• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

    Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. […]

  • REVIEW: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

    “For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]

  • REVIEW: Fences [2016]

    “A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, […]

  • REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

    “Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately […]

  • REVIEW: Manchester by the Sea [2016]

    “I can’t beat it” It’s hard to imagine a Manchester by the Sea directed by Matt Damon and starring John Krasinski, but that was the original plan. They actually brought the idea to Kenneth Lonergan—Damon acted in one of his friend’s plays on stage and also his sophomore film Margaret. Hollywood is tough, though. Schedules […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Life, Animated [2016]

“Just your voice” It’s 2017 and yet I’m pretty sure you think about one of two things when hearing the word autism: Rain Man or vaccination. This is a shame because it only helps bolster the stigma assigned to the disorder. Pop culture has latched onto the “spectrum” with multiple examples of Asperger’s syndrome, but […]

REVIEW: The Ninth Configuration [1980]

“You have to say, ‘Simon Says.’ Then we’ll do it.” The history behind William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration adds a ton of insight into its ambitious yet lacking film adaptation. His original intent, for instance, was to create a comic novel. Blatty has even been quoted as saying he prefers the first version he […]

REVIEW: XX [2017]

“Well I have to eat. Don’t I?” The concept is simple: task four female directors to create and film four unrelated shorts in the horror vein—with female-led casts—to be combined into a single compilation in which to show off the talents and voices of artists Hollywood continues to ignore. Tap newcomer Jovanka Vuckovic (whose “The […]

REVIEW: Fist Fight [2017]

“Never trash talk an English teacher” It’s hard to believe that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has been on the air for twelve years now, but it’s still going strong. While the show opened doors for the entire quartet of relative unknowns, Charlie Day has been the one who’s leveraged his rising star into a […]

BERLINALE17 REVIEW: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] [2017]

“People do not yet see they are miserable. We will show them!” There’s universality to Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie‘s Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] even if it is very much a Québécois film. Marking their […]

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out […]

REVIEW: Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] [1960]

“But you mustn’t always forgive” More than a story about immigrants building a new life for themselves away from the home they wished could have been theirs forever, Luchino Visconti‘s Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] is an epic journey of hubris, love, and grand dreams falling short. In three hours we […]

REVIEW: Ennemis intérieurs [Enemies Within] [2016]

“Between you and me, what’s the difference?” The definitive exchange in Hidden Figures—the one that defines America then and still today—is when Kirsten Dunst‘s personnel manager tells Octavia Spencer‘s yet-to-be-given-the-title supervisor, “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.” Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan counters without missing a beat, “I know you probably believe that.” […]

REVIEW: La Femme et la TGV [2016]

“I’ve never sent an internet and I never will” While its age-old conceit of a misunderstood curmudgeon discovering joy after being perpetually caught in a cycle of monotony is familiar, Timo von Gunten‘s cutely inspiring La femme et le TGV is in fact based on true events. The woman at its center is Elise (Jane […]

REVIEW: Silent Nights [2016]

“I live a very hard life” It’s extremely difficult for me to blindly accept a film like Aske Bang‘s Silent Nights on faith. The idea that someone can do bad things—no matter how good he/she is at heart—and continuously be rewarded is a tough sell. But that’s exactly what this look at immigration through a […]

REVIEW: Watani: My Homeland [2016]

“I am responsible for destroying my children’s future right now” Out of five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts, four deal with the cost of genocide with three being specifically about today’s Arab refugees. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the topic is very much at the forefront of the world’s mind, the internet allowing injustices thousands […]

REVIEW: The Lego Batman Movie [2017]

“‘Puter, overcompensate” It was always going to be an uphill battle. The success of The LEGO Movie was so surprising and legitimate that a sequel was going to have to work five times harder to match it. So maybe pushing the follow-up off to focus on a spin-off was the way to go. Expectations would […]

REVIEW: The White Helmets [2016]

“To save a life is to save all of humanity” Every year seems to bring a new on-the-ground document of nightmarish tragedy thanks to Netflix’s fearless international programming. 2013 brought the fantastic The Square about Egyptians standing ground in their revolution against tyrants. 2015 brought the equally eye-opening Winter on Fire to ensure everyone acknowledged […]

REVIEW: Mindenki [Sing] [2016]

“Well life isn’t always fair, my dear” A new candidate for cinema’s best villain of 2016 emerges out of Kristóf Deák‘s Hungarian short Mindenki [Sing]. Her name is Miss Erika (Zsófia Szamosi), the Middle School choir conductor in charge of her school’s nationally recognized troupe of youngsters readying to defend their previous championships. She seems […]

REVIEW: Extremis [2016]

“I have to be right for her” If there’s substance to Dan Krauss‘ documentary short Extremis beyond its observational look at the emotionally heavy compromises made when a patient is faced with life or death scenarios, it’s to provide concrete evidence as to why you should put your own decisions down in writing before anything […]