TIFF19 REVIEW: Blackbird [2020]

“To wonderful life” It’s not everyday that an international remake retains the same screenwriter, but that’s the case with Christian Torpe and his script for the Danish film Silent Heart moving to director Roger Michell‘s hands as Blackbird. I haven’t seen the original, but the subject’s universality has me thinking very little besides cultural changes […]

REVIEW: Hell and Back [2015]

“If you’re a priest or a nun, that’s funny. You wasted your life.” You may have noticed posters for the R-rated, stop-motion animated comedy Hell and Back throughout the summer and fall seasons in anticipation of its October release only to find it didn’t come to a theater near you. It was released and took […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: About Ray [2015]

“I’m proud of you” I hate to be the guy to judge a book by its cover, but I admittedly did just that with Gaby Dellal‘s About Ray. It depicts the “unconventional” family of three generations with Susan Sarandon‘s Dodo, Naomi Watts as her daughter Maggie, and Elle Fanning‘s transitioning grandson/son respectfully named Ray (formerly […]

REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote […]

REVIEW: Snitch [2013]

“You just have to trust me” Watching the trailer for Ric Roman Waugh‘s Snitch had me believing the film would be a high-octane actioner in the vein of Dwayne Johnson‘s other one-word titled thriller Faster. Between the depiction of The Rock’s John Matthews going undercover with the DEA to bring down a narcotics kingpin and […]

REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2012]

“The Porsche is normal size. You’re a Sasquatch.” It’s good to see Mark Duplass hasn’t stopped making small-scale, heartfelt indies with his brother Jay despite success on the acting front with the likes of “The League” and Safety Not Guaranteed. While I’m not sure you could still call them mumblecore with increasingly prominent casts—although their […]

TIFF12 REVIEW: Cloud Atlas [2012]

“Our lives are not our own” In grand fashion comes an epic about freedom and the wrongs of humanity forever marring how we’re seen through the annals of time. Every misstep is repeated; every stand against oppression spawned from the voice of one strong enough to understand equality’s worth over the cowardice of blindly hiding […]

TIFF12 REVIEW: The Company You Keep [2013]

“We made mistakes, but we were right” In Robert Redford and Lem Dobbs‘ adaptation of Neil Gordon‘s novel The Company You Keep, the personal futures fought for by the militant Weather Underground during the Vietnam War risk being destroyed as the last surviving members of a Bank of Michigan robbery find their past catching up […]

REVIEW: Solitary Man [2010]

“Out there is nothing but possibilities” Have films embraced the ambiguous ‘does he or doesn’t he’ ending too often recently? I feel bad beginning with that question since I did actually like Solitary Man very much, but liking the whole doesn’t discount the fact that a contrived ‘conversational’ fade to black has gone from bold […]

REVIEW: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps [2010]

“Growing old’s not for sissies, kid” Stupid subtitle aside, dare I say Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps surpasses its predecessor pretty much across the board cinematically? Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff have woven together an intricate plot of dueling con jobs amidst a young romance between idealists in a capitalist world where greed is a […]

REVIEW: The Lovely Bones [2009]

“I never knew what dead meant” I’ll be upfront—I cannot be objective in reviewing Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones. It’s impossible because I read the story a couple weeks ago to prepare myself for the film. With complete candor, I didn’t love the novel; I thought the first three-quarters were […]