• REVIEW: Napszállta [Sunset] [2018]

    “It’s starting all over again” I felt as though I was running circles throughout László Nemes‘ sophomore effort Napszállta [Sunset]. It doesn’t help that we’re often inches from Írisz Leiter’s (Juli Jakab) face—if not looking through her very eyes—as she winds her way through an unfamiliar and just out of focus Budapest, Hungary. I speak […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2018

    Honorable Mention: #100: Mindset by Vacationer #99: Bruce Wayne by Fetty Wap #98: 7 by Beach House #97: Castles by Lissie #96: Shift by Henry Green #95: Kyoto by Tyga #94: White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood by of Montreal #93: Trickster Blues by RF Shannon #92: I can feel you creepinto my private life by Tune-Yards […]

  • REVIEW: Transit [2018]

    “I won’t be writing anymore school essays” It took until the end of Christian Petzold‘s Transit and my reading the press notes to realize Georg’s (Franz Rogowski) story unfolded in the present day. I felt off-balance from the start as far as what the historical context for these events were because he was a German […]

  • REVIEW: Apollo 11 [2019]

    “The Eagle has landed” A black screen with the title Apollo 11 arrives for an instant before we’re whisked away to July 1969 as those in Mission Control and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins prepare themselves for the first manned spaceflight to land on the moon. There’s no opening interstitial providing context, […]

  • INTERVIEW: Keith Behrman, writer/director of Giant Little Ones

    One of my favorite things about going to the Toronto International Film Festival is finding the time to see the smaller movies that aren’t on everyone’s must-see lists. While the gamble sometimes turns out to be a dud, the risk is easily justified when you’re able to discover a work as genuinely memorable as Keith […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Unbreakable [2000]

“I had a bad dream” I didn’t watch The Sixth Sense when it was in theaters and therefore never had much of an affinity for it due to knowing the twist before eventually sitting down. I’m not therefore certain why I was excited to check out his follow-up Unbreakable. It could have been friends wanting […]

REVIEW: On the Basis of Sex [2018]

“Hooray for Mommy” Even if we weren’t mired in the middle of the Trump Administration with a constant tidal wave of sexist and xenophobic rhetoric masquerading as national emergencies, the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg defying the patriarchy where it came to archaic laws arbitrarily creating separate rights based on gender would be timely. Because […]

REVIEW: Lost + Found [2018]

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” Why shouldn’t Satan (Jennifer Plotzke) be given a starring role in the telling of Paradise? God allowed her to wreak havoc on mankind by seducing Eve (Pia Haddad) with an apple of knowledge. He left us behind as silly creatures lost in the throes of love […]

REVIEW: ’63 Boycott [2018]

“Because today is Freedom Day” One of Kartemquin Films founders (a Chicago-based production studio of documentary films that’s found itself in the Oscar conversation once again with the feature Minding the Gap and this short) was at the school boycott coined “Freedom Day” in 1963 filming the march as a twenty one year old, three […]

REVIEW: Nancy [2018]

“We have to appreciate what we have now” To look at Nancy Freeman (Andrea Riseborough) is to see a defeated woman. Her single moment of hope throughout the day is the chance of opening mail to check whether her latest writing submission was accepted for publication—a hope perpetually dashed by the fact her oppressive mother […]

REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns [2018]

“It’s today or never” Not all live-action/animated hybrids from Disney of yesteryear live up to the nostalgic memories of youth (I’m looking at you Pete’s Dragon), but Mary Poppins is an exception. Maybe it was revisiting it after seeing the underrated Saving Mr. Banks for added context concerning craft and motivation or maybe it’s simply […]

REVIEW: Mary Queen of Scots [2018]

“Our swords are not just for show” I know nothing of Scottish history. While this means I can’t attest to the veracity of Mary Queen of Scots, however, it doesn’t stop me from wondering about its lukewarm reception. What’s interesting is how the film as adapted by Beau Willimon from John Guy‘s novel Queen of […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Piercing [2019]

“The terror must be in English” A marriage between the gorgeously disturbing imagery Nicolas Pesce delivered via his debut The Eyes of My Mother and the surreally warped sensibilities of Audition author Ryû Murakami definitely piqued my interest as far as the former’s adaptation of the latter’s novel Piercing. This psycho-thriller concerns new father Reed’s […]

REVIEW: Komunia [Communion] [2016]

“I’m not the air” While learning about what to share with the priest during his first confession, young Nikodem is told that stuffing his face with food is a sin known as gluttony. The autistic boy giggles and jokes that he believes gluttony to be a virtue instead—one to replace love since it being prone […]

REVIEW: The Spy Who Dumped Me [2018]

“Thumbs up” While Drew (Justin Theroux) gets his butt kicked in Lithuana on a covert assignment for the CIA, the woman he dumped via text just days earlier is forced to endure the psychological trauma of having every single person she knows at her birthday party wondering where he is. To make matters worse, we […]

REVIEW: Rust Creek [2019]

“You learn real quick what all can burn you” When Sawyer Scott (Hermoine Corfield) receives the call she’s been waiting for, she can’t help but smile. It’s the first step towards a post-collegiate future with a job in Washington DC all but secured—the tiniest bit of uncertainty preventing her from telling her folks why she […]

REVIEW: New Year, New You [2018]

“I control my own destiny” You cannot talk about Sophia Takal‘s New Year, New You (the fourth episode of Blumhouse Television’s holiday-themed Hulu series “Into the Dark”) without mentioning producer Jason Blum‘s reaction to a Twitter storm in October that stemmed from an interview wherein the low-budget financier relayed an erroneous statement that “there are […]

REVIEW: Mary Poppins [1964]

“A wooden leg named Smith” I never had a great affinity for Mary Poppins as a child. It could have been that I didn’t connect to the subject matter or more likely it was because my sister did. I gravitated towards Bedknobs and Broomsticks instead as a point of conflict—a film (unbeknownst to me at […]

REVIEW: Bumblebee [2018]

“I can fix you” I get the appeal to capitalize on nostalgia and credit to Hasbro and Paramount for doing exactly that with the original live-action Transformers film. They went for wall-to-wall explosions courtesy of Michael Bay, leaned into the male gaze with an out-of-the-lead’s-league love interest, and brought a sarcastic nerd to life who […]