• INTERVIEW: Matt Tyrnauer, director of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

    Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Matt Tyrnauer‘s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City has received rave reviews across the country as it opened in limited release April 21st, 2017. Centering on Jane Jacobs—a journalist, author, and activist—the film showcases the problems inherent to how urban planners in the mid-twentieth century worked. […]

  • REVIEW: A Quiet Passion [2017]

    “Give me something pressed from truth” I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who never heard the name Emily Dickinson, although I’m probably not alone insofar as being ignorant to her work. For someone as prolific as the Amherst, Massachusetts-born poet with approximately 1,800 poems to her name, I’m sure I’ve heard at least […]

  • REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

    “Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

  • INTERVIEW: Aaron Moorhead, director/cinematographer & Justin Benson director/writer of The Endless

    As someone who loved Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson‘s Spring to the point of seeking out everything else they had done before that point, hearing about a new work debuting at Tribeca got me excited to see what they would deliver. My assumption was that it was the Aleister Crowley picture they spoke about when […]

  • REVIEW: Under sandet [Land of Mine] [2015]

    “I’ll make it home” War is a horrific reality that forces people into doing terrible things. Everyone sees him/herself as being on the side of “good” and “righteous”—look at the discrepancies from one history book to another in how education systems describe certain events to shine one’s own nation in a rosier tint than it […]

film reviews

REVIEW: Timecode [2016]

“See you tomorrow” A Spanish parking garage owner (Vicente Gil) cuts costs by hiring two security guards to work twelve-hour shifts—eight paid on the clock and four off. It’s a pretty cozy gig wherein you simply watch closed circuit camera feeds, do a couple walks, and let the automated ticket machines do the heavy lifting […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Machines [2017]

“Poverty is harassment, Sir” The most pointed question asked by Rahul Jain‘s documentary Machines comes from the camera. By showing us the gigantic textile spools, looms, and washers with only their rhythmic clanks, booms, and bangs opposite the Indian workers applying dyes, mixing chemicals, and ensuring there are no jams to the same sounds, we […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Winnie [2017]

“The self no longer mattered. The country came first.” It’s difficult to truly capture a controversial subject in film. For a figure such as Winnie Madikizela Mandela, it may be impossible unless you ensure her perspective is included. This is a woman labeled terrorist by many countries, a wife who “tarnished” her heroic husband’s legacy. […]

REVIEW: Pear Cider and Cigarettes [2016]

“What was he fighting for anyways?” “He was born lucky and died unlucky.” These are the words Robert Valley uses to describe an old childhood friend named Techno Stypes, the subject of his twenty-five year autobiographical journey entitled Pear Cider and Cigarettes. From the youthful eyes of adulation, Techno was the fastest person alive and […]

REVIEW: Blind Vaysha [2016]

“In her eyes the present did not exist” I did a double take upon hearing Theodore Ushev‘s name alongside his animated short Blind Vaysha during the Oscar nominations because I’ve watched his work progress the past five years. This Canadian by way of Bulgaria is a Toronto International Film Festival staple, a guy who alters […]

REVIEW: Borrowed Time [2016]

“What do I do?” It’s been a dark year for animated films—dark with a subtle slice of hope for the future. My Life as a Zucchini leads the way on that front, but Borrowed Time is hardly an exception. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj‘s stylized computer-animated short focuses on an aged Sheriff yet to forgive […]

REVIEW: Pearl [2016]

“There’s no wrong way home” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the director of Pearl is also the man behind Oscar-winning Disney short Feast. Patrick Osborne for all intents and purposes has merely updated that previous look at a dog experiencing the tumultuousness of humanity around him to one capturing the bond between a […]

REVIEW: 4.1 Miles [2016]

“Did Dad get on the boat?” While Trump’s administration unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims from countries he doesn’t do business with, heroes are risking their lives to protect those who need protecting. One of these is Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a Greek Coast Guard captain from the island of Lebos who goes out into the choppy waters of […]

REVIEW: Joe’s Violin [2016]

“How long can you live with memories?” You never know when a potential story will come your way. For Kahane Cooperman it was on her drive to work around New York City while listening to WQXR. The station was calling for used instruments to be donated for children and schools in need, a story about […]

REVIEW: Hooligan Sparrow [2016]

“Hey Principal: get a room with me and leave the kids alone!” First-time director Nanfu Wang‘s documentary Hooligan Sparrow proves how a single piece of paper explaining a child’s rights can cause a ripple within a sea of oppression and catalyze justice. That document came from the hand of Wang Yu, a lawyer who followed […]

REVIEW: 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] [2016]

“A land of deathly silence” There’s just one thing missing from Liang Zhao‘s visually masterful documentary 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] and it’s a before image of what this wasteland of coal and rock used to be before God’s beast was unleashed. This creature—as represented by the industrial machine—devours the mountains of Mongolia, exploding […]

REVIEW: The Autopsy of Jane Doe [2016]

“It looks like they were trying to break out” There’s no sign of forced entry. Two bodies are brutally murdered upstairs and a naked woman without a skin blemish is discovered half-buried in the basement. Sheriff Sheldon (Michael McElhatton) is at a loss. He can theorize the locals’ demise—even if it won’t quite fit perfectly—but […]

REVIEW: Split [2017]

“In the sun we find our purpose” It doesn’t get better than The Village where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned. That film was a perfect confluence of his screenwriting and directing capabilities, a tale of love and protection through drastic measures as metaphor for the struggles of parenthood steeped in heavy emotion and guilt without […]

REVIEW: Timmy II [2016]

“I’m human now. But the wrong kind, I guess.” Writer/director Imran J. Khan‘s short comedy Timmy II is absurd in more ways than one. There’s the ham-fisted sci-fi aspect of a father putting his deceased son’s heart into a robot and watching it come to life on the story front and an overuse of obvious […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Axolotl Overkill [2017]

“Can you drown in the gene pool?” Playwright, author, screenwriter, and director Helene Hegemann has said (through her publisher) that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” The words were spoken after her debut novel Axolotl Roadkill earned critical praise, a spot as a finalist for a major book award, and multiple, potentially […]