• whiplash01

    REVIEW: Whiplash [2014]

    “I belong here” And here I naively thought the dinner sequence from The Riot Club would end up proving my favorite scene of the year despite the film itself leaving a lot to be desired. It just goes to show that you can never be sure until every prospective entry is counted because the final […]

  • interstellar01

    REVIEW: Interstellar [2014]

    “Who’s they?” Say what you will about Christopher Nolan, the man knows how to make resonate blockbusters. He knows movies—plain and simple. There has always been a power in cinema that hits us at an emotionally deep level, a window into our souls through the characters onscreen we have learned to cherish as though extensions […]

  • clockworkorange01

    REVIEW: A Clockwork Orange [1971]

    “No time for the old in-out, love, I’ve just come to read the meter.” It didn’t take long for the theatrical experience to prove essential when watching A Clockwork Orange on the big screen. As Henry Purcell‘s March from “Funeral Music for Queen Mary” plays, the frame is filled with a solid bright orange so […]

  • birdman01

    REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [2014]

    “The truth is always interesting” It’s true what the film’s Times‘ theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) says: an artist should bleed for his craft. Physically, spiritually, metaphorically—blood must be spilt so the world knows he was here, selflessly (selfishly?) making us laugh, cry, and reflect on lives well lived and squandered. This is why those who […]

  • gonewiththewind01

    REVIEW: Gone with the Wind [1939]

    “All we’ve got is cotton and slaves and … arrogance” For years I’ve thought Gone with the Wind some grand, epic romance. How else could anyone take its smoldering poster of Clark Gable ready to ravish Vivien Leigh as her dress falls helplessly from her shoulders? This advert proves as manipulative as the woman positioned […]



film reviews

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] [2014]

“So you do have a heart” I kept trying to think about what films Zhang Yimou‘s 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] reminded me of while watching. Obvious ones came to mind like Away From Her and Amour where Gong Li‘s Yu was concerned and even Atonement for Huiwan Zhang‘s Dandan. But it was a fellow […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Samba [2014]

“Red paper. Then … no more.” Every movie should have a score by Ludovico Einaudi and it’s comforting to see Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano agree. After using his haunting music on the brilliant Intouchables, the duo take a few tracks from his album In a Time Lapse to enhance their latest work Samba. Another […]

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REVIEW: Take Me to the River [2014]

“Everything we touched turned to gold and they couldn’t figure out how” While it could have easily become a simple behind the scenes feature for an album of three generations of Memphis soul musicians coming together to recut some hits, Take Me to the River finds room to be more. Stewarded by director Martin Shore […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Corbo [2014]

“Tomorrow the enemy will pay for our blood and tears” There’s ease to idolizing the IRA for rising against their British oppressors because the number of Irish descendants retaining a piece of nationalism at heart is huge. Movies deify them, bartenders make “Irish Car Bombs”, and the group remains in existence still hoping for the […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Wanted 18 [??]

“It means the ragheads are pissed off again” Who knew cows could be a symbol of freedom, resistance, self-sufficiency, and identity? On the surface it’s absurd and yet they became Palestinian town Beit Sahour’s greatest weapon against the Israeli occupation during the First Intifada from 1987-1993. When you’re taxed by a foreign government, forced to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Trick or Treaty [??]

“The sun rises for our people” A constant fixture with the National Film Board of Canada, director Alanis Obomsawin‘s latest documentary spans a variety of themes surrounding the weighted subject of the James Bay Treaty No. 9. Signed in 1905 by the Cree and Ojibway people, their First Nation descendants have long held it to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Listen [2014]

“Go home and pray” There is no more apt title for Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni‘s Listen except maybe Comprehend. A 13-minute gut punch dealing with the disparity of culture, language, and religion, to say too much would ruin the perfectly orchestrated dissemination of information from start to finish. It asks questions like: What do […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Knuffen [The Shove] [2014]

“I was sentenced to a shoving last night” With an opening credit sequence recalling a 70s vibe via Quentin Tarantino, My Sandström‘s surrealist take on the paranoia of uncertainty delivers humor rather than the pulpy drama you may expect from the grainy picture and thick yellow text. There is a lot of this sort of […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief] [2014]

“Patience. Everything is fine.” With a title like Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief], Maxim Bessmertnyi‘s film could go two ways. Is it about someone who steals a tricycle or about a thief that rides one? There is also a third option: a hybrid of both. This is the direction the writer/director chooses with his Macau-set tale […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Oh Lucy! [2014]

“Don’t get involved if she calls” You know you’re in a rut when your sister calls to tell you not to talk to your niece and you do everything you can to do just that in the hopes of some semblance of excitement—or at the very least change. So chain-smoking Setsuko (Kaori Momoi) ditches work […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Dondurma [Ice Cream] [2014]

“I’ll take whatever you have” Instead of Scott Joplin‘s “The Entertainer” signifying an oncoming ice cream truck here in the States, Turkish children must keep an ear open for the whir of a motorcycle. No matter how engaged in a game of soccer the young village boys are, they are off to the races as […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Vokseværk [Growing Pains] [2014]

“Do you think she likes this?” There is no subtly in the animal instinct category of metaphor where Tor Fruergaard‘s Vokseværk [Growing Pains] is concerned. Centering on a teenage boy (Elliott Crosse Hove‘s Fabian), this R-rated cartoon compares an adolescent’s sexual urges with that of a dog ready and willing to mount every female in […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Chop My Money [2014]

“This is my photograph for my family” Give a street kid in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo some attention with a camera and he’s going to provide you the type of footage perfectly suited for rockstar treatment. Is Theo Anthony glorifying the deeds of Manu Bahiti “Patient” Jean Christophe, warning us outsiders of the […]