• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

    Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. […]

  • REVIEW: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

    “For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]

  • REVIEW: Fences [2016]

    “A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, […]

  • REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

    “Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately […]

  • REVIEW: Manchester by the Sea [2016]

    “I can’t beat it” It’s hard to imagine a Manchester by the Sea directed by Matt Damon and starring John Krasinski, but that was the original plan. They actually brought the idea to Kenneth Lonergan—Damon acted in one of his friend’s plays on stage and also his sophomore film Margaret. Hollywood is tough, though. Schedules […]



film reviews

TIFF16 REVIEW: טהורה לעד [Tehora la’ad] [Forever Pure] [2016]

“My heart will always stay yellow and black” Just when you think it can’t get worse—that the vocal, racist minority spewing bile will be extinguished in a show of tide-turning empathy—everything is literally engulfed in flames as a city watches it burn to cheers from a cesspool of hate. This is the 2012-2013 season for […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Bar Bahar [In Between] [2016]

“Don’t let on that you know what you’re doing” It’s Tel Aviv in 2016 and the parties are wild. Drinking, dancing, snorting, kissing—it’s time for twenty-year olds to have fun and be alive. But whereas in America you’d get looks of jealousy at best or judgment at worst, culture dictates heavier consequences for three Palestinian […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Goldstone [2016]

“This land ain’t no place for a young girl” Another missing girl has Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) on the move while the world continues to turn a blind eye. This time it isn’t an aboriginal, though, the aftermath of his work in Mystery Road culminating in a shootout with everyone dead but he a […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Kati Kati [2017]

“You’re here because you’re dead” Most of cinema’s best films are those that do rather than explain. These works are created by artists wielding airtight concepts insofar as attaining their goal of delivering a specific, emotion-fueled message. Kenyan creative Mbithi Masya‘s feature debut Kati Kati is a perfect example of what can be made when […]

REVIEW: Storks [2016]

“We never stop” While a bunch of adults were definitely having a good time during Nicholas Stoller‘s Storks, I’m not sure about their children. It wasn’t restlessness, though. If anything they were catatonic, a similar state as myself. Now I did chuckle at a few of the higher concept stuff because the absurdity of a […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Colossal [2017]

“I’m sorry. It was a mistake. It won’t happen again.” Whether the existence of time travel or an alien invasion, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has proven king at dealing with large-scale concepts affecting small-scale characters. Always looking to portray how genre catastrophes are handled by nobodies on the ground without government credentials or scientific degrees, he […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Bleed for This [2016]

“Christ and elephants” There’s something about boxing movies that gets butts in seats regardless of so many being practically the same story. The formula almost always concerns some type of personal and professional redemption and Ben Younger‘s Bleed for This is no exception. Being a true telling of Vinny Pazienza’s (Miles Teller) arduous journey back […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Carrie Pilby [2017]

“Don’t be such a child” The synopsis for Carrie Pilby can sound atrocious on paper. Most films utilizing an eighteen-year old Harvard graduate do so as periphery color because the trope lends itself to obnoxious pedantry and an unsympathetic notion of “first world problems.” Having your titular lead (played by Bel Powley) be that person […]

REVIEW: Mr. Church [2016]

“I learned to turn away from the sun and face the moon” If you didn’t know what you were getting into upon sitting down for Bruce Beresford‘s Mr. Church, you will following this onscreen text: “Inspired by a True Friendship.” The vagueness of this statement notwithstanding, the words ooze enough schmaltz to prepare you for […]

REVIEW: Blair Witch [2016]

“Lisa, I’m so sorry” It was only sixteen months after the release of The Blair Witch Project that Joe Berlinger‘s sequel Book of Shadows bowed in an attempt at striking while the iron was hot. The film that was ultimately released into theaters wasn’t his cut—whether this fact has any bearing on quality remains to […]

REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project [1999]

“I think the legend is unsettling enough” It may not have been the first “found footage” film ever made, but for a seventeen year-old like me in 1999 The Blair Witch Project might as well have been exactly that. I still remember the marketing campaign, the newspaper ads and fictionalized legend trying to make us […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: ’76 [2016]

“Love has no boundaries” It appears my first foray into Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) was well selected being the latest from director Izu Ojukwu, one of the nation’s most ambitious artists. Add some heavy hitters in Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme and ’76 delivers a wonderful sampler platter of the best talent this region […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Boys in the Trees [2016]

“Can’t end a story without a dead body” We’ve all lost friends whether from naturally parting ways or an avoidable blow-up proving petty in hindsight. Age advances and tastes evolve—we don’t often think much of the phenomenon because they find peers more attuned to who they’ve become just like you. But sometimes the severed relationship […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: The Limehouse Golem [2017]

“Here we go again” It took fifteen years of perseverance—acquiring the rights, losing them, and reacquiring them at the behest of screenwriter Jane Goldman stoking the fire—but producer Stephen Woolley finally got Peter Ackroyd‘s 1994 novel on the big screen as The Limehouse Golem. There were some big names attached from Merchant Ivory originating plans […]

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, […]