• 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 […]

  • hellorhighwater01

    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 […]

  • huntforthewilderpeople01

    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: The Light Between Oceans [2016]

“There’s always something to fix” Writer/director Derek Cianfrance isn’t done with cinematic tapestries of emotion quite yet as The Light Between Oceans fits his still burgeoning oeuvre perfectly. Based on M.L. Stedman‘s debut novel, the structure delivers a similar duality as both Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines before it. We spend so […]

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REVIEW: 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan] [2016]

“Until we meet again” There’s an abundance of sentimentality in Sang-ho Yeon‘s 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan], a trait you don’t necessarily attribute to a zombie action thriller. That’s not to say “The Walking Dead” doesn’t touch upon familial relationships and catharsis too, but the level of personal and emotional growth on display in these […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: City of Tiny Lights [2016]

“Death weighs heavier than heartbreak” Small-time private detective Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed) has all the swagger of a hard-boiled snoop: leather jacket on his shoulders and cigarette in his mouth, leaning against London architecture in the darkened night. His office resides above some shops, he makes friendly with local convenience store owner Mrs. Elbaz (Myriam […]

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REVIEW: London Road [2015]

“It was a complete nightmare” For anyone who believes cinema currently languishes in a rut of remakes, rehashes, sequels, and been-there-done-thats: you aren’t looking hard enough. Those works are what the media force-feeds because they’re the ones making big money come opening weekend, but there’s more out there if you’re willing. Some financiers like BBC […]

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REVIEW: Demon [2015]

“Goodbye, Python. Hello, Piotr.” Nothing’s allowed to derail the guests of a Polish wedding from having fun, not even the groom’s epileptic seizure. You just pick him up and cart him out. Send the ambulance away so it won’t scare the crowd, pump him full of meds to even him out, and simply bring out […]

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REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]

“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. […]

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REVIEW: Braindead [Dead Alive] [1992]

“Your mother ate my dog!” I knew I’d seen Peter Jackson‘s seminal gorefest Braindead (I’ve also read it described as “splatstick” horror and find it apt). I was pretty sure I had. It’s tough to think about its insane cult stature with lines a sold out crowd twenty-five years later still scream back at the […]

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REVIEW: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change [2016]

“I needed to find the people that had no choice” With a title like How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, documentarian Josh Fox dancing over the opening credits looks a bit incongruous. Here’s a film filling us with the dread of reality and all that’s happened […]

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REVIEW: Mia madre [2015]

“You don’t know how you hurt the ones you love” Life is a struggle right now for Margherita (Margherita Buy), an exacting film director who’s discovered she’s lost her grip on reality. She’s an artist with vision that seeks perfection in everyone, including herself. Do the work and good things happen. Figure out the problem […]

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REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because […]

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REVIEW: Max Rose [2016]

“Without somebody you’re nobody at all” A film centering on octogenarians isn’t an easy sell. Not even when you get a legend like Jerry Lewis to come out of retirement to deliver his first starring role in twenty years. So you have to give Daniel Noah credit—he got it done. And after a few years […]

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REVIEW: The 9th Life of Louis Drax [2016]

“More than all the fish in the sea” Ten years after Anthony Minghella optioned Liz Jensen‘s The 9th Life of Louis Drax to develop cinematically, it was his son Max who saw it begin production. The younger Minghella’s first credited screenplay, probably brought to director Alexandre Aja on set of their previous collaboration Horns, it […]

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REVIEW: Don’t Think Twice [2016]

“Your favorite bunch of weirdoes” The type of films that sting the most are the ones that are universal in emotion despite being niche in subject. So what if this tight-knit group of contemporaries championing each other’s work as they strive to improve their own are improv comedians selling out a fifty-seat theater in New […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: Linda LeThorn & the Musicbox [2012]

“She is really good at this job!” There’s nothing generic about Linda LeThorn & the Musicbox, Meg Skaff‘s quirky psychological study delving into the mind of a damaged young woman who left her aunt behind to endure a fatal disease alone despite promising to remain by her side. Linda (Aundrea Fares) was obviously affected by […]