REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]


“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Tank 432 [2016]


“Suck it in, remember your training, and get on with it” Director Ben Wheatley is showing his eye for talent by putting his name behind a guy who’s worked closely with him since 2011’s Kill List. A filmmaker in his own right, camera operator Nick Gillespie has stayed by Wheatley’s side on every subsequent project […]

REVIEW: Eye in the Sky [2016]


“Never tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war” How do you simultaneously become hero and martyr in twenty-first century warfare? You find yourself unwittingly lodged within the kill zone of a high value target that has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt. Death or injury earns you both labels for […]

REVIEW: Saul fia [Son of Saul] [2015]


“You failed the living for the dead” It’s stunning how all these years later a Holocaust film can come along and prove wholly unique from the myriad examples we’ve already received and lauded. But László Nemes‘ directorial debut Saul Fia [Son of Saul] does exactly that. Not only does he capture the brutality by entering […]

REVIEW: Krigen [A War] [2015]


“B for Bang” It’s not inconsequential that Tobias Lindholm‘s latest drama is simply and generically titled A War [Krigen]. This isn’t a story about Afghanistan or even Denmark—war is war no matter where it takes place or who is involved. Instead the film is about our actions both home and abroad, in the fight and […]

REVIEW: Fear and Desire [1953]


“Rafts always float” I love that legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick began his career with a dud so misguided he was rumored to have tried to destroy every print in existence. In his words it was a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and he’s not wrong. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering he was a […]

REVIEW: Day One [2015]


“This is my first job” It’s just too much: too manipulative, too familiar, and too convenient. The trouble with Henry Hughes‘ Day One all stems from one line when his American military unit’s new interpreter Feda (Layla Alizada) meets her predecessor Naz (Shari Vasseghi). They speak about being away from home and family in the […]

REVIEW: Prologue [2015]


I wasn’t sure what I was watching once Richard Williams‘ Prologue moved past its carefully drawn flower pollinated by a bee and a butterfly soaring across the screen to wipe the page clean before introducing the sharp eyes of soldiers. Their shields and spears conjured thoughts of Sparta; the lack of clothing on the men […]

REVIEW: Beasts of No Nation [2015]


“You must die before you are reborn” War often leaves as large a psychological scar as physical. Surviving with your life is sometimes not enough to escape the horrors of what’s been done to yourself or those around you. As for what you’ve done—those acts remain forever in nightmare. So when young Agu (Abraham Attah) […]

REVIEW: Bordering on Bad Behavior [2015]


“No. I don’t need a piss now.” You know that highly politicized stoner comedy about a Jew, Arab, and Christian locked together for six hours in an Israeli communications base on the Lebanese border you’ve been craving? Well, director Jac Mulder and writer Ziggy Darwish have delivered it with a punchline that pretty much writes […]

REVIEW: Une Libération [2015]


“The Americans are coming” ***Possible Spoilers*** The sheer number of different stories that have been told out of the atrocities committed during World War II never ceases to amaze me. It shouldn’t—such a large-scale assault on humanity is nothing if not complex. When you think about breadth of the countries, cultures, and languages involved, the […]