REVIEW: The Equalizer [2014]

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“Change your world” It may be because I knew beforehand that Antoine Fuqua‘s The Equalizer was based on an old 80s TV show (from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim), but it felt very episodic in a way that made it utterly boring. There’s that time Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) helps his coworker lose weight. That […]

REVIEW: Gone Girl [2014]

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“Everything else is background noise” Director David Fincher‘s Gone Girl falls prey to the one thing that often prevents me from truly loving a cinematic adaptation of a novel—unquestionable faithfulness. Gillian Flynn does a wonderful job distilling her pulpy thriller into a fast-paced 149 minutes and Fincher stays true to the back and forth vantage […]

REVIEW: In Da Street [2014]

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“We’re two cops in the hood, man” For a crowdfunded French short shot in two days on only a $1,500 budget, In Da Street looks fantastic. This shouldn’t be surprising coming from writer/director Damien Kazan—a filmmaker whose last work Whisper was nothing if not an attractive visual poem. Building on that film’s stylistic construction, this […]

REVIEW: The Maze Runner [2014]

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“Wicked is good” There’s really no better way to start The Maze Runner than Wes Ball‘s opening. I’ve not read James Dasher‘s novels and probably knew less than the trailer foretold since it’s been so long since I last saw it. So watching the pitch-black screen stare at me while scrapping metal creaked until a […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

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“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Kill Me Three Times [2014]

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“Quality always costs” Director Kriv Stenders left the audience seated for his latest film Kill Me Three Times with the words, “I hope you have as much fun watching as we had making it”. I doubt I did, but I cannot deny it wasn’t the sort of entertaining romp that keeps you on your toes […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Duke of Burgundy [??]

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“The colder the better” Sometimes you just need to cleanse your palette or expand your mind by checking out a film even the director says is all about the experience. So when Peter Strickland explains how he tried hard not to make us want to find metaphor or meaning beyond what’s onscreen, I’m going to […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

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“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief] [2014]

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“Patience. Everything is fine.” With a title like Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief], Maxim Bessmertnyi‘s film could go two ways. Is it about someone who steals a tricycle or about a thief that rides one? There is also a third option: a hybrid of both. This is the direction the writer/director chooses with his Macau-set tale […]

REVIEW: Cam2Cam [2014]

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“r u alone?” This year’s most tonally out-of-place ending goes to Cam2Cam. A horror/thriller pitting the murderer of a young American in Bangkok against the victim’s sister for either vengeance or a smart getaway somehow finds itself culminating in a weirdly romantic vibe of lost loves sending gifts via post to remember the lovely time […]

REVIEW: Metro Manila [2013]

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“Sometimes the only thing left to hold onto is the blade of a knife” The impetus for Sean Ellis‘ Metro Manila could have simply been an intriguing anecdote to tell people upon returning to England from a trip visiting a friend in the Philippines and for most it would have. Unable to shake the disquieting […]