• REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

    “Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

  • REVIEW: Under sandet [Land of Mine] [2015]

    “I’ll make it home” War is a horrific reality that forces people into doing terrible things. Everyone sees him/herself as being on the side of “good” and “righteous”—look at the discrepancies from one history book to another in how education systems describe certain events to shine one’s own nation in a rosier tint than it […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2016

    Honorable Mention: #100: Above Water by Gibbz #99: Muzik by Delorean #98: Lonely Is a Lifetime by The Wild Feathers #97: iii by Miike Snow #96: Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest #95: Good Will Prevail by GRiZ #94: Blackstar by David Bowie #93: Everything You’ve Come To Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets […]

  • REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

    “Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and […]

  • The 89th Oscars recap through tweets …

    pic.twitter.com/oGJkXytnQ2 — PwC LLP (@PwC_LLP) February 27, 2017 So that actually happened. Warren Beatty opened the Best Picture envelope, furrowed his brow, and looked for another card. He’s thinking, “This is wrong.” He stalls—his body language coming off as a joke in the moment, the audience and his co-presenter Faye Dunaway laughing at what appears […]

film reviews

REVIEW: Grave [Raw] [2017]

“Two fingers will make it come up easier” We strive to become ourselves in college thanks to that first taste of freedom after adolescence’s long haul packed tightly at home and within part-time jobs and/or classes alongside peers who simply don’t want to be there. This is when we’re able to let loose and buckle […]

REVIEW: The Love Witch [2016]

“All it is is using your will to get what you want” It’s an ingenious aesthetic premise: to create new cinematic pursuits showcasing women as the empowered gender—a stark contrast to most Hollywood fare—by utilizing the old Technicolor look, feel, and tone of artifice. Writer/director Anna Biller in effect embraces the synthetic properties of her […]

REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it […]

REVIEW: Before I Fall [2017]

“This isn’t you” The comparisons to Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow are unavoidable when you have a story centering on a teenager reliving the same day over and over again like Before I Fall. It’s not bad either when each utilizes the trope in different ways and within different genres. Whether comedy, science-fiction actioner, […]

REVIEW: Brimstone [2017]

“Retribution is coming” At a time when many supposedly God-fearing Christians in America blindly fear the idea of a Muslim insurgence implementing Sharia law (itself often warped by supposed Allah-fearing men to retain patriarchal control much like their Republican counterparts dictating what a woman can and can’t do with her body), it’s crucial to remember […]

REVIEW: The Dark Below [2017]

“Love is cold” The premise that director Douglas Schulze and co-writer Jonathan D’Ambrosio have cooked up for their film The Dark Below is a bold one. This 75-minute thriller is dialogue-free save one line at the start setting everything in motion, the story instead unfolding as a series of expressions through current duress and visually […]

REVIEW: Kedi [2017]

“Without the cat, Istanbul would lose part of its soul” I’m not an animal lover, a reality one subject in Ceyda Torun‘s documentary Kedi presumes means I cannot love anything. Such a sentiment is hyperbolic, but there’s something to be said about people’s interactions with animals exposing how they’ll interact with humans too. You don’t […]

REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island [2017]

“Eating’s for the living” It’s amazing how a film’s success can create a tidal wave, but that’s exactly what Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla did in 2014. We’re talking critical acclaim, half a billion dollars at the box office, and a rejuvenated plea for monster flicks. Well the first two are fact, the third merely hope on […]

REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

“Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and […]

REVIEW: Table 19 [2017]

“Good luck with your future endeavors” I’d be very interested in reading the original script for Table 19 as drafted by Jay and Mark Duplass. If you don’t know, this 2017 release was optioned way back in 2009 with the brothers attached to direct as their fourth feature (it was competing with Cyrus as far […]

REVIEW: The Last of England [1987]

“There are more walls in England than Berlin, Johnny” While the short poem Ford Madox Brown wrote to accompany his painting The Last of England has a hopeful lilt (“…She grips his listless hand and clasps her child, Through rainbow tears she sees a sunnier gleam, She cannot see a void where he will be.”), […]

REVIEW: War Requiem [1989]

“I knew we stood in Hell” English composer Benjamin Britten was commissioned to mark the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962 (after the original was destroyed during World War II). The result is his War Requiem, a work juxtaposing the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead with poetry written by World War I […]

REVIEW: Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In] [2001]

“She’s translating menus now too” With his theatrical debut Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In], German writer/director Christian Petzold proves his most recent pair of Barbara and Phoenix were born from a mind that had always been ready to tell stories of personal emotional strife within complex circumstances. The way in which he […]

REVIEW: The Great Wall [2016]

“I’m honored to be honored” The Great Wall of China took centuries to become what it is today. Construction began as early as 7th century BC with portions strengthened, rebuilt entirely, or expanded upon from the days of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang to the Ming Dynasty where most of what remains originated. It’s […]

REVIEW: Toni Erdmann [2016]

“That was real fear” I wasn’t sure what to think upon realizing it was Maren Ade who directed Toni Erdmann, the wild comedy that took Cannes by storm. Her previous film Alle Anderen was very much a drama—a fantastic one at that—and this switch brought intrigue. Now that I’ve finally seen it, however, it’s easy […]