• REVIEW: O.J.: Made in America [2016]

    “I’m not black. I’m O.J.” I was enjoying the summer between 6th and 7th grade when O.J. Simpson and A.C. Cowlings infamously drove a white Ford Bronco down a California interstate. Despite being only a year removed from the Buffalo Bills’ four straight Super Bowl loses, my lack of local football knowledge here in the […]

  • REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

    “A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked […]

  • REVIEW: Cameraperson [2016]

    “You’re making me cry even though I don’t understand the language” The camera doesn’t lie. It captures private moments, immortalizes public, and adds ten pounds (so maybe it does). It shows a world we can never see: at once untouched perfection and fabricated by the operator’s gaze. And as those among us age and forget, […]

  • REVIEW: The Fits [2016]

    “Home of the Lionesses” For those who like to declare how there’s no original cinema these days: I present you Anna Rose Holmer‘s coming-of-age dance drama The Fits. Yes, the most over-used genre of all received a uniquely wonderful rendition in 2016 through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl trying to find her way […]

  • REVIEW: American Honey [2016]

    “What about you? What’s your dream?” Welcome to our disenfranchised youth. That’s exactly what Andrea Arnold puts front and center with her latest film American Honey: miscreants getting high, road tripping, and lying their way to a few bucks meant to continue the nomadic journey’s unending party. Led by outside-the-box entrepreneur Krystal (Riley Keough), this […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Florence Foster Jenkins [2016]

“There is no one quite like you” I wanted to think that Florence Foster Jenkins intrigues specifically because her story couldn’t occur today as it did then. So many contemporary celebrities willfully embrace their lack of talent now, monetizing themselves into greater successes than those with the merit to earn it. Her level of delusion—to […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically […]

REVIEW: No Home Movie [2016]

“When I see you like that I want to squeeze you in my arms” I didn’t want Chantal Akerman‘s last film No Home Movie to be the first of hers I watched, but circumstances didn’t comply. The personal documentary’s brief history is intriguing with critical consensus seeming to be skew towards failure before her suicide […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [1977]

“I didn’t think I’d ever be happy til I met you” If memory serves, I loved Pete’s Dragon. It was on the same VHS tape as Sword In the Stone in my family, two Disney films I don’t think anyone else enjoyed. As such I watched Robin Hood a lot to keep the peace—a superior […]

REVIEW: Café Society [2016]

“Dreams are … dreams” Ever since Woody Allen left New York City for England in 2005 to create some really spectacular films outside his usual comedic efforts of neurotic meet-cutes, I may have intentionally tried to avoid anything he made with a character he would have played himself a decade prior. I personally don’t count […]

REVIEW: 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen] [1971]

“One should rather believe in ghosts than not” It’s enlightening to read writer/director King Hu‘s press notes that accompanied the Cannes premiere of his then newly-cut 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen]. 1975 was four years removed from the film’s original release—as two parts, a format his producers demanded to try recouping some of […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: テラフォーマーズ [Tera Fōmāzu] [Terra Formars] [2016]

“Johj!” It’s the tail end of the twenty-first century and Earth has nearly overstayed its welcome with dwindling resources and over-population. Scientists believe they can release the CO2 pockets underneath Mars’ surface and move the Red Planet from -50 degrees Celsius into a human-friendly temperature and atmosphere. So mankind sends rockets of moss and cockroaches […]

REVIEW: Sun Choke [2016]

“I think you need to clear your mind” Something happened to Janie (Sarah Hagan). Something bad. This cataclysmic event—wherein quick flashes of screams by the pool mixing with bloody red liquid screens of abstraction are all we ever see—has led her to an agreed upon house arrest. Cared for by long-time nanny Irma (Barbara Crampton), […]

REVIEW: Suicide Squad [2016]

“Let’s just say I put him in a hole and threw away the hole” I feel for David Ayer. He seems super jazzed about his work on Suicide Squad with good reason and I’m ecstatic Warner Bros. chose him to lead this ragtag bunch of miscreants with some great outside the box hiring, but the […]

REVIEW: The Grifters [1990]

“He was so crooked he could eat soup with a corkscrew” My first Stephen Frears film was High Fidelity and I loved it. A couple years later came Dirty Pretty Things and my reaction was the same. Here was a director I must keep tabs on as well as peer back towards everything pre-2000 to […]

LOCARNO16 REVIEW: Where Is Rocky II? [2016]

“You can Hollywood anything” It was around the time Pierre Bismuth won his Oscar as an original story creator on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that he stumbled upon an unknown work by Edward Ruscha via a BBC documentary. This tape captured the artist as he created a fake rock dubbed “Rocky II,” a […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: The Eyes of My Mother [2016]

“Why would I kill you? You’re my only friend.” This is isolation, suffering. It’s also normal. We on the outside see Nicolas Pesce‘s debut feature The Eyes of My Mother as the former, young Francisca (Olivia Bond) swimming in a pool of abject dread as death proves a natural evolution for all living things. For […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Shelley [2016]

“But it’s not just about the money” Everything starts so innocently that you’d be hard-pressed to realize Ali Abbasi‘s Shelley is a horror film besides the score’s dread-inducing soundscape rising to a deafening level of static. Sure the setting’s weird with Louise (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) and Kasper (Peter Christoffersen) living in the Danish woods without […]

REVIEW: Do Not Resist [2016]

“It isn’t just us. It’s everybody.” First-time director Craig Atkinson‘s Do Not Resist could easily have become an agenda piece highlighting one viewpoint of the escalating militarization of America’s police force above another. His footage on the ground at Ferguson during the protests of Michael Brown’s murder and numerous glimpses inside deliberations of city, state, […]

REVIEW: Supot [2016]

“What if I can’t stand the pain?” For some rural villages in the Philippines circumcision is a rite of passage for young boys. We’re not talking surgical removal by a doctor as a baby, though. This tradition takes place at age ten by a designated patriarch with a sharpened blade and rock. Each boy soaks […]