• hellorhighwater01

    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 […]

  • swissarmyman01

    REVIEW: Swiss Army Man [2016]

    “I don’t want to die alone” You can never be sure about a marketing campaign using a phrase like, “You’ve heard it a million times, but this time it’s true. You’ve never seen a movie like Swiss Army Man.” What type of ploy are they engaging in? We all know it’s been affectionately called (and […]



film reviews

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LOCARNO16 REVIEW: Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] [1991]

“You always through stones on the path” It’s been twenty-five years since Xavier Koller‘s Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] won the Best Foreign Film Oscar and yet watching it today feels urgently contemporary. Between the political unrest in Turkey and volatile international discourse pertaining to refugees as countries vehemently close their borders and American […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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), […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]