• moonlight01

    TIFF16 REVIEW: Moonlight [2016]

    “Chiron and trouble always found a way” What’s it like to be a young boy on the drug-filled streets of Miami: without friends, without family, without hope? As cliques begin to feign superiority by ganging up on the weak to prove themselves hard enough for what’s coming, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert)—or “Little” as they call […]

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    REVIEW: Hell or High Water [2016]

    “I ain’t speeding” It wasn’t long after his run as above-board Deputy Chief David Hale on “Sons of Anarchy” that Taylor Sheridan would find himself caught in awards season platitudes with Sicario, a film earning three Oscar nominations despite his screenplay not quite making the cut. Well he has a second change this January as […]

  • touchofzen01

    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 […]

  • eyesofmymother01

    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 […]

  • huntforthewilderpeople01

    REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople [2016]

    “Find water. Go to high ground. And don’t get naked.” A Māori boy and a Pākehā man go forth into the New Zealand bush. It sounds like the start to a joke. But while Taika Waititi‘s latest Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious, it’s far from being a trivial lark. There’s some weighty emotion involved […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Ya Tayr El Tayer [The Idol] [2016]

“People are dying and you’re singing?” Biopics are often difficult because the subject’s life may not contain the suspense and intrigue necessary for a film to succeed. This is why many focus on a brief period of time rather than a full life—honing in on the moment that made this person worthy of having his/her […]

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REVIEW: The Royal Road [2015]

“These inconceivable melodramas punctuate my waking life” No description of Jenni Olson‘s essay over landscapes film The Royal Road is more concise or accurate than the final words spoken upon the culmination of its 65-minute visual monologue: “I want to tell you a story about love and loss and San Francisco that reveals more about […]

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REVIEW: Blue Velvet [1986]

“Now it’s dark” After finding critical and commercial success with The Elephant Man—earning his first Oscar nominations for directing and screenplay—David Lynch became bankable enough to mount what would end up a large-scale disaster in Dune. Whereas many would probably count the latter as a failure across the board, the truth is that the sci-fi […]

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REVIEW: Presenting Princess Shaw [2016]

“Why am I going in the same direction with no direction?” Even though Presenting Princess Shaw isn’t a film about filmmaking, you can’t help wondering about the logistics of its creation considering director Ido Haar is listed as the project’s sole cinematographer. The story of Princess (Samantha Montgomery) and Kutiman (Ophir Kutiel) focuses on music […]

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REVIEW: Alice Through the Looking Glass [2016]

“Everyone parts with everything eventually, my dear” Now that the whole “should we reboot or create a sequel or just go ahead and do both at once” debacle is over thanks to Tim Burton‘s misguided Alice in Wonderland, maybe Disney’s desire to create an imaginative and surprisingly dark franchise of the absurd could find creative […]

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REVIEW: Holy Hell [2016]

“Maybe it’s worth it” Every story containing religious or spiritual content inherently brings with it supporters and detractors beholden to personal agendas either from experience or unwavering positions of faith. It’s difficult subject matter to truly expose objectively because religion and spirituality are by definition subjective when compared against an infinite number of other similar […]

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REVIEW: Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] [1929]

Labeled the best documentary of all time by Sight & Sound in 2014, Dziga Vertov‘s Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] lives up to its pedigree thanks in no small part to the level of cinematic innovation somehow utilized as far back as 1929. Besides the obvious period clothing and […]

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REVIEW: Sing Street [2016]

“Happy sad” Writer/director John Carney emotionally stripped ex-The Frames bandmate Glen Hansard bare in his 2007 feature film Once and now he does it to himself. The hiccup that was an attempt to recreate lightning in a bottle despite the conscious addition of polish and star appeal with Begin Again is thankfully a distant memory […]

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REVIEW: Midnight Special [2016]

“Where do you belong?” Is young Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) the savior of the human race, born to unsuspecting parents inside a cult known as The Ranch in order to bring them salvation? Is he somehow an expert hacker infiltrating the NSA’s foolproof satellite transmissions courtesy of an uncanny technokinetic power no one can explain? […]

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REVIEW: L [2012]

“From your blood, reckless car drivers!” A bankrupt nation suffering from severe depression that’s ripe for surrealistic cinematic escape, Greece has spawned some wild films lately. Whereas Dogtooth possessed a plot you could dig into as an outsider, however, I’m at somewhat of a loss with Babis Makridis‘ L. There’s definitely a strain of social […]

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REVIEW: The Nice Guys [2016]

“You will never be happy :)” Even a huge Shane Black fan like myself won’t necessarily tell you his style has nuance. You watch his directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (released almost a decade after his previous screenwriting credit) and you feel its kinship to his scripting debut Lethal Weapon. His most recent assignment […]

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REVIEW: Elstree 1976 [2016]

“There wasn’t a lot of certainty as to what it would be” Everybody knows Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and announced they’d be producing a new Star Wars trilogy and spin-off features, everyone knew those three would be back in the fold. Even guys like Peter […]

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REVIEW: Welcome to Happiness [2016]

“But then …” When you think of short stories like W.W. Jacobs‘ “The Monkey’s Paw” or Richard Matheson‘s “Button, Button” (adapted to the small screen for “The Twilight Zone” and big for Richard Kelly‘s underrated The Box), dark images of death are conjured. The consequences of earning personal reward come at great cost to those […]

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REVIEW: Money Monster [2016]

“It’s time to throw some punches” The show must and will go on. This is the lesson Jodie Foster‘s latest thriller Money Monster provides above its suspense-fueled look into corporate greed and Wall Street’s seemingly Teflon-covered skin. I don’t know if it was written this way by Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, and Jamie Linden or […]

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REVIEW: Sueñan los androides [Androids Dream] [2015]

“I see many tears” Back in 1962 author Philip K. Dick asked the question, “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” From there director Ridley Scott brought Blade Runner to life in 1982 and today we have Spaniard Ion De Sosa commenting on the query himself with Sueñan los androids [Androids Dream]. For him the answer […]