• 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 […]

  • cleofrom5to701

    REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

    “You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to […]

  • highrise01

    TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

    “I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then […]

  • phantomboy01

    REVIEW: Phantom Boy [2015]

    “My reign will start in darkness” French directors Alain Gagnol (who also wrote) and Jean-Loup Felicioli have another winner on their hands with Phantom Boy. The much-anticipated follow-up to their Oscar-nominated animation A Cat in Paris was five years in the making and well worth the wait. With its vibrant colors muted for a NYC […]

  • phoenix01

    REVIEW: Phoenix [2014]

    “I no longer exist” The Holocaust left thousands of survivors stripped of identity—branded by a number as though they weren’t worthy of the name given at birth. To exit such horror was to enter a new world forever changed for them as well as those lucky enough to have missed the nightmare first-hand. Pity, guilt, […]

film reviews


TIFF15 REVIEW: Bang Gang (une histoire d’amour moderne) [Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)] [2016]

“I’d rather watch” A post-9/11 world rife with domestic terrorism is one our youth should be allowed to avoid. Parents seek an escape as well, though, something that risks leaving their kids alone without supervision for longer than recommended. This concept is never more prevalent than within the affluent sector of society where expendable income […]


REVIEW: Phantom Boy [2015]

“My reign will start in darkness” French directors Alain Gagnol (who also wrote) and Jean-Loup Felicioli have another winner on their hands with Phantom Boy. The much-anticipated follow-up to their Oscar-nominated animation A Cat in Paris was five years in the making and well worth the wait. With its vibrant colors muted for a NYC […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: I Saw the Light [2015]

“Remember: they can kill you, but they can’t eat you” The opening to Marc Abraham‘s I Saw the Light holds a lot of intrigue. Based on Colin Escott‘s biography about hillbilly legend Hank Williams, the start goes from a faux black and white newsreel interview with producer Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford) recounting how one-of-a-kind the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Len and Company [??]

“Be good or be gone” Hearing how deeply a film touched its cast lends a certain air that might not normally be there. Len and Company has it as Juno Temple and star Rhys Ifans both exclaimed during their TIFF premiere Q&A how affected they were by director Tim Godsall and cowriter Katherine Knight‘s script. […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] [2015]

“In fact, they hadn’t been dealt any cards” While I’m not familiar with Anders Thomas Jensen‘s solo work, I am with the films he has collaborated on opposite Susanne Bier. So to see images of his latest Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] with a weirdly disfigured and hair lipped Mads Mikkelsen readying for a […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Ville-Marie [??]

“It’s like you never do the right thing” It may only be his second feature length fictional narrative, but writer/director Guy Édoin‘s Ville-Marie is something special. The title is named after the Montreal hospital where the majority of the film takes place. From an unforgettable opening that violently shakes us awake to prepare for the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: A Patch of Fog [??]

“What happened to one guy doing another guy a favor?” After Michael Lennox‘s success with the Oscar-nominated short Boogaloo and Graham, it was only a matter of time before he’d delve back into the feature game with his debut solo fiction. Scripted by John Cairns and Michael McCartney, A Patch of Fog possesses the type […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Mekko [??]

“Time ran out” Seeking to bridge the divide between contemporary filmmaking and Native American spiritualism, writer/director Sterlin Harjo‘s Mekko provides a tale of redemption and honor worthy of both worlds. At the center is a kind-hearted soul damaged by alcohol and dark forces stemming from his old hometown’s need for evacuation due to its water […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] [2015]

“I can’t be like mom” There are no easy answers when it comes to psychological and emotional conditions. What a “normal” person believes to be so easy could very well prove impossible for another no matter how mundane or seemingly harmless the task might appear. Kimie Tanaka‘s short かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] depicts this struggle […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Dragstrip [2015]

“So hike up your pants and tighten your shoes. We’re going racing soon.” The Toronto International Film festival programmers are selling Daniel Claridge and Pacho Velez‘s short documentary Dragstrip as an “exhilarating blast of raw Americana”, but I’m not sure if it isn’t actually evidence of our affinity with the mundane instead. Shot at the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] [2015]

“Green, how I want you green.” Animator Theodore Ushev embraces yet another visual style to treat us with at the Toronto International Film Festival. From conté crayon images rotoscoped atop Jafar Panahi in 2012’s Joda to the Cubist/Constructivist homage of 2013’s Gloria Victoria, his latest Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] delves into Abstract Expressionism bearing to mind […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Semele [2015]

“Out of the way, kid” As children we crave time with our parents—especially when quality family outings prove few and far between. The titular Semele (Vasiliki Kokkoliadi) in Myrsini Aristidou‘s short film will do anything to force some face-to-face, even going so far as hitch-hiking her way to the carpentry plant where her father works […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Pojkarna [Girls Lost] [2015]

“Can’t you see it’s me?” Writer/director Alexandra-Therese Keining‘s adaptation of Jessica Schiefuer’s 2011 August Prize-winning (Sweden) young adult novel Pojkarna (translated as The Boys but changed to Girls Lost for international release) is deliciously dark and profoundly vital. It definitely lends itself to the genre with overt metaphors between three female classmates finding themselves budding […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Under Rymdskeppet [Beneath the Spaceship] [2015]

“Don’t change a winning recipe” What’s the age cut-off for friendship? It’s an interesting notion to consider because at a certain point a noticeable difference becomes intrinsically pedophilic in the eyes of society. Where a neighbor can befriend someone young as a babysitter, alternate parental figure, etc., as soon as the child hits puberty the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Bunny [2015]

“Friends of your springtime / they are all vanishing / fleeing to fables” Some films end with me desperately trying to find a way to love them to no avail. Megha Ramaswamy‘s Bunny is just such a piece. It is beautifully shot with a Wes Anderson sense of whimsical artifice that’s devoid of dialogue besides […]