• 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 [??]

    “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, […]

  • mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]

    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

film reviews


TIFF15 REVIEW: Wolkaan [2015]

“Do you remember the rest of the poem?” Writer/director Bahar Noorizadeh had this to say about her latest experimental short Wolkaan on its Kickstarter page: “As an immigrant from Iran, I am facing the slow and painful loss of language and culture from my intimate life on a daily basis. I feel a connection in […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Quelques secondes [A Few Seconds] [2015]

“I don’t want him to have his face” It starts with sex—violent sex. Out of context you don’t quite know the exact circumstances, but everything makes sense once you hear Zenib’s (Charlotte Bartocci) voice against starkly quiet images of the Parisian hosting center where she resides. Raped and left with a child she’s begun to […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Black [2015]

“Be very careful. It’s not a game.” The buzz on Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah‘s film Black is that it’s a contemporary take on a Shakespearean classic. Saying as much is an apt description and Romero and Juliet is most certainly an inspiration, but what’s neglected to be mentioned are the two novels by […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: El Adiós [2015]

“Rosana, can you help me with this?” I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of servants in this day and age. Money notwithstanding, just thinking about sitting at a dinner table and asking someone to do something you could have completed in the time it took to ask is impossible to fathom. Add the dynamic […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Fuglehjerter [Bird Hearts] [2015]

“I thought I’d go all in” Ah the quarter-life crisis. Turning twenty-six and finding you’re still at university and pretty much ignored by everyone in your life when compared to a younger brother away at a prestigious school and already published to boot. What should be Benjamin’s (André Sørum) day becomes just another family get-together, […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Concerning the Bodyguard [2015]

“A great brown burn just over the heart” It’s not surprising that Kasra Farahani‘s cinematic adaptation of Donald Barthelme‘s short satirical story Concerning the Bodyguard would attract Salman Rushdie as its narrator. Given the author’s history after publishing The Satanic Verses and having a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Khomeini calling for his death, taking part […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: (Otto) [2015]

Writers/directors/animators Job, Joris & Marieke may be my new favorite computer animation team. Unlike Pixar or Dreamworks, however, I’m not sure I’d ever want them to go feature length since their style is so perfectly suited to the short form. Their Oscar-nominated A Single Life was my first introduction to them as well as my […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Schwarm [The Fantastic Love of Beeboy & Flowergirl] [2015]

“They had to realize that love was nothing but fantasy” In the grand picture book aesthetic of Bryan Fuller‘s “Pushing Daises”, Clemens Roth‘s Der Schwarm [The Fantastic Love of Beeboy & Flowergirl] is a delightful little fantasy of over-the-top whimsy. Peter (Florian Prokop) is forced to live inside a bee suit due to killer bees […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: The Ones Below [??]

“You’re happier on the outside looking in” With comparisons to Hitchcock and Polanski, David Farr‘s directorial debut The Ones Below starts behind the eight ball straight away. There are definite moments that conjure both masters of suspense, but I’m not sure how much further they reach beyond simply sharing a genre. This isn’t the fault […]


REVIEW: The Diary of a Teenage Girl [2015]

“And now the making of a harlot” You don’t realize what might be missing from a film until it’s staring you in the face elsewhere. I love The Perks of Being a Wallflower for its universality, authentic emotions, and resonance, but there was something absent I could only see while watching Marielle Heller‘s adaptation of […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] [2015]

“Are you ok, honey?” The synopsis talks about how Olivia Boudreau‘s Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] shows a seven-year old girl (Jasmine Lemée) getting the opportunity to take a step forward towards independence. I find that to be more than a little misleading. This notion is included, especially considering her mother (Marilyn Castonguay) […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Benjamin [2015]

“She lived her life without pain. At least there’s that.” Very few things are more dramatically impossible to fathom than losing a child, but Sherren Lee‘s Benjamin goes one step further to make it so. Written by Kathleen Hepburn, the story centers on a lesbian couple—both of who are pregnant. Sophie (Kimberly Laferriere) carries their […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Never Happened [2015]

“Where’s my other earring?” For eight minutes Mark Slutsky makes sure he has us right where he wants us. Never Happened is so precisely measured in its construction and revelations that we don’t even know its true genre until the very end. Yes there’s comedy and romance and drama in its plot concerning two business […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: She Stoops to Conquer [2015]

“It’s everything you’ll never be” The TIFF description calling Zachary Russell‘s She Stoops to Conquer a “fantastical oddity” is about as spot-on a review as you can get. What else can you say about a short film depicting a struggling performance artist who applies a latex mask—transforming her into an older gentleman in hope of […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Bacon & God’s Wrath [2015]

“I prefer non-believer. Maybe infidel.” I apologize to both my grandmothers because Razie Brownstone is my new hero. Kosher for 90 years of life, it was a journey through “the Google” by way of “the internet” that shook her faith. All the questions she never thought could be answered suddenly became available with a few […]