REVIEW: 7:35 de la mañana [7:35 in the Morning] [2004]

“Always in a hurry; always at the same time” An Oscar nominee for Best Live Action Short with his debut work, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has gone on to make a couple features with festival appeal in the almost decade since. But there is something peculiar, unique, and a bit demented about 7:35 de la mañana […]

REVIEW: Chico & Rita [2011]

“I needed to kiss you again” Set during the synthesis of Latin Jazz in Cuba and its spilling over to the United States, Chico y Rita [Chico & Rita] gives us a love story that lasts half a century. Animated in a charmingly two-dimensional way devoid of gradients in lieu of clearly defined shadows superimposed […]

REVIEW: La piel que habito [The Skin I Live In] [2011]

“I breathe. I know I breathe” The largest organ of the human body, skin is our last defense against the outside world. Holding our internal muscles and veins within its vulnerable shell, it is also one of the traits that defines our unique appearance. Trapped by an external façade of varying attractiveness, the way we […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Miss Bala [2011]

“Have some faith in me, Dad” If you ever have a daughter that begs you for entrance into a beauty pageant and you can’t bring yourself to comply, pop on Miss Bala and she’ll never ask again. Taking place in Mexico amidst an unwinnable war on drugs, Gerardo Naranjo’s film portrays a never-ending series of […]

TIFF11 REVIEW: El gato desaparece [The Cat Vanishes] [2011]

“I’ve ceased to exist” A psychotic break has fractured Luis (Luis Luque) and Beatriz’s (Beatriz Spelzini) marriage in El gato desaparece [The Cat Vanishes], playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. Proud parents of two, successful in life as a professor and translator respectively, and completely in love, they still prove ill equipped to handle […]

REVIEW: Biutiful [2010]

“Still are your lashes, and so is your heart” It may be the first feature that Alejandro González Iñárritu directed without longtime writing partner Guillermo Arriaga, it may be the film that proves he was the driving force behind his loose trilogy of masterpieces spanning multiple languages and locales, but Biutiful also shows that his […]

REVIEW: Carlos [2010]

“Sudden bloody terror” Kudos to Dan Franck and Olivier Assayas—who also directed—for doing the research and having the skill necessary to pull off an epic such as Carlos. Originally created as a three-part, five and a half hour miniseries for Canal Plus in Europe, the work became a sensation, debuting at Cannes and eventually being […]

360|365FF10 REVIEW: Celda 211 [Cell 211] [2009]

“I’ll see what I can do” Now this is the film I thought Un prophète would be. Despite all the hype surrounding that French prison drama—it was great—it never reached the pedestal of perfection for me. Yet here is the Goya sweeping Celda 211 [Cell 211]—not even given the country’s selection for inclusion on the […]

REVIEW: Sin Nombre [2009]

“‘The Magician’ wants to see you” Not by the hand of God, but by that of the devil. No truer words could be spoken when concerning young Sayra’s journey from Honduras to America in the film Sin Nombre. Here is a movie that lives up to the hype and more, intertwining her tale of finding […]

REVIEW: Los abrazos rotos [Broken Embraces] [2009]

“Living one life was not enough” There was only one thing on TV growing up that I thought was even more amateurish and unprofessional then soap operas and it was the Spanish variety. These actors played the parts so over-the-top that I had to wonder if it was all done intentionally. No way were these […]

REVIEW: [Rec] [2007]

“Don’t you see my face is shiny?” Here we have another example why people can’t stand Hollywood. 2007 saw the release of the Spanish horror/thriller [Rec], and instead of its great success bringing it overseas for a theatrical release, America decides to create its own water-downed version called Quarantine. These Spaniards have a knack for […]