• 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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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 […]

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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 […]