REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]


“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding […]

REVIEW: Alienated [2015]


“Which one of the men is going to see the light?” Who isn’t self-centered? If you find someone, please let me know because I don’t think that person exists. Even when we are at our most compassionate, empathetic, or charitable, our actions are still our own. We do what we do out of love—molding our […]

REVIEW: Trash [2014]


“Never trust a policeman” It’s not every day that a three-time Oscar nominee for directing decides on a foreign language film to be his next project, but that’s exactly what Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot, The Hours, and The Reader fame has done. Following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Danny Boyle—whose journey to India […]

REVIEW: The Brink [2015]


“There is no way across” When you think about the vastness of our brains and the myriad roads of memory leading down rabbit holes of hopes, aspirations, fears, and regret, it can become a daunting proposition. How often do we get lost along those paths—recalling moments from our pasts, failures that keep our anxiety and […]

REVIEW: Tangerine [2015]


“Los Angeles is a beautifully wrapped lie” ‘Twas the night before Christmas and Tinseltown’s intersection of Santa Monica and Highland is bustling. A hotbed of sex work and drug use, Sean Baker‘s unfiltered Tangerine takes us into a world we haven’t quite seen on the big screen—especially not from a major distributor like Magnolia Pictures—by […]

REVIEW: The Walk [2015]


“The carrots are cooked” I’ve yet to watch the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, but it’s hard not to get swept up in its daredevil intrigue. Depicting the “artistic crime of the century,” Frenchman Philippe Petit illegally hung a wire between the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and walked across multiple times to the dismay […]

REVIEW: Time Out of Mind [2015]


“She’s coming back” One of the easiest things we can do in modern society is marginalize strangers. To laugh and assume we know what has transpired to place some nameless soul in his/her current position only takes a second devoid of context whereas beginning a conversation requires so much more. We reject compassion because it […]

REVIEW: Pawn Sacrifice [2015]


“I’m searching for the truth” I’ve always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer due to his vanishing rather than anything he accomplished at a chessboard. I’ve never been good at the game, yet I respect its complexity. The greats literally memorize past matches and maneuvers, so in-tune with the playing field that they can play out […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Nachtmahr [??]


“What do you want from me?” In great Lost Highway-era David Lynch fashion, visual artist turned filmmaker Akiz‘s Der Nachtmahr switches from linear reality to seamlessly disorienting crosscuts between life and dream. It occurs when soon-to-be eighteen year old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) passes out drunk while peeing in the woods outside a secret rave full […]

REVIEW: Total Performance [2015]


“You’re never going to see me again” The premise behind Sean Meehan‘s latest short is fascinating with its titular business Total Performance providing a service that supplies actors who spar with customers seeking a dress rehearsal for whatever difficult conversation they’ve yet to work themselves up to starting. We meet a distraught husband in need […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Peur de rien [Parisienne] [2016]


“For now everything is ugly” Many deflect from it, but a writer/director’s intent can change the viewer’s outlook on his/her film. Danielle Arbid‘s fictional coming-of-age drama about a college-aged immigrant from Lebanon to France (Manal Issa‘s Lina) is one containing many new acquaintances able to help her find the freedom she covets but never found […]