• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

    Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. […]

  • REVIEW: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

    “For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]

  • REVIEW: Fences [2016]

    “A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, […]

  • REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

    “Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately […]

  • REVIEW: Manchester by the Sea [2016]

    “I can’t beat it” It’s hard to imagine a Manchester by the Sea directed by Matt Damon and starring John Krasinski, but that was the original plan. They actually brought the idea to Kenneth Lonergan—Damon acted in one of his friend’s plays on stage and also his sophomore film Margaret. Hollywood is tough, though. Schedules […]



film reviews

REVIEW: 아가씨 [Ah-ga-ssi] [The Handmaiden] [2016]

“The snake marks the bounds of knowledge” As soon as I began walking out of the theater after 아가씨 [Ah-ga-ssi] [The Handmaiden], a friend and fellow critic asked if I was the one laughing. I said, “Yes.” Parts Two and Three (of three) were legitimately funny—I’d say intentionally so. All of Chan-wook Park‘s films are […]

REVIEW: Dead Bullet [2016]

“I wanted to give you everything” If you’ve seen writer/director Erik Reese‘s debut Train to Stockholm—a personal, introspective drama—the thought of him helming a down and dirty Nevadan desert revenger doesn’t necessarily come to mind. But that’s exactly what he’s done with Dead Bullet, the successful genre jump as good a calling card as any […]

REVIEW: Army of One [2016]

“They don’t call me the psychic wizard for nothing” To hear about Gary Faulkner is to know the meaning of the phrase “stranger than fiction.” This is a Chatty Cathy of a Colorado handyman who was visited by God one afternoon while receiving dialysis and given a mission. Of everyone on planet Earth, Gary was […]

REVIEW: Doctor Strange [2016]

“It’s not about you” People love to complain about superhero origin story trappings and they’re correct. The need to introduce new characters in their own standalone piece forces writers and directors to focus on certain check stops as far as normal life, transformation, and the embracing of one’s power to find the courage to selflessly […]

REVIEW: The Opera Singer [2016]

“I never thought I’d find myself here. Yet here I am.” I often think that my lack of feeling towards pets prevents me from truly appreciating supposedly emotionally heartwrenching works because my initial reaction is to laugh. I chuckle much like the filmmakers behind John Wick wanted me to as it hinged its entire revenge […]

REVIEW: Transience [2013]

What is the packet that George (Timothy J. Cox) gives Tom (Joshua Michael Payne) in Tan See Yun‘s short film Transience? This question is running through my mind in desperate need of an answer because without one the whole proves too esoteric to reconcile. We know these two men are a couple—the former responsible, caring, […]

REVIEW: The Ivory Game [2016]

“You have to be prepared to shoot back” If you went to a Regal Cinema during the month prelude to The Legend of Tarzan‘s release you will know the insane statistics depicting the sharp decline of living elephants throughout the world. Alexander Skarsgård told us about the problem—although I’d be surprised if you weren’t cognizant […]

REVIEW: Hacksaw Ridge [2016]

“Come back home to me” It took almost sixty years before Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor, was cajoled from modesty to allow for a cinematic adaptation of his harrowing journey from Virginia to Okinawa’s blood-soaked WWII battlefield. It took another fifteen before the result hit the big screen, […]

REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into […]

REVIEW: Kate Plays Christine [2016]

“Blood and guts television” **SPOILERS Throughout** I didn’t completely hate Kate Plays Christine. Let me say that first off. I actually commend its attempt to ask serious questions about a serious subject such as depression and the affect its disease can have on an actor seeking to portray it onscreen. Look at Heath Ledger and […]

REVIEW: The Fits [2016]

“Home of the Lionesses” For those who like to declare how there’s no original cinema these days: I present you Anna Rose Holmer‘s coming-of-age dance drama The Fits. Yes, the most over-used genre of all received a uniquely wonderful rendition in 2016 through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl trying to find her way […]

REVIEW: Take Me To the River [2016]

“The beans have to come out of the oven” First-time feature writer/director Matt Sobel set out to create a film that allowed its viewers to become active participants in the story process and he’s succeeded. Take Me to the River is nothing if not ambiguous in a way that forces us to give meaning to […]

REVIEW: Certain Women [2016]

“She’s my lawyer. I’ve got reason to kill her.” I didn’t love Wendy and Lucy, the only Kelly Reichardt film I had thus far seen. The slow pacing and stripped-bare plot allowed for Michelle Williams to deliver a magnificent performance, but I found myself undeniably bored by the steady stream of troubles chipping away at […]

REVIEW: Inferno [2016]

“We’re a minute to midnight” America loves popcorn thrillers as much as Hollywood and that suits Dan Brown fine. Having Ron Howard and Tom Hanks take an interest in his character Robert Langdon definitely helps too, but the “bestseller” label would have been enough if lesser names attached instead. Whether or not Brown anticipated his […]

REVIEW: The Unspoken [2016]

“I repeat. Suspect present.” There are only so many iterations of the haunted house trope and yet they continue getting made. Sometimes we’re lucky with James Wan‘s The Conjuring series delivering fear along with period aesthetic and tense mood, but those are few and far between. More often we receive work trying hard to stand […]