REVIEW: Sanjay’s Super Team [2015]


“Super Team unite!” Sunday school would be a must-attend for kids of every religion if their church, synagogue, mosque, or temple put a fun, pop culture spin on their Gods—guaranteed. How badass would it be to watch a cartoon Jesus using his magic to raise people from the clutches of the evil Grim Reaper? Sure […]

REVIEW: Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe [2015]


“Make a wish” It’s amazing that the Ice Age series is still going on let alone the solitary adventures of little Scrat and his acorn. The studio may be just as surprised too since they’ve had to relegate their latest short to UFO conspiracies. Yes, Mike Thurmeier’s Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe sees everyone’s favorite pre-historic squirrel shoving […]

BIFF15 REVIEW: Strange Bird [2015]


“Happy Birthday, Emma” After their screening premiere of Strange Bird at the Buffalo International Film Festival, co-writers Daniel Mecca (who also co-directs with Timothy Ringwood) and Conor O’Donnell explained how much of the short’s final cut was found in the editing room. This makes perfect sense as there’s no dialogue for almost the entire first […]

REVIEW: The Brink [2015]


“There is no way across” When you think about the vastness of our brains and the myriad roads of memory leading down rabbit holes of hopes, aspirations, fears, and regret, it can become a daunting proposition. How often do we get lost along those paths—recalling moments from our pasts, failures that keep our anxiety and […]

REVIEW: Total Performance [2015]


“You’re never going to see me again” The premise behind Sean Meehan‘s latest short is fascinating with its titular business Total Performance providing a service that supplies actors who spar with customers seeking a dress rehearsal for whatever difficult conversation they’ve yet to work themselves up to starting. We meet a distraught husband in need […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Waves ’98 [2015]


“It feels like everything is stuck in a loop” Downtown Beirut is Waves ’98‘s lead character Omar’s (Elie Bassila)—a virtual, teenage stand-in for writer/director Ely Dagher—”white whale”. It’s a world he has yet to experience close-up, relegated to peering over and through concrete buildings from his safe suburban rooftop at a city split in two […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Maman(s) [2015]


“I’m drowning in it now” Young Aida (Sokhna Diallo) is forced to process a lot on the day her father (Eriq Ebouaney‘s Alioune) returns to Paris from Senegal after two months away. First is the joyous laughter of mom (Maïmouna Gueye‘s Mariam) and her friends burning an herbal aphrodisiac up her dress. Next is the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Viaduc [Overpass] [2015]


“Your brother’s plane arrives at 5 PM” Writer/director Patrice Laliberté‘s short film Viaduc [Overpass] relies heavily on our suppositions as the viewer. And it does so to perfection. To us Mathieu (Téo Vachon Sincennes) has done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt. Not only do we meet him sneaking out to illegally spray […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] [2015]


“I can’t be like mom” There are no easy answers when it comes to psychological and emotional conditions. What a “normal” person believes to be so easy could very well prove impossible for another no matter how mundane or seemingly harmless the task might appear. Kimie Tanaka‘s short かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] depicts this struggle […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Dragstrip [2015]


“So hike up your pants and tighten your shoes. We’re going racing soon.” The Toronto International Film festival programmers are selling Daniel Claridge and Pacho Velez‘s short documentary Dragstrip as an “exhilarating blast of raw Americana”, but I’m not sure if it isn’t actually evidence of our affinity with the mundane instead. Shot at the […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] [2015]


“Green, how I want you green.” Animator Theodore Ushev embraces yet another visual style to treat us with at the Toronto International Film Festival. From conté crayon images rotoscoped atop Jafar Panahi in 2012’s Joda to the Cubist/Constructivist homage of 2013’s Gloria Victoria, his latest Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] delves into Abstract Expressionism bearing to mind […]