Top 100 Films of the Decade: 2010-2019

If you asked me in 2010 which studios’ films would be amongst my favorites over the next ten years, I probably would have answered two correctly: Fox Searchlight (11) and Sony Pictures Classics (7). Those are two independent shingles of big Hollywood names that have been pumping out quality pictures for decades. Next up would have been The Weinstein Company (5), Warner Bros. (4), Paramount (4), Universal (4), and Sony Pictures (3) because they were cinema. So why are they barely beating those other two combined? Because the game changed.…

Read More

INTERVIEW: Aaron Moorhead, director/cinematographer & Justin Benson director/writer of The Endless

As someone who loved Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson‘s Spring to the point of seeking out everything else they had done before that point, hearing about a new work debuting at Tribeca got me excited to see what they would deliver. My assumption was that it was the Aleister Crowley picture they spoke about when I interviewed them last year—I was wrong. While that discovery wasn’t surprising considering how long projects gestate, it was shocking to discover The Endless proved to be a sequel to their first feature collaboration Resolution.…

Read More

Top Ten Films of 2015: Where emotions run high

I have no problem saying 2015 was a great year for cinema. Putting together a Top Ten was difficult at every turn—both because each time I had to do so meant I had seen more films and as a result of my preferences constantly changing. There are more than a few from 11-20 that easily could be Top Ten candidates on a different day. Sadly for them that day isn’t today. Happily for us: the art’s level of quality was good enough to cause such problems. Rules: eligible feature-length films…

Read More

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ava’s Possessions [2016]

“Did anyone call in sick for me?” When the industry is inundated with supernatural horror redundancies like it has for the past two decades, work like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg‘s Shaun of the Dead or Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring are necessary to kept things from going stale. A point when audiences simply stop caring does exist. It’s apparently much farther out from the fad’s onset than you’d think America’s attention-deficiency would tolerate, but it will eventually arrive. Perhaps this extended longevity can be attributed to just such…

Read More

INTERVIEW: Aaron Moorhead, director/cinematographer & Justin Benson director/writer of Spring

Sometimes the festival experience has a way of making you overrate films. The excitement of seeing things early with like-minded individuals, listening to filmmakers talk before and after their screenings, and the general festival aura are hard to separate from the work itself. So I won’t lie and say I didn’t re-watch Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson‘s Spring—my favorite of TIFF 2014—with a little trepidation in case the memory proved grander than reality. 109-minutes later, however, I realized I might have actually underrated it. This supernatural, sci-fi, horror, romantic drama…

Read More

REVIEW: Resolution [2013]

“They said they were researching folktales” ***Possible Spoilers*** Films like Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Resolution can’t help but get under your skin and risk never letting go. Any issues you may have about production quality, plot holes, pacing, and performances fall away because of one genius detail planting the seeds of curiosity. Then, when you attempt to discover answers, inspiration, or whatever else might help shine a light on exactly what these filmmakers created, the rabbit hole opens wider to reveal an internet puzzle still intact today courtesy of…

Read More

REVIEW: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [2014]

“Are you a good boy or not?” The comparisons are so spot-on that I knew critics before me had made the same parallels before even looking. Ana Lily Amirpour‘s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is Jim Jarmusch cool with Quentin Tarantino swagger—an Iranian Vampire Western calling to mind Dead Man and Ghost Dog remixed through a Pulp Fiction lens. It’s a wonder no one had done it before with the way in which her titular creature of the night glides across Bad City in her pitch-black…

Read More

Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no thanks, and go the exact opposite way towards a world-renowned cinematic spectacle those same people are jealous about once I tell them I saw Kristen Wiig tell a joke. It was a funny one too…

Read More

TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [2015]

“I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in his and Justin Benson’s (who also wrote the screenplay) introduction as “life, love, and monsters”, its Italy-set journey of an American lost and alone proves equally suspenseful, grotesque, funny, and beautiful. The best part, however,…

Read More