• 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 […]

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    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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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 […]

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REVIEW: And So It Goes [2014]

“Too much noise! Too much noise!” Who wondered what The Magic of Belle Isle would be if Morgan Freeman‘s surly alcoholic was forced to warm his heart and soul to a young child that was his granddaughter rather than a neighbor? I think Rob Reiner did or else I’m not sure why he’d choose a […]

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REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011]

“These people invest in results. Not dreams.” How did the apes from Pierre Boulle‘s Planet of the Apes gain control of Earth? The 1968 film adaptation shows human/ape hybrids walking, talking, and living in civilizations—a great sci-fi conceit making us believe in a distant planet where evolution took a different turn than what happened here. […]

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REVIEW: Wish I Was Here [2014]

“You’re going to have sex with the swear jar?” It’s impossible to talk about Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here without first addressing the elephant in the room: Kickstarter. Whether you’re against his method of crowdsourcing because you believe a celebrity of his stature shouldn’t need extra funding to finance a film or steadfast in […]

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REVIEW: Garden State [2004]

“I’ll take a hug” Sometimes a movie comes along at the perfect time. Maybe it’s a story you can relate to, a work firing on all cylinders aesthetically, or something that pulls you into its emotionality and refuses to let go. Garden State was that film for twenty-two year old, college graduate me embracing my […]

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NYAFF14 REVIEW: 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] [2014]

“She’s just that kind of person” Based on a 2012 novel written by Kanae Minato, 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] is very much a product of our time. A satirical take on the Twitter age that also to a point provides a compelling murder mystery reminiscent of Gillian Flynn‘s Gone […]

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REVIEW: Repair Us [2014]

“What do you suggest we do?” There’s a moment at the beginning of Mikael Ayele and Catherine Ames‘ short film Repair Us when Nicole (Ames) is joking around with her boyfriend Brandan (Ayele) about what they can do to spice up their stagnant relationship and rekindle a waning flame. She goes through a list of […]

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NYAFF14 REVIEW: 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] [2013]

“Do you have evidence?” For fifty minutes—minus one crazy hand-to-hand combat fight on top of a fallen metal gate suspended over two adjacent buildings’ fire escapes in midair—writer/director Alan Yuen‘s 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] is a fast paced actioner that fearlessly goes to the darkest corners Hollywood never would. After it crosses that threshold of […]

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REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote […]

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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 […]