• REVIEW: 기생충 [Gisaengchung] [Parasite] [2019]

    “This is so metaphorical” Min (Seo-joon Park) arrives unannounced at the semi-basement dwelling of his old friend Kim Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi). The former is a college student about to study abroad, the latter an unemployed high school graduate doing his best to leech free wifi by the bathroom window since he, his sister (So-dam Park‘s […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: The Rest of Us [2019]

    “Feels Inside Not Expressed” Despite death being a definitive end, there’s still a chance for new beginnings in the aftermath. Sometimes it’s by necessity and sometimes by choice. In the case of Craig, however, it’s inevitably both thanks to his leaving behind two families: his first and his second. While he left Cami (Heather Graham) […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

    “The cow and the shotgun” No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Sound of Metal [2019]

    “Will it come back?” The film opens with Riz Ahmed‘s Ruben sitting at a drum kit while guitar distortions deafen us. Eventually Olivia Cooke‘s Lou starts screaming as his sticks connect for a steady beat until all hell breaks loose. We’re in this venue with them, the in-close camerawork proving Ahmed’s lessons paid off because […]

  • TIFF19 REVIEW: Håp [Hope] [2019]

    “What do we tell the kids?” Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) was married with three children when Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) met him. She didn’t want to fall in love, but twenty years and three more kids later show that’s exactly what happened. When Anja raised their babies, Tomas worked—a lot. When it was time for her […]

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film reviews

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 白蛇:緣起 [Baishe: Yuanqi] [White Snake] [2019]

“Do you ever have to do what you don’t want to do?” Filmmakers Amp Wong, Ji Zhao (directors), and Damao (screenwriter) have taken the Chinese fable Legend of the White Snake and reformatted it into a prequel/remake with sequel possibilities (if a mid-credits sequence is any indication). The concept of reincarnation keeps the characters the […]

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 […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Homewrecker [2019]

“I love drama” Leaving your home always risks an encounter with someone too pleasant and boundary-averse to rebuke. You want to point to the headphones in your ears that aren’t actually playing anything as a means to avoid conversation, but they don’t get the hint because you’ve unwittingly enamored them. Or maybe you accidentally engaged […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 우상 [Woo-sang] [Idol] [2019]

“You take the fault” Two fathers and two sons are embroiled in the aftermath of a cover-up wherein one boy winds up dead and the other imprisoned. Su-jin Lee could have spun his tale with little else since the perpetrator’s (Jo Byeong-gyu‘s Yo-han was behind the wheel, drunk and speeding down a quiet service street) […]

REVIEW: Mutual Appreciation [2006]

“I’m not looking to be happy” Everything surrounding Andrew Bujalski‘s Mutual Appreciation makes it seem as though the film centers upon singer-songwriter Alan (Justin Rice of Bishop Allen). This isn’t necessarily true. His arrival in New York City after his band The Bumblebees fell apart in Boston is the catalyst for what’s to come, but […]

REVIEW: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [2019]

“Give me sexy, evil Hamlet” It was around midnight between August 8th and 9th, 1969 that Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles on a mission from their cult leader Charles Manson. They were told to go to that house (a former renter named Terry Melcher once […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Black Magic for White Boys [2019]

“It won’t be like last time” In a world where white Americans start feeling unjustly marginalized as the stranglehold of power they’ve possessed in this country since its inception begins to show cracks in a bid for true equality that they continue fighting tooth and nail against, they’ll steal whatever advantage they can to retain […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Knives and Skin [2019]

“I actually don’t want to see what’s about to happen” When Laura Palmer is found dead and wrapped in plastic, her tragic end ripples throughout David Lynch‘s “Twin Peaks” to devastating effect. An outsider in Agent Cooper enters the town to decipher the circumstances surrounding her demise with a cheery disposition that never fades—a direct […]

REVIEW: Murder! [1930]

“You can’t run the world on sentiment” A lot needs to go wrong for Alfred Hitchcock‘s Murder! to go right. I say this because Diana Baring (Norah Baring) would never have been arrested in a perfect world. Why? For all the reasons Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall) lays out about two-thirds of the way through. […]

REVIEW: A Score to Settle [2019]

“Today is your day to try again” It’s been nineteen years since Frank “Frankie Fingers” Carver (Nicolas Cage) has been a free man. He’s made the best of prison despite being there for a crime his mob boss Max (Dave Kenneth MacKinnon) committed. What other choice did he have? With his wife dead, his son […]

REVIEW: The Lion King [2019]

“Slimy yet … satisfying” People are getting excited because Nintendo Switch is releasing a port of Link’s Awakening—an RPG that originally came out on the Gameboy two decades ago. More than a port, it’s an actual remake wherein everything is more or less the same with improved graphics and tweaks in gameplay wherever the developers […]

REVIEW: Blackmail [1929]

“I don’t like waiting about for you” Originally green-lit as a silent film, I’ve read differing accounts as far as Alfred Hitchcock‘s feelings about his producer deciding to shift gears and make Blackmail Europe’s first successful “talkie.” Some say he hated the idea and thus the silent cut (Hitchcock finished two versions of the film […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Wretched [2019]

“Poked the bear” A witch that feeds on forgotten children has taken hold of a sleepy lakeside village in Michigan. It’s because its victims are “forgotten,” however, that nobody ever seems to notice. Not only do the adults assist it by either providing themselves as vessel (it steps into the skin of women) or servant […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jesus shows you the way to the Highway [2019]

“Duty calls for the last time” All Agent D.T. Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) wants is to retire from the CIA and help his love Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) open the best kickboxing joint the world has ever seen. Maybe he’ll hone his pizza-making skills and put a pizzeria next door too if all pans out. Before that […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Deeper You Dig [2019]

“Every gift is its own twisted curse” It’s funny where the mind can go when you only know a few details at first. That John Adams and Toby Poser‘s latest family-fueled film The Deeper You Dig is horror was enough to convince me that a line spoken by Ivy’s (Poser) daughter Echo (the filmmakers’ own […]