REVIEW: Half of a Yellow Sun [2014]

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“Go and tell your fellow witches you did not see my son” For writer/director Biyi Bandele, adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun was more than simply a job. He read her very personal account—the revolutionary at its center is based heavily on her father while each additional character and event […]

REVIEW: Whisper [2014]

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“I wanna be an astronaut” I receive a lot of unsolicited films from artists looking for reviews to help gauge audience acceptance, but Damien Kazan‘s short Whisper has to be the first from a director calling himself an “aspiring filmmaker”. It’s a small thing, but one steeped in modesty and excitement that I can’t stop […]

FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Cheatin’ [2014]

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“Ella Heart Jake” Inspired by the works of James M. Cain such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, iconic animator Bill Plympton‘s Kickstarted feature film Cheatin’ is all about sex, lust, love, magic, and sex. His seventh feature film makes its Canadian debut at the Fantasia Film Festival a year and a […]

REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

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“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor […]

REVIEW: And So It Goes [2014]

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“Too much noise! Too much noise!” Who wondered what The Magic of Belle Isle would be if Morgan Freeman‘s surly alcoholic was forced to warm his heart and soul to a young child that was his granddaughter rather than a neighbor? I think Rob Reiner did or else I’m not sure why he’d choose a […]

REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011]

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“These people invest in results. Not dreams.” How did the apes from Pierre Boulle‘s Planet of the Apes gain control of Earth? The 1968 film adaptation shows human/ape hybrids walking, talking, and living in civilizations—a great sci-fi conceit making us believe in a distant planet where evolution took a different turn than what happened here. […]

REVIEW: Wish I Was Here [2014]

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“You’re going to have sex with the swear jar?” It’s impossible to talk about Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here without first addressing the elephant in the room: Kickstarter. Whether you’re against his method of crowdsourcing because you believe a celebrity of his stature shouldn’t need extra funding to finance a film or steadfast in […]

REVIEW: Garden State [2004]

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“I’ll take a hug” Sometimes a movie comes along at the perfect time. Maybe it’s a story you can relate to, a work firing on all cylinders aesthetically, or something that pulls you into its emotionality and refuses to let go. Garden State was that film for twenty-two year old, college graduate me embracing my […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] [2014]

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“She’s just that kind of person” Based on a 2012 novel written by Kanae Minato, 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] is very much a product of our time. A satirical take on the Twitter age that also to a point provides a compelling murder mystery reminiscent of Gillian Flynn‘s Gone […]

REVIEW: Repair Us [2014]

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“What do you suggest we do?” There’s a moment at the beginning of Mikael Ayele and Catherine Ames‘ short film Repair Us when Nicole (Ames) is joking around with her boyfriend Brandan (Ayele) about what they can do to spice up their stagnant relationship and rekindle a waning flame. She goes through a list of […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 失魂 [Shi hun] [Soul] [2013]

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“I watch the wind and, dreamlike, vanish” Described in equal measure as a slasher horror and psychological meditation on the soul—whether from demonic possession, reincarnation, or both—Taiwan’s entry for the 86th Academy Awards ultimately proves difficult to categorize at all. Mong-Hong Chung‘s 失魂[Shi hun] [Soul] may in fact be better labeled as a drama about […]