• 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: 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 […]

  • REVIEW: Jackie [2016]

    “When something’s written down—does that make it true?” It’s rather intriguing how we feel we know our presidents. They represent us as a leader of the free world and we in turn love them enough to mourn their passing even when it’s decades after their run in the Oval Office ceased. But what is it […]



film reviews

TIFF16 REVIEW: Without Name [2016]

“Best to sleep with your pajamas on inside out, yeah?” For someone afraid of loneliness, Eric (Alan McKenna) sure loves putting himself in positions that can’t help isolating him from the world. A land surveyor who specializes in remote areas and works by himself unless apprentice-of-sorts Olivia (Niamh Algar) can tear herself away from her […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Zacma [Blindness] [2016]

“Hatred conceals faith” The roles have been reversed for Julia Brystygier (Maria Mamona), the once powerful colonel in the USSR’s Ministry. She interrogated countless enemies of the state, namely Catholics who rejected the communist concepts ruling them. The human body was her canvas, torture her paintbrush—nothing was out of bounds as far as acquiring the […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Fixeur [The Fixer] [2017]

“We’re journalists not activists. It’s not the same thing.” Some people can’t help themselves from striving to be the best whether that means winning a contest, getting a promotion, earning accolades, or proving you’re the only one able to accomplish an impossible task. They want to be relied upon for results. Radu (Tudor Istodor) is […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Tyttö nimeltä Varpu [Little Wing] [2016]

“Varpu Vanamo raspberry nose, teeny weeny toffee toes” The director of Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?, the hilarious 2014 Oscar nominee for Best Short Film, is back with her sophomore feature narrative Tyttö nimeltä Varpu [Little Wing]. Taking on writing responsibilities this go-round, Selma Vilhunen supplies a much more dramatic work than […]

REVIEW: For the Love of Spock [2016]

“He did” I’m not sure what the original plan for Adam Nimoy‘s documentary For the Love Spock was considering a full-length feature about the origins of a fictional character—no matter how beloved—is hardly the stuff for which theatrical releases are made. But Leonard Nimoy‘s passing during production ultimately gave the project a new motivation. It […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Jesús [2017]

“Don’t do anything stupid, lad” Adolescent hijinks turn tragic on multiple fronts in Fernando Guzzoni‘s Jesús despite my not being sure there was going to be a solid point to the film until mid-way through. Everything previous merely sat as a slice of life for the titular character, a normal everyday Chilean punk named Jesús […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: I blodet [In the Blood] [2016]

“We’re gonna have a great summer” If forty’s the new thirty, twenty-three can easily become the new thirteen. I think first-time director Rasmus Hiesterberg would agree as the man behind screenplays for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish) and A Royal Affair delves into a med student’s coming-of-age drama in I blodet [In the […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Werewolf [2017]

“It’s not your responsibility to keep him alive” Writer/director Ashley McKenzie‘s feature debut Werewolf picks up right where her 2012 short When You Sleep left off. We’re back in Canadian squalor on the poverty line with a couple barely staying afloat as society and addiction continuously seeks to drag them under into an abyss of […]

REVIEW: 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn] [1967]

“You still want noodles?” When I told a friend I was going to be watching King Hu‘s 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn], she surprisingly told me she’d already seen it. I wondered where considering the Janus Films restoration had just released this year and her response was, “El Rey.” Yes, Robert Rodriguez‘s television channel […]

REVIEW: Indignation [2016]

“You be greater than your feelings.” If I’ve seen a bleaker, more pessimistic film in the past ten years than Indignation I find myself absolutely stumped trying to think of it. Adapted from Philip Roth‘s 2008 novel by writer/director James Schamus, this look at a Korean War-era America full of fear, anxiety, sexual repression, and […]

REVIEW: Yoga Hosers [2016]

“It looks like a Vancouver hockey riot in here” You can’t fault Kevin Smith for having his heart in the right place. We can only blame his financiers for letting this True North trilogy crusade continue on with Yoga Hosers despite a short turnaround from script-to-screen neglecting the step of weighing its viability and worth […]

REVIEW: The Light Between Oceans [2016]

“There’s always something to fix” Writer/director Derek Cianfrance isn’t done with cinematic tapestries of emotion quite yet as The Light Between Oceans fits his still burgeoning oeuvre perfectly. Based on M.L. Stedman‘s debut novel, the structure delivers a similar duality as both Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines before it. We spend so […]

REVIEW: 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan] [2016]

“Until we meet again” There’s an abundance of sentimentality in Sang-ho Yeon‘s 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan], a trait you don’t necessarily attribute to a zombie action thriller. That’s not to say “The Walking Dead” doesn’t touch upon familial relationships and catharsis too, but the level of personal and emotional growth on display in these […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: City of Tiny Lights [2017]

“Death weighs heavier than heartbreak” Small-time private detective Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed) has all the swagger of a hard-boiled snoop: leather jacket on his shoulders and cigarette in his mouth, leaning against London architecture in the darkened night. His office resides above some shops, he makes friendly with local convenience store owner Mrs. Elbaz (Myriam […]

REVIEW: London Road [2015]

“It was a complete nightmare” For anyone who believes cinema currently languishes in a rut of remakes, rehashes, sequels, and been-there-done-thats: you aren’t looking hard enough. Those works are what the media force-feeds because they’re the ones making big money come opening weekend, but there’s more out there if you’re willing. Some financiers like BBC […]