• INTERVIEW: Matt Tyrnauer, director of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

    Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Matt Tyrnauer‘s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City has received rave reviews across the country as it opened in limited release April 21st, 2017. Centering on Jane Jacobs—a journalist, author, and activist—the film showcases the problems inherent to how urban planners in the mid-twentieth century worked. […]

  • REVIEW: A Quiet Passion [2017]

    “Give me something pressed from truth” I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who never heard the name Emily Dickinson, although I’m probably not alone insofar as being ignorant to her work. For someone as prolific as the Amherst, Massachusetts-born poet with approximately 1,800 poems to her name, I’m sure I’ve heard at least […]

  • REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

    “Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

  • INTERVIEW: Aaron Moorhead, director/cinematographer & Justin Benson director/writer of The Endless

    As someone who loved Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson‘s Spring to the point of seeking out everything else they had done before that point, hearing about a new work debuting at Tribeca got me excited to see what they would deliver. My assumption was that it was the Aleister Crowley picture they spoke about when […]

  • REVIEW: Under sandet [Land of Mine] [2015]

    “I’ll make it home” War is a horrific reality that forces people into doing terrible things. Everyone sees him/herself as being on the side of “good” and “righteous”—look at the discrepancies from one history book to another in how education systems describe certain events to shine one’s own nation in a rosier tint than it […]

film reviews

REVIEW: The Great Wall [2016]

“I’m honored to be honored” The Great Wall of China took centuries to become what it is today. Construction began as early as 7th century BC with portions strengthened, rebuilt entirely, or expanded upon from the days of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang to the Ming Dynasty where most of what remains originated. It’s […]

REVIEW: Toni Erdmann [2016]

“That was real fear” I wasn’t sure what to think upon realizing it was Maren Ade who directed Toni Erdmann, the wild comedy that took Cannes by storm. Her previous film Alle Anderen was very much a drama—a fantastic one at that—and this switch brought intrigue. Now that I’ve finally seen it, however, it’s easy […]

REVIEW: Fuocoammare [Fire at Sea] [2016]

“The mountains couldn’t hide us” The story within Fuocoammare [Fire at Sea] is a personal one for director Gianfranco Rosi, himself a refugee from Eritrea during its war for independence at thirteen. He left his parents behind, arriving in Italy on a military plane. So to see statistics about 400,000 men, women, and children leaving […]

REVIEW: Fifty Shades Darker [2017]

“Nothing lasts” Considering the Fifty Shades of Grey series is Twilight fan-fiction barely polished from its sordid internet origins, it shouldn’t be surprising that a villain besides dominant millionaire Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) sadist side would arrive. Child molester Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger) was alluded to in the first film, but not seen. So we […]

REVIEW: Tanna [2016]

“It’s time you learned the meaning of respect” There have been countless renditions of Romeo and Juliet during the past five hundred or so years and yet its themes still haven’t grown stale. Bentley Dean and Martin Butler‘s Tanna isn’t an official retelling considering its tale is based on a real life romance, but it’s […]

REVIEW: Life, Animated [2016]

“Just your voice” It’s 2017 and yet I’m pretty sure you think about one of two things when hearing the word autism: Rain Man or vaccination. This is a shame because it only helps bolster the stigma assigned to the disorder. Pop culture has latched onto the “spectrum” with multiple examples of Asperger’s syndrome, but […]

REVIEW: The Ninth Configuration [1980]

“You have to say, ‘Simon Says.’ Then we’ll do it.” The history behind William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration adds a ton of insight into its ambitious yet lacking film adaptation. His original intent, for instance, was to create a comic novel. Blatty has even been quoted as saying he prefers the first version he […]

REVIEW: Drifter [2017]

“It’s a wasteland. There are no more rules.” You can be two things inside a post-apocalyptic wasteland devoid of morality according to writer/director Chris von Hoffmann: stoic badass on a journey of vengeance or unhinged cartoon cannibal with tongue readier to lick flesh than gun is to blow a hole in someone’s head. There’s no […]

REVIEW: Logan [2017]

“Does she remind you of anybody?” Calling any X-Men adaptation a gamble seems stupid considering the mass appeal comic book movies still hold at the box office, but Hollywood has a way of making those sentiments true when artists start bandying about the R-rated label. The standalone Wolverine films have seen what shying away from […]

REVIEW: XX [2017]

“Well I have to eat. Don’t I?” The concept is simple: task four female directors to create and film four unrelated shorts in the horror vein—with female-led casts—to be combined into a single compilation in which to show off the talents and voices of artists Hollywood continues to ignore. Tap newcomer Jovanka Vuckovic (whose “The […]

REVIEW: Fist Fight [2017]

“Never trash talk an English teacher” It’s hard to believe that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has been on the air for twelve years now, but it’s still going strong. While the show opened doors for the entire quartet of relative unknowns, Charlie Day has been the one who’s leveraged his rising star into a […]

BERLINALE17 REVIEW: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] [2017]

“People do not yet see they are miserable. We will show them!” There’s universality to Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie‘s Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] even if it is very much a Québécois film. Marking their […]

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out […]

REVIEW: Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] [1960]

“But you mustn’t always forgive” More than a story about immigrants building a new life for themselves away from the home they wished could have been theirs forever, Luchino Visconti‘s Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] is an epic journey of hubris, love, and grand dreams falling short. In three hours we […]

REVIEW: Ennemis intérieurs [Enemies Within] [2016]

“Between you and me, what’s the difference?” The definitive exchange in Hidden Figures—the one that defines America then and still today—is when Kirsten Dunst‘s personnel manager tells Octavia Spencer‘s yet-to-be-given-the-title supervisor, “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.” Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan counters without missing a beat, “I know you probably believe that.” […]