REVIEW: Werk ohne Autor [Never Look Away] [2018]

Everything that’s true is beautiful. The thing that people who didn’t attend art school or don’t have a foundation in art history never understand is the reasoning behind postmodern art. They find it funny to reductively joke about how their three-year old child could net them a million dollars by scribbling on a canvas because they refuse to look beneath the surface and let the image speak as emotion through abstract form rather than some ingrained sense of realism. These artists had the skill to paint portraits but chose to…

Read More

REVIEW: The Danish Girl [2015]

“It’s what I dream. They’re Lili’s dreams.” It’s difficult to fathom what Lili Elbe went through in the 1920s—and not just living as a transgender woman at a time where there was no name for it, but also to undergo surgeries as advanced as sex reassignment a century ago. You’d like to believe her life would have been easier one hundred years later yet if Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl is any indication it would have been pretty much the same. The virtually insurmountable struggles of bigots and homophobic doctors…

Read More

REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]

“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding himself in the position to do something historically extraordinary to save those who aren’t. “Unlikely hero” because who would peg an insurance lawyer—reveling in smooth talk about his firm’s willingness to cover one collision despite…

Read More

TIFF13 REVIEW: Oktober November [October November] [2014]

“Would you have believed it?” The image of a drowning fish—gasping and jumping atop a rock too far from salvation—is what has stuck with me most after watching writer/director Götz Spielmann’s new dramatic study of two sisters worlds apart in life and the dying father binding them together. Each character is like that fish, struggling to stay relevant within disparate identities none can truly admit are bringing happiness. They seek solace in that which they cannot have, going through the motions of existences teetering towards futility. The sisters’ transgressions begin…

Read More

REVIEW: A Good Day to Die Hard [2013]

“I don’t want my life back” While A Good Day to Die Hard may never truly feel like a Die Hard flick, it isn’t for a lack of entertainment. Fans love the idea of John McClane (Bruce Willis) going above and beyond his duties as a policeman to the point of reckless endangerment, destruction of property, and quite possibly clinical insanity because it leads to high octane action and underdog heroics. So used to the formulaic dealings with foreign terrorists on American soil, however, screenwriter Skip Woods decides to throw…

Read More

REVIEW: Unknown [2011]

“And that’s where I first saw Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man” I have it on good authority from a friend that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown, as well as Didier van Cauwelaert’s French-language novel it’s based on, is uncannily similar to Roman Polanski’s Frantic. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I have no opinion on the accusation, having not seen the 1988 film, but I’d lie if I didn’t admit my view of the new release is a bit tainted now. The premise of both are definitely eerily similar and my friend knows what he’s talking…

Read More

REVIEW: Das Leben der Anderen [The Lives of Others] [2006]

“The 40th Anniversary Play” Many people were startled by the fact that Pan’s Labyrinth lost the Best Foreign Film Oscar to its fellow nominee Das Leben der Anderen [The Lives of Others]. Granted, many hadn’t seen the German film yet, however, I think the push that the Spanish fantasy had, while also taking a few technical Oscars in the process, surprised a lot of people. The shock led to numerous movie folk on the internet describing the voting process for that award, how a select group, not the entire Academy,…

Read More