REVIEW: Shok [2015]

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“It’s not about the bike” There’s no more poignant way to tell a tale of war than through the eyes of children. This is what writer/director Jamie Donoughue does with Shok, a short film set during the Kosovo War between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (spearheaded by the Serbians) and the Kosovo Liberation Army at […]

REVIEW: Tabu [2012]

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“You will not escape your heart” There are definite thematic similarities between Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu and F.W. Murnau‘s Tabu: A Story of the South Seas from its forbidden love to its descriptions of paradises lost. The structures are even identical—albeit in reverse—showing the joy of romance and the pain of losing it. If I were […]

REVIEW: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas [1931]

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“The island of Bora-Bora: still untouched by the hand of civilization” It’s a “Romeo and Juliet” by way of French Polynesia to be commended first and foremost for its use of island natives as cast and crew (the latter a result of cost-saving efforts not-withstanding). Conceived by F.W. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty as a […]

REVIEW: Far From Heaven [2002]

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“Here’s to being the only one” While Todd Haynes‘ Far From Heaven wears its “inspired by All That Heaven Allows” on its sleeves from aesthetic to subject matter to blatant homage, it’s so much more. He takes what Douglas Sirk brought to life and injects it with a healthy dose of complexity and jeopardy wherein […]

REVIEW: All That Heaven Allows [1955]

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“To thine own self be true” I shouldn’t be surprised that it took almost a half-century for Douglas Sirk‘s 1955 social comment on suburban gossip and image amongst the wealthy elite, All That Heaven Allows, to be appreciated as the masterpiece it is considering those watching in theaters upon its release were exactly those types […]

REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

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“She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

REVIEW: Carol [2015]

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“How many times have you been in love?” Director Todd Haynes‘ latest period romance Carol is nothing short of impeccable. From the acting to the cinematography to the art direction to Carter Burwell‘s gorgeous score, this thing is flawless in execution to the point where it should be rendered a clinically cold piece devoid of […]

REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

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“I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

REVIEW: Crimson Peak [2015]

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“Beautiful things are fragile” If you truly want to know what to expect from Crimson Peak you should ignore the trailers—save their ability to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic—and instead read director Guillermo del Toro‘s mission statement. In it you’ll discover that this isn’t your usual horror story. Yes it has some jarringly gruesome visuals and […]

REVIEW: Sleeping with Other People [2015]

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“Mousetrap” It has to overcome a pretty shaky start—mostly due to leads Jason Sudeikis (Jake) and Alison Brie (Lainey) playing Columbia undergrads—but Leslye Headlands‘ comedy Sleeping with Other People does prevail as quite the breath of fresh rom/com air. The plot isn’t groundbreaking, reconnecting two people twelve or so years after losing their virginity together […]

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

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“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 […]