REVIEW: The Sunlit Night [2020]

Maybe it was never really that fragile. The usual rom-com formula is as follows: the lead breaks-up with their significant other, escapes to a far-flung place to pick up the pieces, and finds true love waiting. We’ve seen it countless times and always sigh when the fateful yet unlikely happily-ever-after proves itself to be another co-dependent Hollywood victory where romance trumps independence. So it’s hard to look past a film daring to travel beneath such fairy tale surfaces and get at the heart of what those types of escapes truly…

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REVIEW: Yes, God, Yes [2020]

I’ve never even heard of dressing someone’s salad. There’s no question that religion is a powerful tool insofar as its partnership with faith. While prayer is never going to literally save someone’s life, it can create the hope and positivity necessary to heal from emotional, psychological, and physical hardship. Our minds have a way of dictating how our bodies react to suffering and being part of a community that cares and empathizes with your plight as you do theirs cultivates a path forward both through healing and the acceptance of…

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REVIEW: Fisherman’s Friends [2019]

Mom, the tosser’s at the door. The moment a group of Cornish fishermen and lifeboatmen turned their charitable crooning on the shore of Port Isaac into a Universal Music record deal that saw them debut in the top ten was the moment producers started falling over themselves to sign the life rights for a cinematic adaptation. And just as the band subsequently released another two collections of sea shanties and traditional folk songs despite their original one-album contract, it appears that Chris Foggin‘s feel-good dramedy will soon receive its own…

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REVIEW: ウィーアーリトルゾンビーズ [Wî â Ritoru Zonbîzu] [We Are Little Zombies] [2019]

Reality is too stupid to cry over. Hikari (Keita Ninomiya) has always been a “single player.” That’s what happens when you’re raised in an affluent household by parents who substitute gifts for affection thanks to them never being around. Videogames became the boy’s only outlet. They gave him comfort when bullies at school put him in lockers and when he found himself microwaving yet another vacuum-sealed bag of spaghetti-for-one within his perpetually empty apartment. They’re also the medium by which he interprets reality’s framework for everything that happens to him…

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REVIEW: Family Romance, LLC [2020]

We can only do what we really are. Leave it to the Japanese to create an industry where you hire actors to fill-in for every occasion. The father of the bride can’t attend the wedding due to illness? Hire a performer to take his place so the absence isn’t noticeable (no sitcom antics a la headsets via “Arrested Development” or motorized computers via “The Big Bang Theory”). Unable to relive the excitement you felt upon winning the lottery? Pay someone to randomly surprise you as though you’ve won again to…

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REVIEW: First Cow [2020]

I believe different things in different places. It begins with two skeletons lying side by side in the dirt, their lives an untold story lost to the annals of time that can never be found regardless of whether their remains are. Why? Because they were nobodies in history’s eyes: loners and dreamers wishing to one day become more than nameless strangers to those they walked by on the way to town. And they may have become that and more if they hadn’t tragically been prevented from reaching their potential. Maybe…

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REVIEW: Relic [2020]

Don’t follow it. The horror trope is ubiquitous: “the call is coming from inside the house.” Whereas slashers use this now comical notion as a way to preempt the abrupt reveal that a solitary victim onscreen is about to be murdered by someone they didn’t know was standing right behind them, Relic director and co-writer Natalie Erika James (with Christian White) has a much scarier and tragically authentic way to utilize the trend. Because what is dementia but a disease that devours one’s sense of identity from the inside out?…

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REVIEW: The Beach House [2020]

Life is so fragile. There’s a lot to like about Jeffrey A. Brown‘s feature directorial debut The Beach House from its gorgeous production design to its ruminations on mankind’s fragility when compared with Mother Nature’s hardier offerings (despite our penchant for believing we hold dominion over Her). It’s therefore easy to appreciate the reason Emily (Liana Liberato), Randall (Noah Le Gros), Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryanne Nagel) have arrived at a site that may end up being their tomb because we’re quick to ignore the baked-in irony too. This…

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REVIEW: Blood Quantum [2020]

You don’t name things that eat you. A Red Crow reservation citizen in Jeff Barnaby‘s Blood Quantum asks the question of whether they as indigenous people are immune to a vicious zombie outbreak that’s taken over North America or have simply been forgotten by the Earth during its cleanse. It’s easy to understand such a defeatist attitude considering the world at-large has done the latter for centuries. Colonialists slaughtered, infected, and cordoned off natives from lands they sought and stole, continuing to isolate them even today onto their tiny swaths…

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REVIEW: My Spy [2020]

It’s a fine line between friendly and desperate. Like Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson before him, former wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista has found himself starring alongside a child in a family-friendly vehicle using the juxtaposition between adolescent innocence and muscle-clad heroics as a comedic right of passage towards potential (Hollywood Hogan left his short-lived cinematic career in the 90s) superstardom. Whereas Mr. Nanny, Last Action Hero, The Pacifier, and Tooth Fairy hit the big screen to varying box office success, however, Bautista’s bid to…

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REVIEW: La vérité [The Truth] [2019]

You can’t trust memory. Despite the title of her autobiography being La vérité [The Truth], it takes a while before Fabienne Dangeville (Catherine Deneuve) says what we know to actually be true. Her stories about being a loving mother in text are just that: stories. Despite being a screenwriter, not even Fabienne’s daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) could conjure an anecdote that bore any resemblance to such an idyllic façade if she tried. But while everything boils down to what the aging actress finally expresses during a defensive fit of anger,…

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