• 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: Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

“You’re running out of tomorrows” Fact: Transformers: The Last Knight is its franchise’s most entertaining entry. While I definitely felt ready to nod off during my original trilogy refresher course this week—and actually shut my eyes a couple times during Age of Extinction—this latest installment had me wide-eyed and interested throughout its 149-minutes (the series’ […]

REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy […]

REVIEW: The Book of Henry [2017]

“I want to see the sky” There’s a lot of backlash against director Colin Trevorrow for reasons he didn’t necessarily earn. Most of the vitriol stems from his being scooped up by the Hollywood studio machine after helming just one indie film. That debut was the Sundance award-winning Safety Not Guaranteed, a small-scale sci-fi written […]

REVIEW: Cars 3 [2017]

“I call you my senior project” I know I’m in the critical minority when admitting my enjoyment of the Cars franchise, but I honestly do. It’s not even that I am a “car guy” either—I’ve never seen the appeal of them beyond their utility as a transportation vehicle. So my enjoyment of the first film […]

REVIEW: Lou [2017]

The latest Pixar short from longtime animator, first-time writer/director Dave Mullins is quite the deceiving little gem. LOU—a play on the missing letters from an aging school playground’s “Lost and fOUnd” box—starts out as an irreverent yarn wherein a baseball-eyed “creature” made up of discarded items with a hoodie for a body watches the children […]

REVIEW: Lucky [2017]

“You do something out of need and it becomes a habit along the way” It’s taken five years for Lucky (Bari Kang) to save the money and find the footing—no matter how much illegal activity both pursuits warranted—necessary to acquire a bride believable enough to fool INS and earn his green card. He has a […]

REVIEW: 47 Meters Down [2017]

“It’s like you’re going to the zoo only you’re in the cage” There’s this great moment towards the end of 47 Meters Down when a flare ignites to reveal a trio of sharks circling Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt). It’s a beautiful image in its horrific content: warm colors illuminating the cool dark […]

REVIEW: It Comes at Night [2017]

“Are you sick?” Distill any post-apocalyptic, sickness-infested world inhabited by survivors to its core and you receive an unfiltered glimpse at humanity’s desperation. Strip away the artifice and redundant plotlines, tear down labels in the vein of hero or leader or savior, and make sure “hope” becomes an archaic concept lost to distant memory even […]

REVIEW: I Called Him Morgan [2017]

“I’m making the biggest mistake of my life” The life of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was one of extreme highs and lows. He was a musician plucked towards superstardom at the age of eighteen by Dizzy Gillespie, eventually touring with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers while helping create the Blue Note label’s sound. But […]

REVIEW: Moscow Never Sleeps [2015]

“You can’t just pretend I never existed” Writer/director Johnny O’Reilly found himself in Russia during college and decided to stay despite Hollywood opportunities after releasing his debut narrative feature The Weather Station. He sought to film a personal story set in his adoptive home Moscow, one that would touch upon its myriad complexities. So he […]

REVIEW: Krisha [2016]

“Them cars are getting faster and them wings are getting weaker” While it may not be autobiographical in a plot sense, no one can watch Trey Edward Shults‘ debut Krisha without a full recognition of its honesty and authenticity as far as the emotional turmoil running through the writer/director’s mind. I say this more than […]

REVIEW: Jerichow [2009]

“You can’t love if you don’t have money” The titular town of Jerichow as shown onscreen by writer/director Christian Petzold is hardly one of paradise yet still very much of “home.” It’s where dishonorably discharged ex-Army man Thomas (Benno Fürmann) runs to without a word to his employer (in part due to stealing a few […]

REVIEW: The Mummy [2017]

“Death is a doorway and the past cannot be buried forever” A new cinematic universe is upon us—one I’m surprised took this long to materialize. The moniker is Dark Universe and it’s composed of all the classic Universal monsters from Dracula to Frankenstein to the Creature from the Black Lagoon as shepherded by producer Alex […]

REVIEW: Krisha [2014]

“I thought we got rid of her” The story behind Krisha is a fascinating one. Writer/director Trey Edward Shults was readying his feature debut when the acquisition of resources necessary to finish proved too difficult. So he took what he had already filmed and fashioned it into this short—one that ultimately won a Special Jury […]

REVIEW: Carnal Knowledge [1971]

“I’m being pressured into it” When Tony, Grammy, and Oscar winning director Mike Nichols says your play is better suited for the silver screen, you listen. That’s what screenwriter Jules Feiffer did after showing the legend (who’d eventually complete his EGOT with an Emmy in 2001) his latest work Carnal Knowledge. That doesn’t mean the […]