REVIEW: Darkest Hour [2017]

“It’s not a gift. It’s revenge.” Did you know Winston Churchill was given the Prime Minister position during World War II as a means to appease the opposition party before quickly removing him (once he failed like he always did) for the Conservatives’ actual choice to replace Neville Chamberlain? It’s quite the bit of intrigue […]

REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [2016]

“Rebellions are built on hope” George Lucas used to say years ago that the original Star Wars trilogy was but three chapters of an epic nine-part saga. It dealt with the Skywalker family, beginning in the middle to introduce a passing of the “Force” from father to son. Lucas would eventually make the first three […]

REVIEW: Mississippi Grind [2015]

“It’s Machu Picchu time” Filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s latest Mississippi Grind is an interesting creature. It has no ulterior motives whatsoever and that’s a unique attribute for a movie about gambling. You can’t watch loudmouth storyteller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) happen upon the same poker table as down on his luck sad sack […]

REVIEW: Lost River [2015]

“Here in my deep purple dream” You cannot watch Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River without recalling the divisive surrealism of Only God Forgives. He’s the first to admit how much of an influence Nicolas Winding Refn was, pitting the Dane’s heightened realities against the emotive authenticity of another favorite collaborator in Derek Cianfrance. Gosling […]

REVIEW: Starred Up [2014]

“Single cell. High risk.” The hype on Jack O’Connell is real. And I’m only basing that sentiment on one film. Something tells me, though, that Unbroken in a couple weeks and ’71 next year will succeed at corroborating the notion because his turn in David Mackenzie‘s Starred Up is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable like few […]

REVIEW: Killing Them Softly [2012]

“America’s not a country. It’s just a business.” Now I know why writer/director Andrew Dominik changed his film’s name to Killing Me Softly. It’s not because star Brad Pitt uses the phrase to describe his preferred method of murder; that just supplied the words. I’d like to believe he did so because he knew how […]

TIFF12 REVIEW: The Place Beyond the Pines [2013]

“Your skill set? Very unique.” Retaining the gritty authenticity of his lyrically heartbreaking Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance‘s new insanely ambitious look into the nature versus nurture equation feels much smaller than its reality. It would be easy to say The Place Beyond the Pines gives us too much to process in too contrived a way, […]

REVIEW: Animal Kingdom [2010]

“Crooks always come undone” The new, critically acclaimed Australian film Animal Kingdom debuted earlier this year at Sundance to rave reviews before it even opened in its native country. Finally, eight months later, the rest of North America is able to check out this brutal crime drama for themselves in select cities too. And they […]