• overnighters01

    REVIEW: The Overnighters [2014]

    “Just because you tough enough” The easiest thing I could say about The Overnighters is that director Jesse Moss got lucky. He looked to tell the story about a pastor doing God’s will against his congregation’s trepidation to house over a thousand strangers arrived in Williston, ND seeking employment within the area’s oil boom. Through […]

  • johnridley-interview01

    INTERVIEW: John Ridley, writer/director of Jimi: All Is By My Side

    After all the talk from last year’s TIFF centered around the eventually Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, you can’t blame yourself for forgetting its Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley brought another film he both wrote and directed. Jimi: All Is By My Side flew under the radar and was mired by a media blitz […]

  • 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 […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Wild Wild West [1999]

“Never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance” Let’s just say that Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise dodged a bullet by backing out of Wild Wild West during its seven-year gestation. Its script probably wasn’t nearly as off-the-wall goofy at the start considering their clout as actors, but I highly doubt […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: The Hundred-Foot Journey [2014]

“You cook to make ghosts” With Chocolat and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen under his belt, The Hundred-Foot Journey isn’t anything approaching new territory for director Lasse Hallström. But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Honestly, if he can continue making feel good tales like this—bona fide crowd-pleasers—we should all be happy since […]

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REVIEW: Half of a Yellow Sun [2014]

“Go and tell your fellow witches you did not see my son” For writer/director Biyi Bandele, adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun was more than simply a job. He read her very personal account—the revolutionary at its center is based heavily on her father while each additional character and event […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Preservation [2014]

“The bear went over the mountain” When Christopher Denham‘s Preservation shows recently discharged vet Sean Neary (Pablo Schreiber) telling sister-in-law Wit (Wrenn Schmidt) about how playing war as a kid allowed him to be killed and still find his way home when the game ended, I couldn’t help think of underrated Canadian film I Declare […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Ejecta [2014]

“Something came to me” Many might take my comparing Ejecta to The Fourth Kind as a slight, but I actually enjoy that film a lot. While Chad Archibald and Matt Wiele‘s science fiction horror doesn’t pretend it’s real, the crosscutting between time and styles similarly keeps us off-balance enough to buy into the escalating danger […]

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REVIEW: Whisper [2014]

“I wanna be an astronaut” I receive a lot of unsolicited films from artists looking for reviews to help gauge audience acceptance, but Damien Kazan‘s short Whisper has to be the first from a director calling himself an “aspiring filmmaker”. It’s a small thing, but one steeped in modesty and excitement that I can’t stop […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: Boyhood [2014]

“Life don’t give you bumpers” It’s almost impossible not to consider Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood one of the year’s best films on the surface. I don’t think any version of reality has the Academy neglecting to vote it onto the Oscar ballot because it’s a cinematic feat unlike few others. To fathom the number of moving […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Time Lapse [2014]

“I believe I’ve seen my death” While ultimately a flawed film, Time Lapse does do what every memorable sci-fi brainteaser should: it makes you blind to the obvious. Well, I should rephrase that and say it made me blind because I don’t have a magical camera to capture the future and your reaction post-viewing. I […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: The Infinite Man [2014]

“Sexual congress in five” There are some great science fiction films that deal with time travel in a way blockbusters like The Terminator simply cannot due to scale and want for mass appeal. To fans of that series a movie like Primer may be too technically oppressive and intellectual while Timecrimes too dark and finite. […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: The Harvest [2014]

“God doesn’t think he’s a doctor” I can see why director John McNaughton chose Stephen Lancellotti‘s script The Harvest to be his first feature length film in thirteen years, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort. There are some cool aspects to the horror thriller that may have worked better if its 104-minute […]

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Cheatin’ [2014]

“Ella Heart Jake” Inspired by the works of James M. Cain such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, iconic animator Bill Plympton‘s Kickstarted feature film Cheatin’ is all about sex, lust, love, magic, and sex. His seventh feature film makes its Canadian debut at the Fantasia Film Festival a year and a […]

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REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor […]

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REVIEW: The Purge: Anarchy [2014]

“We’ve lost our souls to attain this peace” I enjoyed last year’s suspense horror The Purge a lot—despite high expectations for the premise actually going where it needed to prove more than another generic home invasion flick. Writer/director James DeMonaco gave us the graphic brutality its conceit promised through its claustrophobically bottled skirmish between malicious […]