• top10_2014

    Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

    I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the […]

  • wildtales01

    REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

    “Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

  • faults01

    REVIEW: Faults [2015]

    “What did you lose?” There’s an inherent paradox to the universally held idea of cults being destructive. So quick to deem what occurs within them unnatural—namely a leader using his charisma to indoctrinate the weak into a “family” that understands them—we forget to acknowledge how much of our own lives follow the same pattern. As […]

  • 2014topalbums

    Top 100 Albums of 2014

    Honorable Mention: #100: Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem #99: They Want My Soul by Spoon #98: Motion by Calvin Harris #97: The Joy of Motion by Animals as Leaders #96: Dialects by Snowmine #95: Emmaar by Tinariwen #94: The Fire is Gone by Midnight Faces #93: The Endless River by Pink Floyd #92: Count […]

  • oscars2015a

    The 87th Oscars recap through tweets …

    I’m not sure why I keep filling myself with false hope that the Oscars will one day be an entertaining show to watch. The optimism is almost completely unfounded by this point. Whether they go weird (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), safe (Billy Crystal), hip (Seth MacFarlane), or try and steal another show’s success (Neil […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: In Da Street [2014]

“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 […]

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REVIEW: The Zero Theorem [2014]

“Making sense of the good things in life” If the end were empty—as was the beginning—wouldn’t life be meaning in itself? Why do we constantly ask the question and seek its answer if so many believe our present existence is merely a stepping-stone towards eternity? If that’s truly the case one could label life as […]

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REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child […]

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REVIEW: Lilting [2014]

“Kissing is kissing” There’s no better title for Hong Khaou‘s feature debut than the one given: Lilting. It describes the pacing and aesthetic as guilt and grief intertwine with memory and reality fading together within a single camera pan for a joltingly emotive effect. It also illustrates each character’s cautious trepidation amidst tragedy and their […]

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REVIEW: The Maze Runner [2014]

“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 […]

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REVIEW: Björk: Biophilia Live [2014]

“If you feel like dancing, don’t stop yourself” Icelandic musician Björk has always been somewhat uncategorizable with a career that’s uniquely evolved to the beat of her own electronic drum. There was the infamous swan dress, her critically acclaimed foray into acting for Lars von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark, collaborations with cutting edge artists […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Beats of the Antonov [2014]

“Laughter is like a new birth” Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka‘s documentary Beats of the Antonov is smartly constructed in a way that eases us into the political message and hope for peace lying underneath the music and laughter initially portrayed. Beginning with a look at the people residing in the Blue Nile and the Nuba […]

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. […]

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REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“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 […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Loin des hommes [Far From Men] [2015]

“I’m not taking you anywhere. Tomorrow you’re leaving.” Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because its powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Adult Beginners [2015]

“What? Never seen a kid in a suitcase before?” No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the […]

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REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

“I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Still [2014]

“See? Told you everything would be fine.” Co-written with Kaveh Mohebbi and directed by Slater Jewell-Kemker, the psychological science fiction Still is a captivating yarn I initially believed was done a disservice by being too short. I found myself wondering about these characters—Emily Piggford‘s Sadie and Giacomo Gianniotti‘s Jake—and what their dynamic was before getting […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [2015]

“I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in […]