• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: What Happened, Miss Simone? [2015]

“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear” As someone who heard “Feeling Good” on a Muse album in the early 2000s thinking it was their song until the promotional advertisements for season four of “Six Feet Under” got me researching the female vocalist singing its “new” rendition, a documentary on Nina Simone […]

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REVIEW: 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] [1988]

“I found that glass” Writer/Director Kar Wai Wong hit the scene in 1988 with gangster drama 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] in a way that many compare to Martin Scorsese‘s debut splash Mean Streets. It’s a gritty look at the streets of Hong Kong populated by men who are nothing without […]

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REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you […]

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REVIEW: Shopping [1994]

“Don’t get caught” I don’t know what it is about Paul W.S. Anderson, but I very rarely dislike his flicks no matter the critical consensus or fandom drubbings. He isn’t the best director out there but he has created some interesting vehicles despite it—enough to accept the fact that Hollywood studios will continue giving him […]

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REVIEW: O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] [2014]

Writer/director Alê Abreu‘s O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] is nothing if not a breath of fresh air against the animation medium’s otherwise stagnant aesthetic of glossy computerized fare. Not only does he dive back into a traditional hand-drawn style, he does so with an un-polished rough-edged crayon texture to make it […]

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REVIEW: Poison [1991]

“I’ve just captured the sex drive” Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Todd Haynes‘ directorial debut Poison is a wild, outside-the-box ride. It reminded me of David Lynch‘s Eraserhead with a surreally experimental aesthetic and odd relationships sparked between over-the-top and perhaps parodied “freaks” standing-in as metaphors for humanity’s intolerance towards the “different”. […]

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REVIEW: Fear and Desire [1953]

“Rafts always float” I love that legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick began his career with a dud so misguided he was rumored to have tried to destroy every print in existence. In his words it was a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and he’s not wrong. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering he was a […]

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REVIEW: How to Change the World [2015]

“Ecology is flow” Using the unplanned creation of Greenpeace by a group of hippie ecologists in the 1970s trying to stop nuclear bomb testing in Alaska as its backdrop, Jerry Rothwell‘s documentary How to Change the World shows us the trials, tribulations, fame, ego, and success of doing exactly that. It’s a savvy mix of […]

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REVIEW: The Runaround Club [2016]

“What exactly is your father capable of doing up there?” Directed by Matt Rindini and written Andrew Gleeson, The Runaround Club shows a lot of promise. The former has a good visual sense and paces the dramatic thriller well; the latter weaves a web of complex characters crossing paths and interacting in ways conventional thinking […]

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REVIEW: Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage [Faust] [1926]

“The greatest miracle of all is man’s freedom to choose between good and evil” Director F.W. Murnau left Germany with a bang thanks to his big budget visual masterpiece Faust. Adapted like so many other versions from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s classic take (Gerhart Hauptmann and Hans Kyser provide the titles), this rendition sets itself […]

lastdayoffreedom

REVIEW: Last Day of Freedom [2015]

“And then one day it came knocking on my door” Directors Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman have quite the story on their hands thanks to the bravery of Bill Babbitt to allow his catharsis to be captured in a public forum such as film. A religious and loving man who watched his younger brother Manny […]

chaubeyondthelines

REVIEW: Chau, Beyond the Lines [2015]

“I’m starting to get the confidence” Agent Orange still affects the Vietnamese population four decades after its dispersal because it’s taken that long to find a mode with which to begin destroying its remnants. South Vietnam with American help sprayed the herbicide (US Air Force’s own initiative Operation Ranch Hand later continued) looking to take […]

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REVIEW: Velvet Goldmine [1998]

“It’s funny how beautiful people look when they’re walking out the door” What if Citizen Kane wasn’t about Charlie’s Foster Kane but instead the interviewer tasked with speaking to those in Kane’s life, mining for the meaning of “Rosebud”? This is sort of where director Todd Haynes (co-written with James Lyons) begins his fictional account […]

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REVIEW: Army of Darkness [1993]

“Well hello, Mr. Fancy Pants” Only Sam Raimi knows how you travel from The Evil Dead‘s straight low-budget horror to the campy “ultimate experience of medieval horror” ten years later, but it’s obviously worked for him considering the series jump-started his promising career to the heights of Hollywood’s Spider-Man. Even so, that original trilogy is […]

girlintheriver

REVIEW: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness [2015]

“Because they had sworn on the Quran, I had no fear in my heart” When you read that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy‘s documentary short A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness concerns a Pakistani girl shot and left for dead who survived to become a beacon of strength and bravery, do not simply dismiss it […]