• brooklyn01

    REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

    “I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

  • jameswhite01

    REVIEW: James White [2015]

    “It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) […]

  • dope01

    REVIEW: Dope [2015]

    “Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

  • martian01

    REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

    “Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted […]

  • sebastianschipper-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Sebastian Schipper, director/cowriter of Victoria

    The word on the street about Victoria is that it’s a must-see for one reason: its entire two-plus hour runtime was captured in a single, pulse-pounding continuous take. While that aspect is definitely paramount, don’t think the film has nothing else to offer. This thing gets your blood pumping as much from the authentic performances […]

film reviews


REVIEW: Vredens dag [Day of Wrath] [1943]

“There is nothing so quiet as a heart that has ceased to beat” The Latin hymn “Dies Irae” has been highly quoted musically throughout the centuries in myriad compositions, its words a medieval tale of judgment day wherein the souls of the good are summoned to Heaven and the rest cast down to Hell’s eternal […]


REVIEW: অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu] [1959]

“How do you know I’m happy?” After beginning his career in filmmaking with the first two installments of his famed Apu Trilogy, writer/director Satyajit Ray shot two standalone works before rounding out author Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘s world with অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu]. This decision is felt as his saga capper feels much […]


REVIEW: Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] [1985]

“Champagne on the road’s better” When I saw Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] for the first time as a twenty-year old in college, I did so believing its titular nomad Mona Bergeron (Sandrine Bonnaire) was the focal point. This was a mistake. I was bored—frustrated that I was forced to care about someone who obviously […]


REVIEW: Respire [Breathe] [2014]

“Passion is harmful when it becomes excessive” There’s a lot of mirroring happening in Mélanie Laurent‘s sophomore film behind the camera Respire [Breathe]. Thinking it heavy-handed wouldn’t be impossible, but I’m not sure the story can be told otherwise. Granted, a philosophical discussion in class about passion foreshadowing events to come just as a biology […]


REVIEW: Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] [2014]

Dismissing Miroslav Slaboshpitsky‘s Cannes award-winning drama Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] as mere gimmick is easy and most especially lazy. I’d let you do so to Oscar-winning The Artist before I would this dialogue-free look at teenage rage and criminal exploitation because rendering that one silent was a purely aesthetic choice. It most certainly is here […]


BIFF15 REVIEW: In the Dark [2015]

“Atheist searching for a miracle” There’s nothing like a good cold open to set the mood and David Spaltro‘s In the Dark gets out of the gate running. It introduces us to Joan (Catherine Cobb Ryan) and Bethany Mills (Grace Folsom)—a seemingly wholesome mother and daughter duo connected by love and respect. The former has […]


BIFF15 REVIEW: They Look Like People [2015]

“You must prepare for the war” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** I do not consider They Look Like People‘s Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) being revealed as schizophrenic to be a spoiler. He goes to see a psychiatrist pretty early on and is in a constant battle with himself to figure out what’s real and what isn’t. Rather than be […]


BIFF15 REVIEW: Strange Bird [2015]

“Happy Birthday, Emma” After their screening premiere of Strange Bird at the Buffalo International Film Festival, co-writers Daniel Mecca (who also co-directs with Timothy Ringwood) and Conor O’Donnell explained how much of the short’s final cut was found in the editing room. This makes perfect sense as there’s no dialogue for almost the entire first […]


BIFF15 REVIEW: Emelie [2015]

“Everyone dies at some point” It begins with the abduction of a girl. The scene is quiet and innocuous until it isn’t—a car rolling up to a young girl to ask for directions as children play in the background. The driver says, “Are you Anna?” before a man grabs her and shoves her in the […]


BIFF15 REVIEW: Prescient [2015]

“Things would have been very different if it weren’t for her” Theodore Meridian (Michael Piccirilli) sees the future—a very specific future. If the person he locks eyes with is destined to die within 24-hours, he’ll catch a glimpse of their demise. This power has haunted him since childhood and only his Aunt Kay (Bryna Weiss), […]


REVIEW: Ich seh, Ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] [2015]

“She’s not our mom” It’s difficult to tell if Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz‘s Ich seh, Ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] fails at hiding its secret or if I’ve simply watched too many psychological thrillers to stop myself from breaking through their subterfuge for the truth. Either way, I knew what was happening about ten minutes […]


REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. […]


REVIEW: Crimson Peak [2015]

“Beautiful things are fragile” If you truly want to know what to expect from Crimson Peak you should ignore the trailers—save their ability to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic—and instead read director Guillermo del Toro‘s mission statement. In it you’ll discover that this isn’t your usual horror story. Yes it has some jarringly gruesome visuals and […]


REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]

“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding […]


REVIEW: Alienated [2015]

“Which one of the men is going to see the light?” Who isn’t self-centered? If you find someone, please let me know because I don’t think that person exists. Even when we are at our most compassionate, empathetic, or charitable, our actions are still our own. We do what we do out of love—molding our […]