• overnighters01

    REVIEW: The Overnighters [2014]

    “Just because you tough enough” The easiest thing I could say about The Overnighters is that director Jesse Moss got lucky. He looked to tell the story about a pastor doing God’s will against his congregation’s trepidation to house over a thousand strangers arrived in Williston, ND seeking employment within the area’s oil boom. Through […]

  • johnridley-interview01

    INTERVIEW: John Ridley, writer/director of Jimi: All Is By My Side

    After all the talk from last year’s TIFF centered around the eventually Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, you can’t blame yourself for forgetting its Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley brought another film he both wrote and directed. Jimi: All Is By My Side flew under the radar and was mired by a media blitz […]

  • calvary01

    REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

    “I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves […]

  • spring01

    TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [??]

    “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 […]

  • samba01

    TIFF14 REVIEW: Samba [2014]

    “Red paper. Then … no more.” Every movie should have a score by Ludovico Einaudi and it’s comforting to see Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano agree. After using his haunting music on the brilliant Intouchables, the duo take a few tracks from his album In a Time Lapse to enhance their latest work Samba. Another […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Tusen ganger god natt [1,000 Times Good Night] [2013]

“I’ve been waiting for that call since I met you” Being an embedded photojournalist is a concept I cannot quite wrap my head around. To willingly go into a war zone and risk your life to get a shot, not for plaudits, but to educate the world about atrocities we’d rather turn a blind eye […]

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REVIEW: Berenice [2014]

“I wanted it to hurt” One chapter from the horror anthology Creepers, Jeremiah Kipp‘s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe‘s disturbing short story Berenice finds itself hindered by what I can only guess was a shoestring budget. A director who has excelled at creating stunning pitch-black tone with ambiguously delicious mystery in carefully composed thrillers, this […]

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REVIEW: The Minions [2014]

“I shouldn’t have went there” Director Jeremiah Kipp once again amps up the mood with his latest short The Minions to follow his similarly aesthetically-constructed The Days God Slept. From the camera angles catching his actors’ expressions in a way that cultivates mystery, the score pulsing along with the imagery as though everything is set […]

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REVIEW: The Living [2014]

“All we got in life are choices” An interesting choice was made on Jack Bryan‘s film The Living—one that occurred before the camera rolled. If you’re familiar with Fran Kranz‘s emotionally fractured science nerd Topher from “Dollhouse” and Kenny Wormald‘s coolly confident Ren from the Footloose remake, you’d probably have a pretty good idea of […]

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REVIEW: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [2004]

“Esteban was eaten!” It’s ambitious, hilarious, visually complex, and kind of … boring. I hoped that last adjective was merely the distant memory of a twenty-two year old expecting more out of Wes Anderson‘s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou when first released in theaters due to his infinite love for The Royal Tenenbaums two […]

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REVIEW: The Good Lie [2014]

“I’m thinking about that chicken” It isn’t easy to write a film around a tragic hot-button issue such as the “Lost Boys of Sudan” without coming across as either exploitative or manipulative. Making the result human is an even loftier goal. I won’t say screenwriter Margaret Nagle and director Philippe Falardeau were flawless in their […]

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REVIEW: St. Vincent [2014]

“It is what it is” The Toronto International Film Festival appears to be embracing the quasi-family friendly odd couple comedy with R-rated color after last year’s Bad Words and this year’s St. Vincent, written and directed by Theodore Melfi and currently receiving theatrical release a month after its debut. Whereas the former went all-in with […]

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REVIEW: The Royal Tenenbaums [2001]

“How interesting. How bizarre!” Nothing Wes Anderson does will ever match the brilliance of his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums. A lot of this has to do with when I first saw it back in the winter of 2002, but I say it objectively too. I was still in college, still in the midst of […]

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REVIEW: The Equalizer [2014]

“Change your world” It may be because I knew beforehand that Antoine Fuqua‘s The Equalizer was based on an old 80s TV show (from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim), but it felt very episodic in a way that made it utterly boring. There’s that time Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) helps his coworker lose weight. That […]

overnighters01

REVIEW: The Overnighters [2014]

“Just because you tough enough” The easiest thing I could say about The Overnighters is that director Jesse Moss got lucky. He looked to tell the story about a pastor doing God’s will against his congregation’s trepidation to house over a thousand strangers arrived in Williston, ND seeking employment within the area’s oil boom. Through […]

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REVIEW: Gone Girl [2014]

“Everything else is background noise” Director David Fincher‘s Gone Girl falls prey to the one thing that often prevents me from truly loving a cinematic adaptation of a novel—unquestionable faithfulness. Gillian Flynn does a wonderful job distilling her pulpy thriller into a fast-paced 149 minutes and Fincher stays true to the back and forth vantage […]

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REVIEW: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day [2014]

“His pox is your gain” I’m a little disappointed I never read Judith Viorst‘s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day because it seems exactly the type of book I would have read as a child. If you’ve had the pleasure (it was published in 1972) and wonder how a feature length […]

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REVIEW: In Da Street [2014]

“We’re two cops in the hood, man” For a crowdfunded French short shot in two days on only a $1,500 budget, In Da Street looks fantastic. This shouldn’t be surprising coming from writer/director Damien Kazan—a filmmaker whose last work Whisper was nothing if not an attractive visual poem. Building on that film’s stylistic construction, this […]

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REVIEW: The Zero Theorem [2014]

“Making sense of the good things in life” If the end were empty—as was the beginning—wouldn’t life be meaning in itself? Why do we constantly ask the question and seek its answer if so many believe our present existence is merely a stepping-stone towards eternity? If that’s truly the case one could label life as […]

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REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child […]