• moonlight01

    TIFF16 REVIEW: Moonlight [2016]

    “Chiron and trouble always found a way” What’s it like to be a young boy on the drug-filled streets of Miami: without friends, without family, without hope? As cliques begin to feign superiority by ganging up on the weak to prove themselves hard enough for what’s coming, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert)—or “Little” as they call […]

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    REVIEW: Hell or High Water [2016]

    “I ain’t speeding” It wasn’t long after his run as above-board Deputy Chief David Hale on “Sons of Anarchy” that Taylor Sheridan would find himself caught in awards season platitudes with Sicario, a film earning three Oscar nominations despite his screenplay not quite making the cut. Well he has a second change this January as […]

  • touchofzen01

    REVIEW: 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen] [1971]

    “One should rather believe in ghosts than not” It’s enlightening to read writer/director King Hu‘s press notes that accompanied the Cannes premiere of his then newly-cut 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen]. 1975 was four years removed from the film’s original release—as two parts, a format his producers demanded to try recouping some of […]

  • eyesofmymother01

    FANTASIA16 REVIEW: The Eyes of My Mother [2016]

    “Why would I kill you? You’re my only friend.” This is isolation, suffering. It’s also normal. We on the outside see Nicolas Pesce‘s debut feature The Eyes of My Mother as the former, young Francisca (Olivia Bond) swimming in a pool of abject dread as death proves a natural evolution for all living things. For […]

  • huntforthewilderpeople01

    REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople [2016]

    “Find water. Go to high ground. And don’t get naked.” A Māori boy and a Pākehā man go forth into the New Zealand bush. It sounds like the start to a joke. But while Taika Waititi‘s latest Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious, it’s far from being a trivial lark. There’s some weighty emotion involved […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Phantasm [1979]

“You think when you die, you go to heaven. You come to us!” Of course J.J. Abrams would initiate the process of remastering Don Coscarelli‘s seminal Phantasm. Anyone who’s seen “Lost” will quickly notice similarities in their worlds shrouded by mystery devoid of a need or desire to provide explanation. This is what makes them […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] [2016]

“What am I paying for?” Colombia’s tourism department won’t be sanctioning Víctor Gaviria‘s La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] anytime soon and I definitely will never be visiting to see how accurate a depiction of life there it proves. This film is two-hours of sadism at the hands of Tito Alexander Gómez Arias’ Libardo […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Indivisibili [Indivisible] [2016]

“Can we at least see what’s possible?” It starts off so magically with conjoined twins Dasy (Angela Fontana) and Viola (Marianna Fontana) bringing hope and the word of God to the unfortunate souls languishing in poverty just north of Naples, Italy. They’re blissful when singing, eating up the attention and love from their parents Peppe […]

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REVIEW: Don’t Breathe [2016]

“If we do this right we never have to do this again” The best thing you can do to distance yourself from the big budget remake of a cult classic that serves as your feature directorial debut is to pare things down and deliver an original gem of your own. Fede Alvarez took the criticisms […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: טהורה לעד [Tehora la’ad] [Forever Pure] [2016]

“My heart will always stay yellow and black” Just when you think it can’t get worse—that the vocal, racist minority spewing bile will be extinguished in a show of tide-turning empathy—everything is literally engulfed in flames as a city watches it burn to cheers from a cesspool of hate. This is the 2012-2013 season for […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Bar Bahar [In Between] [2016]

“Don’t let on that you know what you’re doing” It’s Tel Aviv in 2016 and the parties are wild. Drinking, dancing, snorting, kissing—it’s time for twenty-year olds to have fun and be alive. But whereas in America you’d get looks of jealousy at best or judgment at worst, culture dictates heavier consequences for three Palestinian […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Goldstone [2016]

“This land ain’t no place for a young girl” Another missing girl has Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) on the move while the world continues to turn a blind eye. This time it isn’t an aboriginal, though, the aftermath of his work in Mystery Road culminating in a shootout with everyone dead but he a […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Kati Kati [2016]

“You’re here because you’re dead” Most of cinema’s best films are those that do rather than explain. These works are created by artists wielding airtight concepts insofar as attaining their goal of delivering a specific, emotion-fueled message. Kenyan creative Mbithi Masya‘s feature debut Kati Kati is a perfect example of what can be made when […]

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REVIEW: Storks [2016]

“We never stop” While a bunch of adults were definitely having a good time during Nicholas Stoller‘s Storks, I’m not sure about their children. It wasn’t restlessness, though. If anything they were catatonic, a similar state as myself. Now I did chuckle at a few of the higher concept stuff because the absurdity of a […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Colossal [2016]

“I’m sorry. It was a mistake. It won’t happen again.” Whether the existence of time travel or an alien invasion, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has proven king at dealing with large-scale concepts affecting small-scale characters. Always looking to portray how genre catastrophes are handled by nobodies on the ground without government credentials or scientific degrees, he […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Bleed for This [2016]

“Christ and elephants” There’s something about boxing movies that gets butts in seats regardless of so many being practically the same story. The formula almost always concerns some type of personal and professional redemption and Ben Younger‘s Bleed for This is no exception. Being a true telling of Vinny Pazienza’s (Miles Teller) arduous journey back […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Carrie Pilby [2016]

“Don’t be such a child” The synopsis for Carrie Pilby can sound atrocious on paper. Most films utilizing an eighteen-year old Harvard graduate do so as periphery color because the trope lends itself to obnoxious pedantry and an unsympathetic notion of “first world problems.” Having your titular lead (played by Bel Powley) be that person […]

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REVIEW: Mr. Church [2016]

“I learned to turn away from the sun and face the moon” If you didn’t know what you were getting into upon sitting down for Bruce Beresford‘s Mr. Church, you will following this onscreen text: “Inspired by a True Friendship.” The vagueness of this statement notwithstanding, the words ooze enough schmaltz to prepare you for […]

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REVIEW: Blair Witch [2016]

“Lisa, I’m so sorry” It was only sixteen months after the release of The Blair Witch Project that Joe Berlinger‘s sequel Book of Shadows bowed in an attempt at striking while the iron was hot. The film that was ultimately released into theaters wasn’t his cut—whether this fact has any bearing on quality remains to […]

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REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project [1999]

“I think the legend is unsettling enough” It may not have been the first “found footage” film ever made, but for a seventeen year-old like me in 1999 The Blair Witch Project might as well have been exactly that. I still remember the marketing campaign, the newspaper ads and fictionalized legend trying to make us […]