• REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 [2017]

    “Because you’ve never seen a miracle” Survival is a selfish endeavor, but not necessarily one driven by ego. On the contrary, survival is often a selfless means to place community ahead of the individual. Look at our country’s current, abhorrent divisions along lines we should have erased decades ago or never created in the first […]

  • REVIEW: The Florida Project [2017]

    “What are you playing?” It’s hard not to think about another A24 produced film while watching Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project. The themes it presents due its impoverished central characters barely scrapping by financially on a day-to-day basis are identical to Andrea Arnold‘s American Honey and its band of twenty-somethings traveling the countryside to scam […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2018]

    “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] [2018]

    “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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: A Ghost Story [2017]

“I don’t remember” **SPOILERS** There’s a character (Will Oldham‘s ‘Prognosticator’) in David Lowery‘s A Ghost Story—a sparse meditation on life, love, grief, and death—who delivers a dissertation of that very film. Or at least what pedantically pretentious windbags such as he would think the film means in order to minimize art’s infinite power to profoundly […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: S.U.M.1 [2017]

“We will fight for our future. Your future.” It’s been decades since a new world order changed Earth forever, an alien invasion by creatures known as the Nonesuch forcing humanity underground. The old guard who survived remembers the war that drove them subterranean, memories of life on the surface and the beasts that present-day generations […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tragedy Girls [2017]

“To make an omelet you have to kill some ex-boyfriends” You’re a couple of horror obsessed high school seniors living in a boring town where the most salacious thing happening is an affair between your teacher Mrs. Kent (Nicky Whelan) and fire chief Big Al (Craig Robinson). You’re vlog/twitter account searching for gore to capture […]

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: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [2017]

“We can forgive, but we will never forget” Sci-fi fantasy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the most expensive European and independent (anywhere) production ever at approximately $200 million dollars—high enough that writer/director/producer Luc Besson pretty much leveraged his distribution shingle EuropaCorp before bringing STX on as a partner to defer costs […]

REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Lowlife [2017]

“It is my great honor to grant you your wish on such a special day” An ex-junkie, ex-convict, and luchador enter a fish taco shack … the punch line is a three-pronged adventure through Compton while engulfed by the shadow of a lunatic pimp moonlighting as a black market organ wholesaler. Director Ryan Prows and […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: La noche del virgen [Night of the Virgin] [2016]

“To the strangers who crossed paths” Don’t mess with a Nepali “cantara” on New Year’s—especially if you’re a virgin. Had young Nico (Javier Bódalo) only been warned, he might have avoided the worst nightmare of his life. While his virginity wasn’t for a lack of trying (or spilled drinks, vomit, and curt rebukes), somehow surviving […]

REVIEW: The Hero [2017]

“You can’t outrun destiny, amigo” Death is the great equalizer and one true certainty in life. That doesn’t mean we’re prepared for its sudden or prolonged arrival, though. If anything it forces us to take stock of achievements and mistakes, knowing that the time we believed we had to fix the latter was about to […]

REVIEW: Bless Their Little Hearts [1984]

“I’m tired, tired, tired. Start trying to be a man.” There’s no getting around the connection that binds Billy Woodberry‘s Bless Their Little Hearts to Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep. Both were written by Burnett, shot in Watts, and entries in the movement known as the “LA Rebellion”. They both deal with the struggle to […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: The Honor Farm [2017]

“Make a choice” If Karen Skloss‘ feature narrative debut The Honor Farm possesses anything it’s an abundance of style. This is a gorgeously shot prom night turned mushroom trip romp of millennial excess caught in the throes of dream. We meet Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) walking through the woods in her dress—trees covered in toilet […]

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 […]