• 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 […]

  • observance01

    FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]

    “Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

  • oliviernakache-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba

    Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

  • debragranik-straydoginterview01

    INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog

    If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]



film reviews

fastfurious4a

REVIEW: Fast & Furious [2009]

“He used to date my sister” While only grossing half of its predecessor’s haul to make it seem as though Paul Walker‘s absence was a huge box office hindrance, Tokyo Drift still almost doubled its budget despite no discernible connection to the franchise that spawned it until the very end (minus its drag racing theme). […]

gethard01

REVIEW: Get Hard [2015]

“Have fun with it” It was only a matter of time before Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart paired up. The former’s fading critical success is in need of an injection of freshness to work alongside his tired shtick and the latter’s firmly planted star atop Hollywood couldn’t hurt from a little face time with a […]

insurgent01

REVIEW: Insurgent [2015]

“You have to forgive yourself” I don’t know which of the three writers credited (Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, and Mark Bomback) on Insurgent is responsible for the complete overhaul of Veronica Roth‘s source novel, but I applaud him. If not for the retention of its characters’ arcs, one could argue the majority of this cinematic […]

worldspinsmadlyon01

REVIEW: World Spins Madly On [2015]

“It’s right in front of you. Just go for it.” The above quote from World Spins Madly On could be the same words writer/director Jeremy Jed Hammel told himself when debating his next film project. In pops the idea of an unlikely romance sparking from thin air due to inexplicably forceful signs and onto the […]

uneliberation01

REVIEW: Une Libération [2015]

“The Americans are coming” ***Possible Spoilers*** The sheer number of different stories that have been told out of the atrocities committed during World War II never ceases to amaze me. It shouldn’t—such a large-scale assault on humanity is nothing if not complex. When you think about breadth of the countries, cultures, and languages involved, the […]

wildtales01

REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

“Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

track01

REVIEW: Track [2015]

“I probably should have picked up your gun” There have been many iterations of the dark morality tale known most recently as “The Scorpion and the Frog”. Before its take around 1954, however, came similar fables from Aesop (“The Farmer and the Viper” and “The Snake and the Farmer”) as well as that of Arab/West […]

deepweb01

SXSW15 REVIEW: Deep Web [2015]

“We are the darkness” Alex Winter‘s new documentary Deep Web provides many unanswered questions the future will certainly shed light on soon. This is its point. While also giving a layman’s education on its subject matter—the Dark Net within, Tor as a means to access it, Silk Road and other illegal marketplaces utilizing it, etc.—the […]

lucid01

REVIEW: Lucid [2015]

“In my dreams you’re trying to kill me” As a proof of concept for what is currently in development as an episodic series, Kevin K. Shah‘s short film Lucid provides a psychological wallop of quick cuts and disorientation. It’s ending reveals itself as a beginning for something larger—an unexplained answer to the questions we’ve been […]

itfollows01

REVIEW: It Follows [2015]

“How about that woman in the yellow dress?” It was only a matter of time before horror literally made an STD monster. With the trope of sex leading to one’s demise so prevalent in the genre, it makes sense to create a predator that jumps from one potential victim to the next via intercourse. What […]

cinderella01

REVIEW: Cinderella [2015]

“Have courage and be kind” For anyone who cannot stand singing, Disney’s latest iteration of the timeless Cinderella is catered to you. I know Chris Weitz and the other screenwriters on the project before him poured through the fairy tale’s vast lineage for every detail they could cull together into what they surely believe to […]

frozenfever01

REVIEW: Frozen Fever [2015]

“Dry Banana Hippy Hat” I liked Frozen as much as the next person for telling a familiar story in a new way with emotion, surprises, and a cute little snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad). However, I can’t imagine even the staunchest supporter of its legacy doesn’t possess some fatigue. Elsa and Anna are everywhere, “Let […]

faults01

REVIEW: Faults [2015]

“What did you lose?” There’s an inherent paradox to the universally held idea of cults being destructive. So quick to deem what occurs within them unnatural—namely a leader using his charisma to indoctrinate the weak into a “family” that understands them—we forget to acknowledge how much of our own lives follow the same pattern. As […]

tokyodrift01

REVIEW: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift [2006]

“I thought you loved me?” The Justin Lin/Chris Morgan era begins with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and it’s a welcome improvement. Not only does the visual style evolve to be less cartoonish in its power zooms, but the sense of humor finds a happy medium between The Fast and the Furious‘ severity […]

chappie01

REVIEW: Chappie [2015]

“I want to go home” I understand the general public not wanting to go as far into sci-fi as Neill Blomkamp goes with Chappie—although they loved the similar lengths of District 9—but it’s hard to believe the critical sphere has taken such a hard stance against it. Actually, maybe it’s not too difficult to believe […]