• mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]




    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

  • observance01

    FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]




    “Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

  • oliviernakache-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba




    Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

  • debragranik-straydoginterview01

    INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog




    If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]

  • jalmarihelander-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game




    After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]



film reviews

bridgend01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Bridgend [2015]




“There’s a new girl in town” When 79 people between 2007 and 2012 commit suicide—many teens and most without a note—within a single town, there’s definitely a story to tell. Welcome to Bridgend, South Wales. No evidence has yet been found to link them together and some parents blame the media for reporting the tragedies […]

possessed01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Pos eso [Possessed] [2014]




“What he did left his teacher speechless” I didn’t know I wanted a horror parody in the style of “Celebrity Deathmatch” until about halfway through Samuel Ortí Martí‘s [Sam] pitch black skewering of the genre Pos eso [Possessed]. His and Rubén Ontiveros‘ script is littered with homage to The Day the Earth Stood Still in […]

bikesvscars01

REVIEW: Bikes vs Cars [2015]




“In heaven everyone rides a bicycle” The amount of gasoline-powered automobiles on Earth is growing at an exponential rate and everyone needs to look at what this realization is doing to humanity. I’m not even talking about global warming, pollution, depletion of natural resources, or any of those highly-politicized issues where proponents and detractors wield […]

roguenation01

REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation [2015]




“Face your fate” It’s amazing what a few years can do for a celebrity’s image. From couch-jumping in love to rumors of getting written out of the fourth Mission: Impossible installment despite building the franchise to being the bell of the Hollywood Ball scaling the Burj Khalifa and now hanging from an Airbus A400M Atlas […]

vacation2015a

REVIEW: Vacation [2015]




“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play […]

vacation01

REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Vacation [1983]




“Nothing worthwhile is easy. You know that.” You can’t blame the magazine for thinking movie-making was going to be easy after the success of National Lampoon’s Animal House. But does anyone really remember its two follow-ups National Lampoon’s Movie Madness and National Lampoon’s Class Reunion? I didn’t think so. Something about the latter must have […]

gamechangers01

REVIEW: Game Changers [2015]




“That’s not how you use that card” Can a film about twenty-eight year olds be considered a coming-of-age story? I guess when the two men in question were professional gamers throughout their teens it can because that’s exactly what Robert Imbs‘ Game Changers is. And if we really thought about it, that age is a […]

crumbs01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Crumbs [2015]




“People say the spaceship has been rusting in the sky since the beginning of the war” Spanish writer/director Miguel Llansó‘s independent film company Lanzadera Films explains its mission as a firm that focuses on “undiscovered countries, experimental, weird, hallucinatory, poetic fiction and documentary films”. I’d say his feature debut Crumbs is the epitome of exactly […]

avaspossessions01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ava’s Possessions [2015]




“Did anyone call in sick for me?” When the industry is inundated with supernatural horror redundancies like it has for the past two decades, work like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg‘s Shaun of the Dead or Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring are necessary to kept things from going stale. A point when audiences simply […]

mommy01

REVIEW: Mommy [2014]




“A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

southpaw01

REVIEW: Southpaw [2015]




“This is the talk you get when you lose not when you win” The origins of Southpaw are interesting because it was born from screenwriter Kurt Sutter‘s want to collaborate with Eminem. Now try to picture Marshall Mathers after peering upon any of the bloodied and crazed publicity stills of his replacement Jake Gyllenhaal without […]

arti01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] [2015]




“Where the heart is lies eternity” You can’t watch 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] without finding yourself in awe of the amazing puppet work on display. While told it was only “enhanced” by CGI, it looks as though a lot more was computer-generated than such a verb would infer. For one the smoothness […]

observance01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]




“Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

crimsonwhale01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] [2014]




“It is an offense to feed the apes” A product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Advanced Program, writer/director Park Hye-mi‘s Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] is a fascinating little sci-fi adventure. The hand-drawn character design is cutesy with young faces and oversized clothing dwarfing stature, but the 2070 Busan in which they reside is brutally […]

ludo01

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ludo [2015]




“Do you want to talk or play?” Called the national game of India by some, Pacisi has evolved throughout the centuries into multiple iterations. One of the most popular versions patented in England around 1896 is Ludo. Pretty much two to four players have four tokens each that they must race around the board in […]