REVIEW: Broadcast Signal Intrusion [2021]

I fixed them all. It’s been almost three years since James’ (Harry Shum Jr.) wife disappeared and he’s yet to wrap his head around the void left behind. He works a video archivist job for a local Chicago television channel, transferring old tapes to DVD while generally falling asleep in the process, and fixes cameras on the side for less money than he probably should be asking. His only real human contact (he and his boss communicate via post-it notes at the recording dock) comes from the support group for…

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REVIEW: Halloween Kills [2021]

None of us are innocent. Ah, the dreaded middle chapter of a trilogy. Can I call Halloween Kills that? Yes. I’m going to regardless of it technically being the third of four since the first is more a prequel to its triptych than a legitimate opening to a quartet. This is especially true considering David Gordon Green‘s latest installment in the franchise cannot exist on its own whereas John Carpenter‘s original Halloween can. It even proves how its predecessor, 2018’s Halloween, can’t stand alone either. This last truth might be…

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REVIEW: Halloween [2018]

Say goodbye to Michael and get over it. If it worked for Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, why shouldn’t it work for Halloween in 2018? Give the original film’s victim of an unexplainable evil the time to prepare to take it down on her own since nobody else is willing to believe her. And since Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) predator didn’t die (1978’s Halloween cliffhanger is dismissed with a couple lines of dialogue pretty much saying Michael Myers was caught and subdued shortly after), she doesn’t have to…

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REVIEW: Halloween [1978]

This isn’t a man. I wish I could go back in time and watch Halloween upon its release because I can’t help being underwhelmed by it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. On the contrary. John Carpenter‘s horror opus is a very effective thriller that earns its place as an inspirational slasher icon. Its score is unparalleled (and honestly a huge part of the film’s appeal whether fans are cognizant of its impact or not); its use of a lumbering, emotionless boogeyman inspired; and its portrayal of teens grounded despite sex-crazed…

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REVIEW: Arrebato [Rapture] [1979]

Suspended in pure pause. It’s not until heroin is mentioned that Ana Turner (Cecilia Roth) stops and reconsiders the offer to partake by boyfriend José Sirgado (Eusebio Poncela). She’s game for acid and coke, but that stuff causes addiction. It ruins lives. “Not if you don’t take too much,” he says—a line he recently heard from an acquaintance named Pedro (Will More). This guy is a basket case recluse who can barely muster two words while looking creepy in the corner of the room, staring daggers through the back of…

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REVIEW: The Addams Family 2 [2021]

Up and Addams. When Grandma Addams (Bette Midler) says, “Time to make some money” upon waving goodbye to the family as they embark on a cross-country bonding vacation (despite the song lyric proclaiming they are “going global,” that doesn’t happen until the end credits), I laughed because it seemed like a thinly veiled joke on sequels to already rebooted IP generally being made to do exactly that. What I didn’t expect, however, was for there to be an actual advertisement about halfway through courtesy of a Progressive billboard. It’s not…

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REVIEW: The Addams Family [2019]

The day is becoming most wonderfully disruptive. What exactly the “old country” is in context with the latest iteration of Charles Addams‘ beloved The Addams Family is unknown. Are we to infer Transylvania? Maybe. Does the film itself pretty much just show Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) driving until they hit a straight-jacketed inmate (Lurch) escaped from an abandoned asylum up on a hill? Yes. Does a patient escaping a building with no occupants seem strange? Sure, but that’s kind of par for the course. Asking questions about…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Zalava [2021]

Below the waist. The inhabitants of Zalava were never meant to stay in one place. Their ancestors were nomads and now they’ve become farmers. So where then did the demons come from? Were they always here waiting for settlers? Did their relatives bring the evil with them? Or has the restlessness in their bones from staying in one place for so long simply made them stir crazy to the point of needing those spirits to provide context for their anxieties? They admit to the sergeant (Navid Pourfaraj‘s Massoud) from the…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Saloum [2021]

You’ll be sick to death of us by the end. The infamous “Hyenas”—three mercenaries running amok throughout Africa—are caught in the air with gold bars, the drug lord (Renaud Farah‘s Felix) they’ve been hired to extract, and a failed fuel tank leaving them with bad and worse options for an emergency landing. The Guinea-Bissau authorities won’t let them leave without a fight on the ground and they’ve surely alerted their Senegalese counterparts already, but Chaka (Yann Gael) knows of a secret beach from his past where they might be able…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Medusa [2021]

What did she do to you? Writer/director Anita Rocha da Silveira has created an evangelical town of purity in her Brazilian-set sophomore film Medusa. It’s the type of place all Christians wish they could send their children because they know they will be carried into God’s light. The young men form a militia group to honor His will against deviants that dare to embrace sin. The young women form a gang in the likeness of their heroine angel, donning white masks to confront and assault the so-called “sluts” and “whores”…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Mlungu Wam [Good Madam] [2021]

It seems this house doesn’t like Mama. A matriarch passes and the family swarms to poach whatever they can in the aftermath. Tsidi (Chumisa Cosa) tells herself it won’t matter—she’s been the one taking care of her grandmother and thus has a claim over that which she has called her home for years, but “fair” doesn’t factor in where tradition is concerned. Her uncle (as the eldest) allows Tsidi’s cousins to put her in her place as new construction plans made while the recently departed was still alive become colored…

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