• lookofsilence01

    REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]

    “If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]

  • brooklyn01

    REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

    “I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

  • jameswhite01

    REVIEW: James White [2015]

    “It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) […]

  • dope01

    REVIEW: Dope [2015]

    “Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

  • martian01

    REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

    “Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted […]

film reviews


REVIEW: Southpaw [2015]

“This is the talk you get when you lose not when you win” The origins of Southpaw are interesting because it was born from screenwriter Kurt Sutter‘s want to collaborate with Eminem. Now try to picture Marshall Mathers after peering upon any of the bloodied and crazed publicity stills of his replacement Jake Gyllenhaal without […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] [2015]

“Where the heart is lies eternity” You can’t watch 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] without finding yourself in awe of the amazing puppet work on display. While told it was only “enhanced” by CGI, it looks as though a lot more was computer-generated than such a verb would infer. For one the smoothness […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2016]

“Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] [2014]

“It is an offense to feed the apes” A product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Advanced Program, writer/director Park Hye-mi‘s Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] is a fascinating little sci-fi adventure. The hand-drawn character design is cutesy with young faces and oversized clothing dwarfing stature, but the 2070 Busan in which they reside is brutally […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ludo [2015]

“Do you want to talk or play?” Called the national game of India by some, Pacisi has evolved throughout the centuries into multiple iterations. One of the most popular versions patented in England around 1896 is Ludo. Pretty much two to four players have four tokens each that they must race around the board in […]


REVIEW: Lila & Eve [2015]

“Talk is meaningless” A movie isn’t necessarily ruined because its so-called twist is easily deciphered, especially when the reveal is less for shock value than depicting the psychological struggle of grief. For Lila Walcott (Viola Davis), the loss of her son Stephon (Aml Ameen) as an innocent bystander to a drive-by shooting has drowned her […]


REVIEW: Trainwreck [2015]

“Monogamy isn’t realistic” Here I thought I could blame the editor for why Judd Apatow‘s films have been lackluster and overlong since The 40-Year-Old Virgin only to discover his latest Trainwreck is the first of his theatrical quintet not in part handled by Brent White. Instead we have William Kerr, Peck Prior, and Paul Zucker: […]


REVIEW: Ant-Man [2015]

“Just a tall-tale” You can tell as soon as it happens where the Marvel machine broke Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the two guys who had been developing Ant-Man to their singular vision since before the Cinematic Universe’s cohesive arc began. It’s a funny cameo with an Avenger, one where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) attempts […]


REVIEW: The Evil Dead [1983]

“There’s bodies in the cellar” It appears my friends misinformed me many years ago when my decision to watch The Evil Dead came up. I was told to skip the first because Evil Dead II was “pretty much” a remake of it anyway. Whereas the original was a straight horror, the “sequel” skewed comedic and […]


REVIEW: Mr. & Mrs. Smith [2005]

“Right. Five or six years.” It was the aggressive nature of the stories told to screenwriter Simon Kinberg by friends in couples therapy that inspired Mr. & Mrs. Smith—his MFA thesis turned half billion dollar moneymaker at the box office. The leap from the tit for tat dynamic between bickering spouses to secret lives is […]


REVIEW: The Gallows [2015]

“He’s going to choke like Charlie” Something doesn’t add up. It does if coincidence is the name of the game (and it is), but that doesn’t make it plausible to accept any revelations Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing deliver in Act III of The Gallows. It’s not ruining anything to say a main character is […]


REVIEW: La cage aux folles [1978]

“Procreation is wearing you out” The fact The Birdcage proves an almost shot for shot remake thirty years later is a testament to La cage aux folles‘ quartet of writers if not to the original stage play’s creator Jean Poiret alone. This is how funny, resonate, and timeless the material remains—enough to even provide the […]


REVIEW: Pink Moon [2015]

“Nothing is permanent” It’s a shame that films like Sal Bardo‘s Pink Moon are necessary for some to realize the true value of human life, but that’s the world we live in. Even with the Supreme Court ruling for same sex marriage throughout the United States, we are a long way towards equality. Many Republicans […]


REVIEW: Birthday [2015]

“Some assembly required” It’s not difficult to know what’s coming as soon as a Marine (Chris Gouchoe) and his wife (Mandy Moody) are seen discovering the discrepancy in their math counting down the days until his return home. She has it marked on her calendar as forty-two to go while he gently explains it’s actually […]


REVIEW: Gimme Shelter [1970]

“Like lemmings to the sea” And to think they only wanted to follow The Rolling Stones around America on tour. I wonder what Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin hoped to find in the edit via their “reactive” filmmaking philosophy because it surely wasn’t what resulted. Who could have known how dangerous things would […]