• overnighters01

    REVIEW: The Overnighters [2014]

    “Just because you tough enough” The easiest thing I could say about The Overnighters is that director Jesse Moss got lucky. He looked to tell the story about a pastor doing God’s will against his congregation’s trepidation to house over a thousand strangers arrived in Williston, ND seeking employment within the area’s oil boom. Through […]

  • johnridley-interview01

    INTERVIEW: John Ridley, writer/director of Jimi: All Is By My Side

    After all the talk from last year’s TIFF centered around the eventually Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, you can’t blame yourself for forgetting its Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley brought another film he both wrote and directed. Jimi: All Is By My Side flew under the radar and was mired by a media blitz […]

  • calvary01

    REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

    “I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves […]

  • spring01

    TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [??]

    “I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in […]

  • samba01

    TIFF14 REVIEW: Samba [2014]

    “Red paper. Then … no more.” Every movie should have a score by Ludovico Einaudi and it’s comforting to see Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano agree. After using his haunting music on the brilliant Intouchables, the duo take a few tracks from his album In a Time Lapse to enhance their latest work Samba. Another […]



film reviews

biophilia01

REVIEW: Björk: Biophilia Live [2014]

“If you feel like dancing, don’t stop yourself” Icelandic musician Björk has always been somewhat uncategorizable with a career that’s uniquely evolved to the beat of her own electronic drum. There was the infamous swan dress, her critically acclaimed foray into acting for Lars von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark, collaborations with cutting edge artists […]

beatsofantonov01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Beats of the Antonov [??]

“Laughter is like a new birth” Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka‘s documentary Beats of the Antonov is smartly constructed in a way that eases us into the political message and hope for peace lying underneath the music and laughter initially portrayed. Beginning with a look at the people residing in the Blue Nile and the Nuba […]

thisiswhereileaveyou01

REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. […]

tusk01

REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed […]

riotclub01

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants […]

farfrommen01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Loin des hommes [Far From Men] [??]

“I’m not taking you anywhere. Tomorrow you’re leaving.” Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because its powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read […]

adultbeginners01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Adult Beginners [2015]

“What? Never seen a kid in a suitcase before?” No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the […]

calvary01

REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

“I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves […]

still01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Still [2014]

“See? Told you everything would be fine.” Co-written with Kaveh Mohebbi and directed by Slater Jewell-Kemker, the psychological science fiction Still is a captivating yarn I initially believed was done a disservice by being too short. I found myself wondering about these characters—Emily Piggford‘s Sadie and Giacomo Gianniotti‘s Jake—and what their dynamic was before getting […]

spring01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [??]

“I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in […]

killmethreetimes01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Kill Me Three Times [2014]

“Quality always costs” Director Kriv Stenders left the audience seated for his latest film Kill Me Three Times with the words, “I hope you have as much fun watching as we had making it”. I doubt I did, but I cannot deny it wasn’t the sort of entertaining romp that keeps you on your toes […]

bangbangbaby01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Bang Bang Baby [2015]

“I am that. I am the service station.” Harkening back to the era of its setting, Bang Bang Baby embraces the over-the-top aesthetic of 1963 entertainment with small town girl Stepphy (Jane Levy) dreaming big for a chance at stardom in New York City. Overproduced, old-timey vocals emanate from her mouth as faux backdrops provide […]

cobbler01

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [??]

“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to […]

dukeofburgundy01

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Duke of Burgundy [??]

“The colder the better” Sometimes you just need to cleanse your palette or expand your mind by checking out a film even the director says is all about the experience. So when Peter Strickland explains how he tried hard not to make us want to find metaphor or meaning beyond what’s onscreen, I’m going to […]

welcometome01

TIFF14 REVIEW: Welcome to Me [??]

“And only five carbohydrants” There’s a great reference in Welcome to Me about Cindy Sherman that many may gloss over. Director Shira Piven and screenwriter Eliot Laurence made mention to Network and The Truman Show during their Q&A after my TIFF screening, but I don’t think such comparisons hold a candle to Sherman’s photography challenging […]