• 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 […]

  • mostwantedman01

    REVIEW: A Most Wanted Man [2014]

    “You can’t undo what’s done” You wouldn’t be wrong to assume a lot of what’s happening during the course of A Most Wanted Man are red herrings steering us away from the truth it’s suspense thriller hides, but you would be mistaken. What I love about John le Carré—admittedly removed from his text in my […]

  • guardiansofthegalaxy01

    REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]

    “I don’t learn” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best Marvel film to date would be one without a single recognizable character to anyone not already a fan. Guardians of the Galaxy has been around since 1969, but it’s the 2008 iteration by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which struck the studio’s fancy […]



film reviews

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Nightcrawler [2014]

“If you want to win the lottery you have to have the money to buy a ticket” There are some huge ebbs and flows in Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler. At times I loved it, others I felt bad for laughing, and some instances made me wonder what exactly it was I was watching. In the end, […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] [2014]

“So you do have a heart” I kept trying to think about what films Zhang Yimou‘s 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] reminded me of while watching. Obvious ones came to mind like Away From Her and Amour where Gong Li‘s Yu was concerned and even Atonement for Huiwan Zhang‘s Dandan. But it was a fellow […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason […]

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 […]

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REVIEW: Take Me to the River [2014]

“Everything we touched turned to gold and they couldn’t figure out how” While it could have easily become a simple behind the scenes feature for an album of three generations of Memphis soul musicians coming together to recut some hits, Take Me to the River finds room to be more. Stewarded by director Martin Shore […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Corbo [2014]

“Tomorrow the enemy will pay for our blood and tears” There’s ease to idolizing the IRA for rising against their British oppressors because the number of Irish descendants retaining a piece of nationalism at heart is huge. Movies deify them, bartenders make “Irish Car Bombs”, and the group remains in existence still hoping for the […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Wanted 18 [??]

“It means the ragheads are pissed off again” Who knew cows could be a symbol of freedom, resistance, self-sufficiency, and identity? On the surface it’s absurd and yet they became Palestinian town Beit Sahour’s greatest weapon against the Israeli occupation during the First Intifada from 1987-1993. When you’re taxed by a foreign government, forced to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Trick or Treaty [??]

“The sun rises for our people” A constant fixture with the National Film Board of Canada, director Alanis Obomsawin‘s latest documentary spans a variety of themes surrounding the weighted subject of the James Bay Treaty No. 9. Signed in 1905 by the Cree and Ojibway people, their First Nation descendants have long held it to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Listen [2014]

“Go home and pray” There is no more apt title for Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni‘s Listen except maybe Comprehend. A 13-minute gut punch dealing with the disparity of culture, language, and religion, to say too much would ruin the perfectly orchestrated dissemination of information from start to finish. It asks questions like: What do […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Knuffen [The Shove] [2014]

“I was sentenced to a shoving last night” With an opening credit sequence recalling a 70s vibe via Quentin Tarantino, My Sandström‘s surrealist take on the paranoia of uncertainty delivers humor rather than the pulpy drama you may expect from the grainy picture and thick yellow text. There is a lot of this sort of […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief] [2014]

“Patience. Everything is fine.” With a title like Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief], Maxim Bessmertnyi‘s film could go two ways. Is it about someone who steals a tricycle or about a thief that rides one? There is also a third option: a hybrid of both. This is the direction the writer/director chooses with his Macau-set tale […]