• cleofrom5to701

    REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

    “You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to […]

  • highrise01

    TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [??]

    “I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then […]

  • phantomboy01

    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 […]

  • phoenix01

    REVIEW: Phoenix [2014]

    “I no longer exist” The Holocaust left thousands of survivors stripped of identity—branded by a number as though they weren’t worthy of the name given at birth. To exit such horror was to enter a new world forever changed for them as well as those lucky enough to have missed the nightmare first-hand. Pity, guilt, […]

  • mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]

    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

film reviews


REVIEW: Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm] [2014]

“Today a part of me has died and I cannot cry” For wunderkind Xavier Dolan, a film unreleased in America two years after completion is hard to believe. But that’s exactly what happened with his adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard‘s play Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm]. On the surface it should be […]


REVIEW: The Great Outdoors [1988]

“Let go of the rope” Most would probably call it lesser John Hughes—he wrote and produced with Howard Deutch taking the director’s chair—but The Great Outdoors will always hold a special place in my heart. If you asked me who John Candy was in 1990 I’d probably have said, “the guy from The Great Outdoors” […]


REVIEW: My Cousin Vinny [1992]

“I’ve just never actually seen a grit” I watched My Cousin Vinny a lot in my youth thanks in part to it being a cable TV staple. It’s been a while since my last visit with Joe Pesci‘s titular character’s antics, but the appeal of its humor never faded. I’ve continued to quote lines like […]


REVIEW: Mother & Brother [2015]

“You want me to be happy for you two fools?” There’s a lot of drama to be tapped from the relationship between parent and child, especially those with a dynamic clouded by abuse. It doesn’t have to be physical or sexual to leave a lasting mark either—constant verbal disapproval despite doing everything in your power […]


REVIEW: Felt [2015]

“I’m never safe” Today’s sexual climate needs a film like Felt to turn a mirror back. Whether it’s the long-hushed Quaalude-rape escapades of Bill Cosby finally coming to light or recent allegations pointed towards infamous party-boy and man-of-bad-decisions Patrick Kane, thinking the public can ignore society’s pervasive patriarchy and victim-blaming is dying. I won’t say […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Quiet Zone [2015]

“These are the thoughts that we grow up with” This is the type of experimental movie I can get behind because it doesn’t specifically hinge on form and form alone. What David Bryant and Karl Lemieux have done is distort their film with contextual purpose (not that others don’t, it’s just not merely abstract here). […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Rock the Box [2015]

“I’m out to destroy that virgin whore dichotomy” The story Katherine Monk brings us in Rock the Box isn’t necessarily unique when you only have to look at the Pop charts to see Miley Cyrus—or Lady Gaga to a more art-house abstraction—doing much of the same thing. What’s different between them and Rhiannon Rozier (DJ […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Mobilize [2015]

One piece of a quartet entitled Souvenir—an anthology by Indigenous artists in Canada addressing Aboriginal identity and representation—ITWE Collective member Caroline Monnet‘s Mobilize proves an invigorating sort of time lapse look at the propulsion of life from hand-made disciplines in nature to the steel behemoths of modern cities set to Tanya Tagaq‘s “Uja”. Composed entirely […]



While Howie Shia‘s aesthetic is accurately labeled gritty, that grit is less about being aggressive or “dirty” than it is about lending it an experimental film beauty gorgeous to behold against polished Hollywood studio fare. Just like its main character, BAM becomes a powder keg of duality with its two halves clashing to create something […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: リアル鬼ごっこ [Riaru onigokko] [Tag] [2015]

“Watch the ripple” If リアル鬼ごっこ [Tag] were any indication of writer/director Shion Sono‘s warped mind, I’d almost believe he films without rhyme or reason besides excess. Based upon the Japanese novel Riaru onigokko by Yûsuke Yamada—coined by some as the Stephen King of Japan—this surreal tale of three girls in one traversing a nightmarish landscape […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Catch Me Daddy [2015]

“Why did I create you?” Even though he’s absent until the film’s final sequence because the estranged daughter he’s hired bounty hunters to find is foremost in our attention, director Daniel Wolfe‘s quote explaining his story as “a man imprisoned by his own narrative” couldn’t be truer. Pakistani mobster—the only label befitting him after experiencing […]


REVIEW: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. [2015]

“Inside every Kraut is an American trying to get out” Writer/director Guy Ritchie is like that band all my friends dismiss because they think every song in their discography sounds the same to which I reply, “But I like that song.” With the exception of Swept Away—because I’ve never seen any reason to actually watch […]


REVIEW: Dark Places [2015]

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” If Gillian Flynn wasn’t the “It” author after the phenomenon that was Gone Girl the book, she surely was once David Fincher adapted it into a huge moneymaking win. What’s interesting, though, is that Gone Girl wasn’t the first of her novels to head into […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Bridgend [2015]

“There’s a new girl in town” When 79 people between 2007 and 2012 commit suicide—many teens and most without a note—within a single town, there’s definitely a story to tell. Welcome to Bridgend, South Wales. No evidence has yet been found to link them together and some parents blame the media for reporting the tragedies […]


FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Pos eso [Possessed] [2014]

“What he did left his teacher speechless” I didn’t know I wanted a horror parody in the style of “Celebrity Deathmatch” until about halfway through Samuel Ortí Martí‘s [Sam] pitch black skewering of the genre Pos eso [Possessed]. His and Rubén Ontiveros‘ script is littered with homage to The Day the Earth Stood Still in […]