REVIEW: L’ultimo bacio [The Last Kiss] [2001]


“With pounds of cellulite and all your insecurities” I really want to love Gabriele Muccino‘s Italian blockbuster of a rom-com L’ultimo bacio [The Last Kiss] because it is funny, charming, complicated, and hopeful. My issue lies in the fact that it’s also awful in its depictions of selfish ego and weak indifference. Maybe this is […]

REVIEW: Sam [2016]


“I kinda like being the only guy in New York with a gynecologist” Even though Nicholas Brooks is about thirty years too late for his gender-swapping, chauvinistic rom-com Sam, he does end up successfully subverting expectations. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a good movie. There are enough fades to black to make me drowsy […]

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


“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 […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: A United Kingdom [2016]


“I’ve never wanted anything like I want this” Who knew the power of love ultimately won independence for the democratic republic of Botswana? I sure didn’t. But this is the based on a true story film writer Guy Hibbert and director Amma Asante have delivered with A United Kingdom. It’s a tale of racial segregation, […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Tramps [2016]


“Kids menu or appetizers?” The romantic comedy formula is one that can’t help but become redundant in premise. How many different scenarios are there for two people to converge? Even so, Adam Leon may have found a new one with his meet-cute during a dead-drop gone wrong called Tramps. It should have been a painless […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Souvenir [2016]


“Like ABBA but not so famous” It starts with bubbles. So many bubbles rising slowly in liquid as the opening credits in script font flash onscreen. And when the camera finally pans out to see what it’s been that’s mesmerized us so? A glass of water with an Alka-Seltzer dropped in, of course. This is […]

REVIEW: The Light Between Oceans [2016]


“There’s always something to fix” Writer/director Derek Cianfrance isn’t done with cinematic tapestries of emotion quite yet as The Light Between Oceans fits his still burgeoning oeuvre perfectly. Based on M.L. Stedman‘s debut novel, the structure delivers a similar duality as both Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines before it. We spend so […]

REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]


“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. […]

REVIEW: Café Society [2016]


“Dreams are … dreams” Ever since Woody Allen left New York City for England in 2005 to create some really spectacular films outside his usual comedic efforts of neurotic meet-cutes, I may have intentionally tried to avoid anything he made with a character he would have played himself a decade prior. I personally don’t count […]

REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]


“Loneliness is a terrible thing” While a romance on its surface, Catherine Corsini‘s La belle saison [Summertime] is really about freedom. The central relationship between Delphine (Izïa Higelin) and Carole (Cécile De France) pushes them to discover their personal identities removed from any union. The former is a farm girl yearning to break from the […]

REVIEW: Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] [2012]


“Are you still serving coffee?” German Academy Award-sweeping Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] is a day in the life of a Berliner slacker named Niko Fischer (Tom Schilling). He’s a law school dropout that’s been living off the thousand-dollar-a-week allowance his father continuously supplies under the auspices that it’s being used for college. He […]