• lookofsilence01

    REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]

    “If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]

  • brooklyn01

    REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

    “I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

  • jameswhite01

    REVIEW: James White [2015]

    “It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) […]

  • dope01

    REVIEW: Dope [2015]

    “Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

  • martian01

    REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

    “Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted […]

film reviews


TIFF15 REVIEW: Into the Forest [2016]

“It reveals character” The farther we advance towards a world of complete convenience, the further we distance ourselves from self-sufficiency. Every new generation loses more skills and know-how of what humanity was capable of for millennia to survive. We choose careers in dance and the arts, leave books collecting dust when the internet is at […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Baskin [2015]

“Open the eyes of your heart” It starts off with a late night dinner scene between a quintet of cops telling crazy stories and losing their temper with the help straight out of a Tarantino movie and continues on its descent to Hell with a writhing, mashing, sexual bloodletting orgy calling to mind E. Elias […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Bang Gang (une histoire d’amour moderne) [Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)] [2016]

“I’d rather watch” A post-9/11 world rife with domestic terrorism is one our youth should be allowed to avoid. Parents seek an escape as well, though, something that risks leaving their kids alone without supervision for longer than recommended. This concept is never more prevalent than within the affluent sector of society where expendable income […]


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 […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: I Saw the Light [2016]

“Remember: they can kill you, but they can’t eat you” The opening to Marc Abraham‘s I Saw the Light holds a lot of intrigue. Based on Colin Escott‘s biography about hillbilly legend Hank Williams, the start goes from a faux black and white newsreel interview with producer Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford) recounting how one-of-a-kind the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Len and Company [2016]

“Be good or be gone” Hearing how deeply a film touched its cast lends a certain air that might not normally be there. Len and Company has it as Juno Temple and star Rhys Ifans both exclaimed during their TIFF premiere Q&A how affected they were by director Tim Godsall and cowriter Katherine Knight‘s script. […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] [2015]

“In fact, they hadn’t been dealt any cards” While I’m not familiar with Anders Thomas Jensen‘s solo work, I am with the films he has collaborated on opposite Susanne Bier. So to see images of his latest Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] with a weirdly disfigured and hair lipped Mads Mikkelsen readying for a […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Ville-Marie [2016]

“It’s like you never do the right thing” It may only be his second feature length fictional narrative, but writer/director Guy Édoin‘s Ville-Marie is something special. The title is named after the Montreal hospital where the majority of the film takes place. From an unforgettable opening that violently shakes us awake to prepare for the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: A Patch of Fog [2016]

“What happened to one guy doing another guy a favor?” After Michael Lennox‘s success with the Oscar-nominated short Boogaloo and Graham, it was only a matter of time before he’d delve back into the feature game with his debut solo fiction. Scripted by John Cairns and Michael McCartney, A Patch of Fog possesses the type […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Mekko [2016]

“Time ran out” Seeking to bridge the divide between contemporary filmmaking and Native American spiritualism, writer/director Sterlin Harjo‘s Mekko provides a tale of redemption and honor worthy of both worlds. At the center is a kind-hearted soul damaged by alcohol and dark forces stemming from his old hometown’s need for evacuation due to its water […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] [2015]

“I can’t be like mom” There are no easy answers when it comes to psychological and emotional conditions. What a “normal” person believes to be so easy could very well prove impossible for another no matter how mundane or seemingly harmless the task might appear. Kimie Tanaka‘s short かくれんぼ [Hide & Seek] depicts this struggle […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Dragstrip [2015]

“So hike up your pants and tighten your shoes. We’re going racing soon.” The Toronto International Film festival programmers are selling Daniel Claridge and Pacho Velez‘s short documentary Dragstrip as an “exhilarating blast of raw Americana”, but I’m not sure if it isn’t actually evidence of our affinity with the mundane instead. Shot at the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] [2015]

“Green, how I want you green.” Animator Theodore Ushev embraces yet another visual style to treat us with at the Toronto International Film Festival. From conté crayon images rotoscoped atop Jafar Panahi in 2012’s Joda to the Cubist/Constructivist homage of 2013’s Gloria Victoria, his latest Sonámbulo [The Sleepwalker] delves into Abstract Expressionism bearing to mind […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Semele [2015]

“Out of the way, kid” As children we crave time with our parents—especially when quality family outings prove few and far between. The titular Semele (Vasiliki Kokkoliadi) in Myrsini Aristidou‘s short film will do anything to force some face-to-face, even going so far as hitch-hiking her way to the carpentry plant where her father works […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Pojkarna [Girls Lost] [2015]

“Can’t you see it’s me?” Writer/director Alexandra-Therese Keining‘s adaptation of Jessica Schiefuer’s 2011 August Prize-winning (Sweden) young adult novel Pojkarna (translated as The Boys but changed to Girls Lost for international release) is deliciously dark and profoundly vital. It definitely lends itself to the genre with overt metaphors between three female classmates finding themselves budding […]