• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

armyofdarkness01

REVIEW: Army of Darkness [1993]

“Well hello, Mr. Fancy Pants” Only Sam Raimi knows how you travel from The Evil Dead‘s straight low-budget horror to the campy “ultimate experience of medieval horror” ten years later, but it’s obviously worked for him considering the series jump-started his promising career to the heights of Hollywood’s Spider-Man. Even so, that original trilogy is […]

girlintheriver

REVIEW: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness [2015]

“Because they had sworn on the Quran, I had no fear in my heart” When you read that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy‘s documentary short A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness concerns a Pakistani girl shot and left for dead who survived to become a beacon of strength and bravery, do not simply dismiss it […]

claudelanzmann

REVIEW: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah [2015]

“Claude used to be a friend of mine—he no longer is.” Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is a document of a documentarian: a time capsule of the twelve-year gestation of what’s possibly the greatest non-fiction works in cinematic history. Shoah‘s a ten-hour look at the Holocaust’s devastation via survivors and perpetrators in varying modes […]

bodyteam12

REVIEW: Body Team 12 [2015]

“My life is a sacrifice for the country to succeed” For Americans the Ebola scare was a handful of cases and nurses who weren’t as careful as they should have been. To the world it was thousands upon thousands of dead bodies—loved ones that family members can’t normally mourn because every second the deceased’s blood […]

towncalledpanic01

REVIEW: Panique au village [A Town Called Panic] [2009]

“Your car is completely broken” Based on the animated series of the same name, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar‘s feature length Panique au village [A Town Called Panic] is a far cry from short five-minute skits. With that said, it’s easy to see how it was born from such a format considering the irreverent humor […]

everythingwillbeokay

REVIEW: Alles wird gut [Everything Will Be Okay] [2015]

“We’ve come too far to turn back” It’s interesting how the phrase “everything will be okay” carries such a stigma of pandering deflection now. The words are for all intents and purposes meaningless in their true context, transformed instead to connote a sense of insecurity through hopeful platitudes without any sense of whether or not […]

dayone01

REVIEW: Day One [2015]

“This is my first job” It’s just too much: too manipulative, too familiar, and too convenient. The trouble with Henry Hughes‘ Day One all stems from one line when his American military unit’s new interpreter Feda (Layla Alizada) meets her predecessor Naz (Shari Vasseghi). They speak about being away from home and family in the […]

shok01

REVIEW: Shok [2015]

“It’s not about the bike” There’s no more poignant way to tell a tale of war than through the eyes of children. This is what writer/director Jamie Donoughue does with Shok, a short film set during the Kosovo War between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (spearheaded by the Serbians) and the Kosovo Liberation Army at […]

stutterer01

REVIEW: Stutterer [2015]

“I’m calling about my bill” We all have something about us to be embarrassed about. Some have more than one. While most see it as a major distraction no one could ever endure, however, this is rarely the case. Or at least with those you’d want to be around anyway. Few things in this arena […]

avemaria01

REVIEW: Ave Maria [2015]

“Jews have violated the Virgin!” Director Basil Khalil and co-writer Daniel Yáñez have come up with a cutely comic conceit for their short film Ave Maria. It’s the West Bank—miles from civilization—and a car carrying a Jewish man, his wife, and his mother crashes into a Catholic church run by five Arab nuns who have […]

prologue01

REVIEW: Prologue [2015]

I wasn’t sure what I was watching once Richard Williams‘ Prologue moved past its carefully drawn flower pollinated by a bee and a butterfly soaring across the screen to wipe the page clean before introducing the sharp eyes of soldiers. Their shields and spears conjured thoughts of Sparta; the lack of clothing on the men […]

wecantlivewithoutcosmos

REVIEW: Mi ne mozhem zhit bez kosmosa [We Can’t Live Without Cosmos] [2015]

The title may be Mi ne mozhem zhit bez kosmosa [We Can’t Live Without Cosmos], but the thing Konstantin Bronzit shows we really can’t live without is love. I don’t mean romantic love either; I mean the bond between two human beings whether by blood or not. A kinship like what’s cultivated in the military […]

bearstory

REVIEW: Historia de un oso [Bear Story] [2014]

While Gabriel Osorio Vargas‘ Chilean short film Historia de un oso [Bear Story] tells the tale of a sad, lonely old bear, it does ultimately prove uplifting. Here’s a creature tinkering tirelessly in his shop to put the finishing touches on what could very well be his life’s work and yet any and all success […]

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REVIEW: A Night in Casablanca [1946]

“I don’t even trust me” Even though I have never seen a Marx Brothers film, it’s pretty plain that A Night in Casablanca was a cash grab. Released five years after The Big Store (which at the time was billed as their final work), Chico had ultimately cajoled Groucho and Harpo to get back together […]

worldoftomorrow01

REVIEW: World of Tomorrow [2015]

“I had lunch today” Animator/writer/director Don Hertzfeldt includes a wealth of philosophically introspective gems within his latest sci-fi short World of Tomorrow. None, however, is more poignant than: “That is the thing about the present, Emily Prime. You only appreciate it when it is the past.” Truer words have never been spoken because so many […]