REVIEW: 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum] [1939]

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“Wait for me” Writer/director Kenji Mizoguchi‘s Meiji period-set film about a struggling Kabuki actor and his devoted wife, 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum], is a heartbreaking display of love’s power to endure no matter the external forces trying to extinguish it. For Kikunosuke Onoue (Shôtarô Hanayagi), the adoptive child of master […]

REVIEW: Milton’s Secret [2016]

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“Without forgiveness the past determines who you are in the present” After finding international success with his spiritual teachings through best-selling books The Power of Now and A New Earth, author and counselor Eckhart Tolle set his sights on children in 2008 with Milton’s Secret and its blatantly synergistic subtitle to those previous works “An […]

REVIEW: Queen of Katwe [2016]

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“This is a place for fighters” The story of Phiona Mutesi is perfectly tailored for a Disney-produced true-life inspirational sports drama. As a nine-year old girl living in the Katwe slum of Kampala, Uganda selling maize with her siblings to help support their single mother after their father died of AIDS, who would have expected […]

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

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“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Indivisibili [Indivisible] [2016]

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“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 […]

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

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“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Kati Kati [2016]

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“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Bleed for This [2016]

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“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Carrie Pilby [2016]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Mr. Church [2016]

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“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: ’76 [2016]

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“Love has no boundaries” It appears my first foray into Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) was well selected being the latest from director Izu Ojukwu, one of the nation’s most ambitious artists. Add some heavy hitters in Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme and ’76 delivers a wonderful sampler platter of the best talent this region […]