REVIEW: Julieta [2016]

“Remember, you don’t like goodbyes” It began as many things: an adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Canadian writer Alice Munro‘s three connected short stories from her book Runaway (“Chance,” “Soon,” and “Silence”), Pedro Almodóvar‘s English-language debut with its venue switching from Vancouver to New York, and a starring vehicle for Meryl Streep. But Julieta eventually […]

REVIEW: Geride Kalanlar [Leftovers] [2017]

“Let’s hope it’s not her” We each possess a blind spot, one seeking to shield the horrors of life we know exist regardless. It manifests a sense of optimism in that we are safe because we live morally or that those we trust are inherently good. The opposite—to live in constant paranoia believing tragedy is […]

REVIEW: 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] [2016]

“You took a photo and stole my soul” While the calling card for Gan Bi‘s feature debut 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] is its magnificent 41-minute long take, that scene is but a movie within a movie. Its brilliance is in the way it takes his main character Chen Sheng (played by the […]

REVIEW: Psychic Murder [2017]

“Yes. I realize I look … like the Hamburger Helper.” The idea of a “deal with the devil” tale is to show how—if at all—the victim caught with his/her soul on the line can escape. The fun is in the torture of this latest riff on Faust by his malicious benefactor and the payoff the […]

REVIEW: April Flowers [2017]

“I’m not afraid of love if that’s what you mean” When writer/director Christopher Tedrick scholarly describes his film April Flowers as being based on the idea that the 21st century is an “Era of Choice”—a term coined by Temple Associate Professor Edward C. Rosenthal in an MIT-published paper—romance isn’t necessary the first thing that springs […]

REVIEW: Night Job [2017]

“People just use the night as an excuse to be someone completely different” Write what you know. These are fortune cookie words of wisdom, but they aren’t wrong. Our own lives are often strange and interesting enough to form the basis of a sitcom because they’re simultaneously universal and unique. Viewers relate to a sense […]

REVIEW: The Deja Vuers [2017]

“Perhaps you should keep your deja vus to yourself” It’s nice to find a entertaining little gem every once in a while that doesn’t require you to think too far beyond its premise. This sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I don’t mean it as one. I think director Chris Esper would agree that his […]

REVIEW: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore [2017]

“That’s how hard I threw it” There’s one specific thing differentiating actor Macon Blair‘s directorial debut I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore from the works of usual collaborator Jeremy Saulnier: comedy. Don’t tell me I’m wrong because the latter director shows his funny bone in Murder Party—I haven’t seen it. I’m not […]

REVIEW: Grave [Raw] [2017]

“Two fingers will make it come up easier” We strive to become ourselves in college thanks to that first taste of freedom after adolescence’s long haul packed tightly at home and within part-time jobs and/or classes alongside peers who simply don’t want to be there. This is when we’re able to let loose and buckle […]

REVIEW: The Love Witch [2016]

“All it is is using your will to get what you want” It’s an ingenious aesthetic premise: to create new cinematic pursuits showcasing women as the empowered gender—a stark contrast to most Hollywood fare—by utilizing the old Technicolor look, feel, and tone of artifice. Writer/director Anna Biller in effect embraces the synthetic properties of her […]

REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it […]