REVIEW: The Ninth Configuration [1980]

“You have to say, ‘Simon Says.’ Then we’ll do it.” The history behind William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration adds a ton of insight into its ambitious yet lacking film adaptation. His original intent, for instance, was to create a comic novel. Blatty has even been quoted as saying he prefers the first version he […]

BERLINALE17 REVIEW: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] [2017]

“People do not yet see they are miserable. We will show them!” There’s universality to Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie‘s Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] even if it is very much a Québécois film. Marking their […]

REVIEW: Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] [1960]

“But you mustn’t always forgive” More than a story about immigrants building a new life for themselves away from the home they wished could have been theirs forever, Luchino Visconti‘s Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] is an epic journey of hubris, love, and grand dreams falling short. In three hours we […]

REVIEW: Ennemis intérieurs [Enemies Within] [2016]

“Between you and me, what’s the difference?” The definitive exchange in Hidden Figures—the one that defines America then and still today—is when Kirsten Dunst‘s personnel manager tells Octavia Spencer‘s yet-to-be-given-the-title supervisor, “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.” Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan counters without missing a beat, “I know you probably believe that.” […]

REVIEW: La Femme et la TGV [2016]

“I’ve never sent an internet and I never will” While its age-old conceit of a misunderstood curmudgeon discovering joy after being perpetually caught in a cycle of monotony is familiar, Timo von Gunten‘s cutely inspiring La femme et le TGV is in fact based on true events. The woman at its center is Elise (Jane […]

REVIEW: Silent Nights [2016]

“I live a very hard life” It’s extremely difficult for me to blindly accept a film like Aske Bang‘s Silent Nights on faith. The idea that someone can do bad things—no matter how good he/she is at heart—and continuously be rewarded is a tough sell. But that’s exactly what this look at immigration through a […]

REVIEW: Mindenki [Sing] [2016]

“Well life isn’t always fair, my dear” A new candidate for cinema’s best villain of 2016 emerges out of Kristóf Deák‘s Hungarian short Mindenki [Sing]. Her name is Miss Erika (Zsófia Szamosi), the Middle School choir conductor in charge of her school’s nationally recognized troupe of youngsters readying to defend their previous championships. She seems […]

REVIEW: The Space Between Us [2017]

“Just add water” It’s difficult not to think about The Martian when it comes to new film The Space Between Us. Both center around a human stranded on Mars—albeit in drastically different circumstances—and both attempt to exist in a “real world” despite our actual ability for interplanetary travel being non-existent. What made the former’s science […]

REVIEW: Blind Vaysha [2016]

“In her eyes the present did not exist” I did a double take upon hearing Theodore Ushev‘s name alongside his animated short Blind Vaysha during the Oscar nominations because I’ve watched his work progress the past five years. This Canadian by way of Bulgaria is a Toronto International Film Festival staple, a guy who alters […]

REVIEW: Borrowed Time [2016]

“What do I do?” It’s been a dark year for animated films—dark with a subtle slice of hope for the future. My Life as a Zucchini leads the way on that front, but Borrowed Time is hardly an exception. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj‘s stylized computer-animated short focuses on an aged Sheriff yet to forgive […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Axolotl Overkill [2017]

“Can you drown in the gene pool?” Playwright, author, screenwriter, and director Helene Hegemann has said (through her publisher) that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” The words were spoken after her debut novel Axolotl Roadkill earned critical praise, a spot as a finalist for a major book award, and multiple, potentially […]