• 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 […]

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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 […]

  • 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

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit […]

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REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two […]

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REVIEW: Lake Nowhere [2016]

“My blood is liquid offering” Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy take a page from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez‘s book by delving into slasher fare of old for their own grindhouse-type homage of Italian blood-letting, maliciously Evil Dead-esque vines, and a murderer in the vein of Leatherface and Jason Voorhees protecting a lake […]

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REVIEW: Finding Dory [2016]

“Just follow the shells” Even though Pixar’s first sequel Toy Story 2 equaled one of its best movies (many say both sequels did, although I’d argue Toy Story 3 pales in comparison to its predecessors), not even they could keep up appearances with Cars 2 and Monsters University. It’s impossible to hit as many homeruns […]

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REVIEW: Piper [2016]

It’s really quite amazing how consistent Disney/Pixar is at telling six-minute long, vibrantly rich stories without words. Each year passes with a new one arriving to build upon the last, sometimes embracing the “fun” side of things and sometimes as an expression of love. I’d put Alan Barillaro‘s Piper in the former category as its […]

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LOCARNO16 REVIEW: Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] [1991]

“You always through stones on the path” It’s been twenty-five years since Xavier Koller‘s Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] won the Best Foreign Film Oscar and yet watching it today feels urgently contemporary. Between the political unrest in Turkey and volatile international discourse pertaining to refugees as countries vehemently close their borders and American […]

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REVIEW: Florence Foster Jenkins [2016]

“There is no one quite like you” I wanted to think that Florence Foster Jenkins intrigues specifically because her story couldn’t occur today as it did then. So many contemporary celebrities willfully embrace their lack of talent now, monetizing themselves into greater successes than those with the merit to earn it. Her level of delusion—to […]

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REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically […]

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REVIEW: No Home Movie [2016]

“When I see you like that I want to squeeze you in my arms” I didn’t want Chantal Akerman‘s last film No Home Movie to be the first of hers I watched, but circumstances didn’t comply. The personal documentary’s brief history is intriguing with critical consensus seeming to be skew towards failure before her suicide […]

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REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [1977]

“I didn’t think I’d ever be happy til I met you” If memory serves, I loved Pete’s Dragon. It was on the same VHS tape as Sword In the Stone in my family, two Disney films I don’t think anyone else enjoyed. As such I watched Robin Hood a lot to keep the peace—a superior […]

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REVIEW: Café Society [2016]

“Dreams are … dreams” Ever since Woody Allen left New York City for England in 2005 to create some really spectacular films outside his usual comedic efforts of neurotic meet-cutes, I may have intentionally tried to avoid anything he made with a character he would have played himself a decade prior. I personally don’t count […]

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 […]

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: テラフォーマーズ [Tera Fōmāzu] [Terra Formars] [2016]

“Johj!” It’s the tail end of the twenty-first century and Earth has nearly overstayed its welcome with dwindling resources and over-population. Scientists believe they can release the CO2 pockets underneath Mars’ surface and move the Red Planet from -50 degrees Celsius into a human-friendly temperature and atmosphere. So mankind sends rockets of moss and cockroaches […]

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REVIEW: Sun Choke [2016]

“I think you need to clear your mind” Something happened to Janie (Sarah Hagan). Something bad. This cataclysmic event—wherein quick flashes of screams by the pool mixing with bloody red liquid screens of abstraction are all we ever see—has led her to an agreed upon house arrest. Cared for by long-time nanny Irma (Barbara Crampton), […]

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REVIEW: Suicide Squad [2016]

“Let’s just say I put him in a hole and threw away the hole” I feel for David Ayer. He seems super jazzed about his work on Suicide Squad with good reason and I’m ecstatic Warner Bros. chose him to lead this ragtag bunch of miscreants with some great outside the box hiring, but the […]