• arrival01

    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 […]

  • cameraperson01

    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, […]

  • fits01

    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 […]

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    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 […]

  • bluejay01

    REVIEW: Blue Jay [2016]

    “You leaving room for Jesus?” While we wait the requisite nine years hoping for another installment in Richard Linklater‘s seminal Before saga, Mark Duplass is here to fill the void early with his own intimate, two person reunion of past love and current strife entitled Blue Jay. Many will scoff at this declaration and say […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The Kids Grow Up [2010]

“I think I’m just mourning her childhood” It’s easy to get caught up in the extreme physical and mental alterations that occur during the life of a child from adolescence to adulthood and forget the parents’ evolution paralleling it so closely. How children age and mature is a direct response to this relationship whether with […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Tank 432 [2016]

“Suck it in, remember your training, and get on with it” Director Ben Wheatley is showing his eye for talent by putting his name behind a guy who’s worked closely with him since 2011’s Kill List. A filmmaker in his own right, camera operator Nick Gillespie has stayed by Wheatley’s side on every subsequent project […]

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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 […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Let Me Make You a Martyr [2016]

“You can’t fight fate” There’s a lot more to Corey Asraf and John Swab‘s debut feature Let Me Make You a Martyr than meets the eye. It looks like your run-of-the-mill revenge thriller with its prodigal son (Niko Nicotera‘s Drew Glass) returning home after an extended stay away to right the wrongs of the past. […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Man Underground [2016]

“There’s not a lot of money in being a true patriot these days” Aliens are here. That’s the message Willem Koda (George Basil) would have us believe—the 360 viewers clicking on his YouTube channel’s posts. He’s an ex-geologist who rode a government contract until the unexplainable left him with nothing but emotional and psychological scarring, […]

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REVIEW: Lights Out [2016]

“Are you doing this to help him or hurt her?” The story behind Lights Out is one many YouTubers aspire towards because it sees Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg evolve from three years of super short online scares to a seat beside contemporary Hollywood horror king James Wan. You could call his three-minute original from […]

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REVIEW: Lights Out [2013]

It’s a bona fide YouTube to Hollywood transformation story for David F. Sandberg who along with actress Lotta Losten has been creating ultra-short horror treatments on both the Google-owned platform and Vimeo since 2013. It started with Cam Closer and has continued all the way into this year with Closet Space en route to his […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Little Sister [2016]

“It took God six days to create the universe. You should be able to get your act together in five.” Saying Zach Clark‘s Little Sister being called a comedy does a disservice to the film seems like a slight on the genre. I know. But I don’t mean it that way. What this label does—even […]

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REVIEW: Ghostbusters [2016]

“Ain’t no bitches gonna bust no ghosts” They lied. I walked out of Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters reboot to find my childhood intact. Memories didn’t disappear as the run-time progressed with cooties-infested women replacing the nerdy, elitist dickheads in jumpsuits who ran amok in New York City years ago. In fact, these 21st century scientists actually […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Never Tear Us Apart [2016]

“I was attacked by a cougar once. Her name was Janice.” It plays out exactly how you know it will, but it’s no less funny as a result. Sid Zanforlin‘s (co-written by Chris Bavota) short film Never Tear Us Apart has everything you’d want from a horror with naïve wanderers, cannibalistic hicks, dismemberment, and a […]

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REVIEW: Our Kind of Traitor [2016]

“What am I doing here?” We received two John le Carré adaptations this year, each delivering high production value, effective performances, and somewhat weak plotting. Susanne Bier‘s The Night Manager provides a “hero” between worlds—not a bona fide spy as in A Most Wanted Man or Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, not a regular man at […]

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REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]

“Loneliness is a terrible thing” While a romance on its surface, Catherine Corsini‘s La belle saison [Summertime] is really about freedom. The central relationship between Delphine (Izïa Higelin) and Carole (Cécile De France) pushes them to discover their personal identities removed from any union. The former is a farm girl yearning to break from the […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: The Alchemist Cookbook [2016]

“This human form, which I was born, I now repent” I have no clue why Sean (Ty Hickson) messes with the titular book in Joel Potrykus‘ The Alchemist Cookbook. He doesn’t seem to care about money while living as a hermit inside a hidden trailer deep within the woods—bill collectors “no longer owning him”—so gold […]

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REVIEW: Hell-Bent [2016]

“May you write some great pieces on this” For whatever reason, screenwriters Lorenzo Cabello and Shayne Kamat refused to turn their script about an underachieving journalist and his demon acquaintance into a deal with the devil scenario. Kudos, guys. There’s ample opportunity too considering Michael’s (Justin Andrew Davis) struggles to find the confidence to fight […]

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REVIEW: Tickled [2016]

“All of this over some tickling” When a journalist known for delving into the weird side of pop culture and society stumbles across an online video depicting a young man tied to a table as four other young men tickle him in a “sport” dubbed “Competitive Tickling,” there’s no way he closes that window to […]