• 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 […]

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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 […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Mr. Church [2016]

“I learned to turn away from the sun and face the moon” If you didn’t know what you were getting into upon sitting down for Bruce Beresford‘s Mr. Church, you will following this onscreen text: “Inspired by a True Friendship.” The vagueness of this statement notwithstanding, the words ooze enough schmaltz to prepare you for […]

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REVIEW: Blair Witch [2016]

“Lisa, I’m so sorry” It was only sixteen months after the release of The Blair Witch Project that Joe Berlinger‘s sequel Book of Shadows bowed in an attempt at striking while the iron was hot. The film that was ultimately released into theaters wasn’t his cut—whether this fact has any bearing on quality remains to […]

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REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project [1999]

“I think the legend is unsettling enough” It may not have been the first “found footage” film ever made, but for a seventeen year-old like me in 1999 The Blair Witch Project might as well have been exactly that. I still remember the marketing campaign, the newspaper ads and fictionalized legend trying to make us […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: ’76 [2016]

“Love has no boundaries” It appears my first foray into Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) was well selected being the latest from director Izu Ojukwu, one of the nation’s most ambitious artists. Add some heavy hitters in Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme and ’76 delivers a wonderful sampler platter of the best talent this region […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Boys in the Trees [2016]

“Can’t end a story without a dead body” We’ve all lost friends whether from naturally parting ways or an avoidable blow-up proving petty in hindsight. Age advances and tastes evolve—we don’t often think much of the phenomenon because they find peers more attuned to who they’ve become just like you. But sometimes the severed relationship […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: The Limehouse Golem [2016]

“Here we go again” It took fifteen years of perseverance—acquiring the rights, losing them, and reacquiring them at the behest of screenwriter Jane Goldman stoking the fire—but producer Stephen Woolley finally got Peter Ackroyd‘s 1994 novel on the big screen as The Limehouse Golem. There were some big names attached from Merchant Ivory originating plans […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: A United Kingdom [2016]

“I’ve never wanted anything like I want this” Who knew the power of love ultimately won independence for the democratic republic of Botswana? I sure didn’t. But this is the based on a true story film writer Guy Hibbert and director Amma Asante have delivered with A United Kingdom. It’s a tale of racial segregation, […]

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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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TIFF16 REVIEW: Interchange [2016]

“This is not your story” Something’s happening in Kuala Lampur—something that cannot be explained. Deaths in the vein of Bryan Fuller‘s gorgeously ornate displays of murder from “Hannibal” have arrived without any leads or earthly reason. Detective Man (Shaheizy Sam) jokes that his forensic photographer needs to see a witch doctor after collapsing at the […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Tramps [2016]

“Kids menu or appetizers?” The romantic comedy formula is one that can’t help but become redundant in premise. How many different scenarios are there for two people to converge? Even so, Adam Leon may have found a new one with his meet-cute during a dead-drop gone wrong called Tramps. It should have been a painless […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Snowden [2016]

“Secrecy is security and security is victory” Remakes repackaging foreign films for American audiences are justifiable if done correctly. I’d hope our movie-going public would willingly read subtitles and experience the original artist’s vision, but we don’t live in a utopia. Dramatizing non-fiction work is equally acceptable in specific circumstances because a narrative built from […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: American Pastoral [2016]

“You told her to bring the war home” If my limited experience with Philip Roth adaptations is any indication, his novels deal in emotion. There are existential crises concerning identity involved, each a character study about life’s impact beyond the surface experiences propelling them forward. This isn’t something easily translated from page to screen when […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Catfight [2016]

“Raise a glass to trash” With a title like Catfight and the only available image showing a bloodied and battered chokehold between Anne Heche and Sandra Oh, our expectations are forced into conjuring hope for a wild, frenzied ride. Well writer/director Onur Tukel doesn’t disappoint with this broad satire of American politics and wealth disparity. […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: A Monster Calls [2016]

“You will tell me your nightmare. That will be your truth.” When your author and illustrator both win Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the same book (it may still be the only time ever), you can bet Hollywood will come knocking. Even though the production is a joint effort between Britain (the majority of its […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising […]