TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Nachtmahr [2016]

“What do you want from me?” In great Lost Highway-era David Lynch fashion, visual artist turned filmmaker Akiz‘s Der Nachtmahr switches from linear reality to seamlessly disorienting crosscuts between life and dream. It occurs when soon-to-be eighteen year old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) passes out drunk while peeing in the woods outside a secret rave full […]

REVIEW: Sleeping with Other People [2015]

“Mousetrap” It has to overcome a pretty shaky start—mostly due to leads Jason Sudeikis (Jake) and Alison Brie (Lainey) playing Columbia undergrads—but Leslye Headlands‘ comedy Sleeping with Other People does prevail as quite the breath of fresh rom/com air. The plot isn’t groundbreaking, reconnecting two people twelve or so years after losing their virginity together […]

REVIEW: Total Performance [2015]

“You’re never going to see me again” The premise behind Sean Meehan‘s latest short is fascinating with its titular business Total Performance providing a service that supplies actors who spar with customers seeking a dress rehearsal for whatever difficult conversation they’ve yet to work themselves up to starting. We meet a distraught husband in need […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Peur de rien [Parisienne] [2016]

“For now everything is ugly” Many deflect from it, but a writer/director’s intent can change the viewer’s outlook on his/her film. Danielle Arbid‘s fictional coming-of-age drama about a college-aged immigrant from Lebanon to France (Manal Issa‘s Lina) is one containing many new acquaintances able to help her find the freedom she covets but never found […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]

“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]

REVIEW: অপরাজিত [Aparajito] [The Unvanquished] [1956]

“He will come if he wants to” After the huge success of Pather Panchali, it would have been strange for Satyajit Ray not to continue Apu’s saga into Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘s second novel অপরাজিত [Aparajito] [The Unvanquished]. The only reason I could see him stopping was the fact that the boy’s coming-of-age contains as much tragedy […]

REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

“You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Maman(s) [2015]

“I’m drowning in it now” Young Aida (Sokhna Diallo) is forced to process a lot on the day her father (Eriq Ebouaney‘s Alioune) returns to Paris from Senegal after two months away. First is the joyous laughter of mom (Maïmouna Gueye‘s Mariam) and her friends burning an herbal aphrodisiac up her dress. Next is the […]

REVIEW: The Visit [2015]

“Swerve” It’s no secret that M. Night Shyamalan needed a winner after a string of box office and commercial failures. Firmly in the minority saying The Village and Lady in the Water are his two best—the former is one of my all-time favorites—my idea of his failings doesn’t necessarily coincide with the movie-going public, but […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Viaduc [Overpass] [2015]

“Your brother’s plane arrives at 5 PM” Writer/director Patrice Laliberté‘s short film Viaduc [Overpass] relies heavily on our suppositions as the viewer. And it does so to perfection. To us Mathieu (Téo Vachon Sincennes) has done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt. Not only do we meet him sneaking out to illegally spray […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Desierto [2016]

“Welcome to the land of the free” A tense thriller of survival set against a desolate landscape of quiet austerity until the deafening sound of our heroes’ pursuer returns after a brief respite allowing these strangers the time to emotively talk about their lives—no, it’s not Gravity. Filmmaker Jonás Cuarón certainly has a type, though, […]