• REVIEW: The Nightingale [2019]

    “You’re my life” After giving grief and survivor’s guilt physical form by way of a violent monster known as The Babadook, writer/director Jennifer Kent turns her sights on trauma and the ways our bodies, minds, and souls react to unimaginable and unprovoked pain endured at the hands of mankind’s superiority complexes born from delusions of […]

  • REVIEW: Luce [2019]

    “I can’t be perfect” So much of who we are and what we become relies on perception. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, language, culture, education, and socio-economic standing all play a role because we’re perceived by those like us and those not. We therefore exist in a tenuous bubble of expectations wherein normalcy is a razor-thin […]

  • 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 […]

  • REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

    “She’ll be okay” It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: The White Crow [2019]

“I shall fight fear” While I don’t know anything about ballet, I am familiar with Soviet defection. Being a Buffalonian whose hometown hockey favorite as a kid was Alexander Mogilny means I must. It helps then that director Ralph Fiennes and screenwriter David Hare (inspired by Julie Kavanagh‘s book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life) start their […]

REVIEW: Hail Satan? [2019]

“Very quickly everything got real” There’s subjectively no greater terrorist threat to America than Evangelical Christians. At their side is Catholicism: itself an extremist branch of Christianity shouldering centuries of blood and abuse on its hands spanning genocide, murder, rape, and child abuse. It’s these Christian zealots who yell that Muslims are bringing Sharia Law […]

REVIEW: Domino [2019]

“Nothing works like vengeance” Director Brian De Palma made a wise decision distancing himself from the long-awaited release of Domino. Not only was it a troubled production he admits was ruled by unprofessional Danish producers that didn’t pay people on time (if ever), but he also didn’t write the script (that credit goes to Petter […]

REVIEW: The Biggest Little Farm [2019]

“Diversify, diversify, diversify” If I learned anything from John Chester‘s The Biggest Little Farm, it’s that you can do anything you choose to do. You can use your privilege to tell your city friends the crazy idea of wanting to buy a huge farm and make it self-sustainable, accept their ridicule, and eventually reap the […]

REVIEW: Fuga [Fugue] [2018]

“Prison would be better” Stories dealing with amnesia generally gravitate towards a heartwarming conclusion wherein a character regains his/her bearings to live happily ever after within the life they lost. This reality is due to the fact that the afflicted is often found soon after the incident that’s left them unfamiliar with their former self. […]

REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw [2019]

“All art is dangerous” The underlying idea of Dan Gilroy‘s art world horror Velvet Buzzsaw is an intriguing one because it forces us to realize how extensive the profiteering branch patterns of one single canvased tree of paint are. There’s the artist seeking notoriety, the gallery owner providing it, the consumers catching a glimpse at […]

REVIEW: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu [2019]

“I can feel it in my jellies” It’s almost shocking that nobody made a live-action Pokémon movie considering the card game’s heyday was back in the 1990s while the anime and video games still ruled kids’ televisions. That’s not to say the property ever disappeared. Nintendo couldn’t have turned “Pokémon GO” into an international smartphone […]

REVIEW: The Spanish Prisoner [1998]

“Dog my cats” Anyone who’s on social media has seen the “name” memes where your “whatever name” is formed by that of the first pet you owned and your grandmother’s maiden name—or some riff on this pattern. Everyone does it because it’s fun and they’ve been trained like sheep to participate in such activities so […]

REVIEW: Her Smell [2019]

“I see the void of eternity” The public loves a good train wreck when it comes to rockstars. That notion of burning your candle on both ends to create music that lasts forever at the expense of a life snuffed out too soon carries the sort of romanticism you must give pause to in hindsight, […]

REVIEW: High Flying Bird [2019]

“I love the Lord and all his Black people” A film like Steven Soderbergh‘s High Flying Bird is exactly what the Netflix model makes possible. You could even say the whole thing is a metaphor for the streaming service’s desire for a seat at the cinematic table. They’re a disruptor proving that what they offer […]

REVIEW: Red Joan [2019]

“That’s a peculiar way of putting it” The government agents within Trevor Nunn‘s Red Joan arrest Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) under suspicion of treason and enthusiastically ask who politicized her because to them only an outsider could have brainwashed someone to act against his/her country on behalf of a foreign enemy. It’s an understandably emotional […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Ask Dr. Ruth [2019]

“My parents actually gave me life twice” A couple mentions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as “Grandma Freud” are seen and heard throughout Ryan White‘s documentary

REVIEW: High Life [2019]

“What do you know about cruelty?” Redemption can be an illusion to so many people. They try so hard to make up for past misdeeds that they often fall prey to even more along the way. That’s what happens when you give your quest a tangible goal—achieving it becomes paramount, the process a means to […]

REVIEW: Wild Nights with Emily [2019]

“Sue, forevermore” As evidenced by her poetry and letters, the reclusive spinster Emily Dickinson proves anything but. Through them we learn of her struggles to get published, the rejections endured, and a love shared with her sister-in-law Susan. Why then was the former thought process how we were told to consider her life? Because those […]