REVIEW: Pear Cider and Cigarettes [2016]

“What was he fighting for anyways?” “He was born lucky and died unlucky.” These are the words Robert Valley uses to describe an old childhood friend named Techno Stypes, the subject of his twenty-five year autobiographical journey entitled Pear Cider and Cigarettes. From the youthful eyes of adulation, Techno was the fastest person alive and […]

REVIEW: Blind Vaysha [2016]

“In her eyes the present did not exist” I did a double take upon hearing Theodore Ushev‘s name alongside his animated short Blind Vaysha during the Oscar nominations because I’ve watched his work progress the past five years. This Canadian by way of Bulgaria is a Toronto International Film Festival staple, a guy who alters […]

REVIEW: Borrowed Time [2016]

“What do I do?” It’s been a dark year for animated films—dark with a subtle slice of hope for the future. My Life as a Zucchini leads the way on that front, but Borrowed Time is hardly an exception. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj‘s stylized computer-animated short focuses on an aged Sheriff yet to forgive […]

REVIEW: Pearl [2016]

“There’s no wrong way home” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the director of Pearl is also the man behind Oscar-winning Disney short Feast. Patrick Osborne for all intents and purposes has merely updated that previous look at a dog experiencing the tumultuousness of humanity around him to one capturing the bond between a […]

REVIEW: 4.1 Miles [2016]

“Did Dad get on the boat?” While Trump’s administration unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims from countries he doesn’t do business with, heroes are risking their lives to protect those who need protecting. One of these is Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a Greek Coast Guard captain from the island of Lebos who goes out into the choppy waters of […]

REVIEW: Joe’s Violin [2016]

“How long can you live with memories?” You never know when a potential story will come your way. For Kahane Cooperman it was on her drive to work around New York City while listening to WQXR. The station was calling for used instruments to be donated for children and schools in need, a story about […]

REVIEW: Hooligan Sparrow [2016]

“Hey Principal: get a room with me and leave the kids alone!” First-time director Nanfu Wang‘s documentary Hooligan Sparrow proves how a single piece of paper explaining a child’s rights can cause a ripple within a sea of oppression and catalyze justice. That document came from the hand of Wang Yu, a lawyer who followed […]

REVIEW: 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] [2016]

“A land of deathly silence” There’s just one thing missing from Liang Zhao‘s visually masterful documentary 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] and it’s a before image of what this wasteland of coal and rock used to be before God’s beast was unleashed. This creature—as represented by the industrial machine—devours the mountains of Mongolia, exploding […]

REVIEW: The Autopsy of Jane Doe [2016]

“It looks like they were trying to break out” There’s no sign of forced entry. Two bodies are brutally murdered upstairs and a naked woman without a skin blemish is discovered half-buried in the basement. Sheriff Sheldon (Michael McElhatton) is at a loss. He can theorize the locals’ demise—even if it won’t quite fit perfectly—but […]

REVIEW: Split [2017]

“In the sun we find our purpose” It doesn’t get better than The Village where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned. That film was a perfect confluence of his screenwriting and directing capabilities, a tale of love and protection through drastic measures as metaphor for the struggles of parenthood steeped in heavy emotion and guilt without […]

REVIEW: Timmy II [2016]

“I’m human now. But the wrong kind, I guess.” Writer/director Imran J. Khan‘s short comedy Timmy II is absurd in more ways than one. There’s the ham-fisted sci-fi aspect of a father putting his deceased son’s heart into a robot and watching it come to life on the story front and an overuse of obvious […]