REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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REVIEW: Knight of Cups [2016]

“You’re still the love of my life. Should I tell you that?” The evolution of Terrence Malick is a fascinating one. From regular narrative structure to voiceover-driven epics to visual poems, his style has been stripped down to beautiful imagery and pithily obtuse dialogue sending us on journeys as much about ourselves as they are about the characters onscreen. Many believed his last film To the Wonder was a sign of decline—hours of improvised footage cobbled together during post-production into something wholly different than how it began—but I still held…

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REVIEW: The Better Angels [2014]

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” It only takes one look at a tree canopy from below in gorgeous black and white photography to know writer/director A.J. Edwards is a student of Terrence Malick. He’s actually been the auteur’s editor since To the Wonder after holding positions as editorial intern and key artistic consultant on The New World and The Tree of Life respectively. It’s hardly surprising Edwards’ own style would therefore mimic Malick’s poetic visuals and penchant for voiceover subtly inferring…

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REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

“As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur traders pillaging Native American land, animals, and women. Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) leads a band of men under the authority of his employer to procure pelts and return to camp with Hugh Glass (Leonardo…

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REVIEW: Heritage [2015]

“Easy thing to bring someone into this wild world” Writer/director Damien Kazan is really honing his visual style these last couple of years with a string of gorgeous looking short films able to mesmerize with the sound off. Not that you should turn it off, his narration arrives with the type of resonating philosophizing we often need to hear in order to kick ourselves in the butt and move forward out of the depressive wastelands of our insecure minds. Scores by Jacob Cadmus don’t hurt either with their sweeping crescendos…

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REVIEW: The Color of Time [2014]

“I have things I want to do” I wonder if James Franco showed his NYU class Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life because it appears the twelve students he handpicked to write and direct what became the C.K. Williams biography The Color of Time saw it and sought to remake it. Instead of musings on the world with one boy/man serving as a metaphor for the whole of existence, however, they’ve centered their love for elegiac interludes of the mundane on a series of poems serving as a metaphor for…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Joe [2014]

“Tell me something. You like funny faces?” Welcome back David Gordon Green. While it’s easy for me to say such a statement because I know his pedigree on paper, truth be told I’ve only ever seen one film of his before he dove into Hollywood comedies. It was his last before that period of his oeuvre began—Snow Angels—and it was a glorious drama with top-notch performances and weighty drama. I won’t lie and say I didn’t love Pineapple Express because it is a great flick. Your Highness and The Sitter…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Canopy [2014]

“The sunshine of summer time belongs to us all” It’s September 9th, 1942 and the Japanese have already invaded Singapore three years before the first atomic bomb will shake them with devastating force and ultimately close out one of the ugliest chapters in Earth’s history. Through an alliance that has held strong even today—this film is a co-production between the two countries—Australia was one of the nations that came to the Southeast Asian island’s assistance in a futile attempt to wrest back control. A British colony at the time of…

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Posterized Propaganda April 2013: Sleight of Hand With ‘Trance’, ‘42,’ ‘Upstream Color’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. There aren’t many films coming out in April that scream “You have to see me on the big screen!” The ones that do, however, are high on my list of…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: To the Wonder [2013]

“In a dream you can’t make mistakes” For any who thought Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life was a divisive piece of cinema, you haven’t seen anything yet. Continuing to strip the very medium of film down to its barest essentials, form once again trumps narrative in his beautiful account of love through memory, To the Wonder. A glimpse into the joy, pain, sacrifice, and compromise of binding oneself to another body and soul, Malick shows us how complicated this concept of physical and emotional connection is. Told through the…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: 2012 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 “So a TV killed your father” What do you get when you mix the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the ancient metallurgical science of alchemy, and the namesake of inventor Philo Farnsworth? The answer is Connor Gaston‘s short film Bardo Light—titled for the bright glow none of us can avoid at the end of our lives. Told via the police interrogation of the younger Farnsworth (Shaan Rahman) after his adopted father (Bill Gaston) was found suffocated to death in their cabin, we quickly learn of successful experiments using…

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