• calvary01

    REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

    “I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves […]

  • spring01

    TIFF14 REVIEW: Spring [??]

    “I’m not drunk enough to sleep in your mother’s deathbed” The first words in Colin Geddes’ TIFF description for Vanguard selection Spring are, “Before Sunrise gets a supernatural twist.” You read that as a cinephile and you push everything aside to check out what it could mean. A horror romance co-director Aaron Moorhead described in […]

  • samba01

    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 […]

  • mostwantedman01

    REVIEW: A Most Wanted Man [2014]

    “You can’t undo what’s done” You wouldn’t be wrong to assume a lot of what’s happening during the course of A Most Wanted Man are red herrings steering us away from the truth it’s suspense thriller hides, but you would be mistaken. What I love about John le Carré—admittedly removed from his text in my […]

  • guardiansofthegalaxy01

    REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]

    “I don’t learn” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best Marvel film to date would be one without a single recognizable character to anyone not already a fan. Guardians of the Galaxy has been around since 1969, but it’s the 2008 iteration by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which struck the studio’s fancy […]



film reviews

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NYAFF14 REVIEW: 失魂 [Shi hun] [Soul] [2013]

“I watch the wind and, dreamlike, vanish” Described in equal measure as a slasher horror and psychological meditation on the soul—whether from demonic possession, reincarnation, or both—Taiwan’s entry for the 86th Academy Awards ultimately proves difficult to categorize at all. Mong-Hong Chung‘s 失魂[Shi hun] [Soul] may in fact be better labeled as a drama about […]

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REVIEW: Tore tanzt [Nothing Bad Can Happen] [2013]

“Sometimes you have to defend yourself” I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the words “Inspired by true events” only appear onscreen at the end of Tore tanzt [Nothing Bad Can Happen]. The move might be specific to its American release since events as atrocious as those depicted are hardly the type to remain unknown […]

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REVIEW: Obvious Child [2014]

“Let’s do it on Valentine’s Day” It seems like a slight on the film since it’s a comedy, but I sincerely applaud Obvious Child for taking the subject of abortion seriously. Or maybe I should say naturally because while I never felt preached at from either side of the issue, I did laugh hard and […]

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REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars [2014]

“Pain demands to be felt” We all die. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Oblivion: they’re all destinations that connote life has ceased to be. This is the constant; what you do during the interim is not. So whether you’re healthy, sick, sad, or happy, you have the power to make the best of any situation. You do. […]

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REVIEW: Very Good Girls [2014]

“You didn’t want to stay and see what your special prize would be?” Writer/director Naomi Foner wants to tell us about the messiness of life through two eighteen-year old girls during their final summer before college. You’d assume they’d be the ideal candidates to do so too once they simultaneously make a pact to lose […]

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REVIEW: Jersey Boys [2014]

“Aren’t you supposed to be home by eleven?” The end credits of Clint Eastwood‘s Jersey Boys steal the show. A bombastic number lasting a couple minutes has the entire cast singing “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” with genuine excitement through a staged New Jersey street and it gives us exactly what the previous two […]

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REVIEW: 설국열차 [Snowpiercer] [2013]

“Is it time?” When talk surrounding the US release of Kar Wai Wong‘s The Grandmaster erupted in controversy about a truncated cut from the Weinsteins, cinephiles across the nation couldn’t help but let depression set in. Even so, no one could have been surprised by the decision because Harvey Scissorhands likes to streamline story for […]

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REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon 2 [2014]

“What you’re searching for is in here” With ten children’s books already published—and two more planned—Cressida Cowell has given Dreamworks animation a ton of material to adapt whether adhered to religiously or not. Their success on How to Train Your Dragon caught many off guard while earning a place in the hearts of children and […]

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REVIEW: The Immigrant [2014]

“The things you do to survive” While we may not possess that ideal “good” so many want to believe is intrinsic to humanity, sometimes even the worst of us can at the very least find a shred of remorse. “Sorry” will never be enough, though. It never can. But that lapse of amorality unearthing contrition […]

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REVIEW: 22 Jump Street [2014]

“Something cool!” I really wished 22 Jump Street‘s one-note joke would sustain. I really did. I even forgave the first thirty minutes lulling me to sleep with cute references to its increased production budget courtesy of its prequel’s surprise financial success like carbon copy beats built bigger and Korean Jesus getting replaced by his Vietnamese […]

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REVIEW: Coherence [2014]

“You guys want wine? Cheese? Ketamine?” If you’ve ever dabbled in theoretical physics—or watched “The Big Bang Theory”—you’ve probably heard of Schrödinger’s Cat. The cat that’s simultaneously dead and alive while unseen within a closed box also housing a vial of poison? Two realities co-existing with the only certainty being that both are possible until […]

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REVIEW: Chef [2014]

“You’re trending, bro” I have to say it. A guy clueless about Twitter—who doesn’t understand tweets are public—knows what a meme is less than forty-eight hours later? Not only knows but smugly acts smarter than a woman who’s obviously his junior by legitimately asking whether she knows? It shouldn’t irk me so much, but the […]

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REVIEW: Hellion [2014]

“I will take responsibility for my actions and the consequences of those actions” The first real stunner of 2014 not from A24 has arrived with Kat Candler‘s heart-wrenching drama Hellion. Much like last year’s Short Term 12, this is a feature length film expanded from an already produced short that depicts troubled kids and the […]

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REVIEW: Edge of Tomorrow [2014]

“The only thing missing is you” When a script is placed on The Black List—an unauthorized survey of the “best” unproduced screenplays making the rounds—it’s generally a calling card for the writer. Many of these works come off to huge success and springboard the author to great heights in hopes more box office winners lay […]

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REVIEW: Ida [2013]

“Why am I not here?” A life well lived. Now there’s a concept very few of us can truly comprehend. It doesn’t mean old age. It doesn’t mean fame or fortune. It doesn’t even mean legacy, familial or otherwise. A life well lived can be ten years long or one hundred years short—the only necessity […]