemmed from my anticipation of a dark comedy, one that might have the chops […]