• huntforthewilderpeople01

    REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople [2016]

    “Find water. Go to high ground. And don’t get naked.” A Māori boy and a Pākehā man go forth into the New Zealand bush. It sounds like the start to a joke. But while Taika Waititi‘s latest Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious, it’s far from being a trivial lark. There’s some weighty emotion involved […]

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    REVIEW: Swiss Army Man [2016]

    “I don’t want to die alone” You can never be sure about a marketing campaign using a phrase like, “You’ve heard it a million times, but this time it’s true. You’ve never seen a movie like Swiss Army Man.” What type of ploy are they engaging in? We all know it’s been affectionately called (and […]

  • conjuring201

    REVIEW: The Conjuring 2 [2016]

    “This is the closest to Hell I ever want to go” When a formula succeeds as well as that of James Wan‘s The Conjuring and its real life subjects have as extensive a Rolodex of haunting investigations as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the prospect of a sequel arrives as both inevitability and an initial pause. […]

  • holyhell01

    REVIEW: Holy Hell [2016]

    “Maybe it’s worth it” Every story containing religious or spiritual content inherently brings with it supporters and detractors beholden to personal agendas either from experience or unwavering positions of faith. It’s difficult subject matter to truly expose objectively because religion and spirituality are by definition subjective when compared against an infinite number of other similar […]

  • midnightspecial01

    REVIEW: Midnight Special [2016]

    “Where do you belong?” Is young Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) the savior of the human race, born to unsuspecting parents inside a cult known as The Ranch in order to bring them salvation? Is he somehow an expert hacker infiltrating the NSA’s foolproof satellite transmissions courtesy of an uncanny technokinetic power no one can explain? […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The American Side [2016]

“Weaving spiders come not here” When a film shot in Buffalo, NY co-written and starring a native of the city comes across you’re desk you look upon it with a certain level of skepticism. I’ve lived here almost my entire life and I’m still guilty of seeing my hometown as a B-level sector in comparison […]

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REVIEW: The X-Files [1998]

“Survival is the ultimate ideology” I’m not sure if there’s ever been another television show besides “The X-Files” that received a cinematic adaptation while still on the air. It’s a testament to the property’s popularity and the studio’s faith because green-lighting it couldn’t have been an easy decision. While it must stay relevant to the […]

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REVIEW: A Film About Coffee [2014]

“Coffee people have to be sexy” I am not a coffee drinker. I don’t even really like the smell of the stuff either despite that usually being what non-drinkers do enjoy about the hot, cold, compressed, dripped, or frozen beverage sold almost everywhere in the United States. So to say I was completely unaware of […]

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REVIEW: 88:88 [2016]

“There is no such thing as possibility” I am not the target audience for a film like Isiah Medina‘s debut feature 88:88. It’s not simply because the 65-minute kaleidoscope of imagery and sound is an avant-garde experiment in formalism either—although that is a factor. The real reason is my never knowing poverty. I’ve never experienced […]

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REVIEW: Paris, Texas [1984]

“Don’t go yet” The first word my mind conjured after watching Wim Wenders‘ Paris, Texas was honesty. It’s delivered from lead Harry Dean Stanton all the way down to Robby Müller‘s gorgeous cinematography of untouched Mojave Desert isolation and graffiti-filled urban concrete. Nothing appears inauthentic and that’s not an easy accomplishment when you think about […]

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REVIEW: Les rencontres d’après minuit [You and the Night] [2013]

“Always follow the clues in dreams” Everyone wants to describe Yann Gonzalez‘s films as kinky escapades of campy, colorful eroticism rather than mention what lies beneath that excitingly daring sheen: a profound sense of sadness. It’s a powerful longing for acceptance and love, a desire for more than our minds believe possible. The orgy constructed […]

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REVIEW: Demolition [2016]

“She always said I didn’t pay attention” Sometimes we can’t realize we’ve taken the easy road until it’s too late. It’s crass to say, but Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) was lucky to have been abruptly slapped awake when he was. The unfortunate side effect of his rebirth from the doldrums of routine and convenience: the […]

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REVIEW: Land of My Dreams [2012]

“I want to be gorgeous” The above quote says everything. As do the lyrics to the titular song (originated by Aretha Franklin with Anna Domino providing vocals for the version used in the film) enhancing the melancholic atmosphere presented by writer/director Yann Gonzalez. His Land of My Dreams is just that: a dream. It’s a […]

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REVIEW: Louder Than Bombs [2015]

“After this I’ll slow down. I promise.” Few depict love’s pain onscreen better than Norwegian writer/director Joachim Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt. They’ve cultivated a distinct voice for character-driven dramas of friendship and romance that build and dissolve with an authentic rhythm of life’s unpredictability. Their characters ache inside and out as they deal with […]

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REVIEW: The Jungle Book [2016]

“You did not respond to reason so now you will know fear” Looking back at Disney’s 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book objectively may surprise you as it’s little more than a sing-a-long loosely tied into a low-stakes adventure of escape from the big bad jungle that’s ultimately portrayed as sympathetic if still […]

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REVIEW: Hardcore Henry [2016]

“Don’t touch that. Emma-Jean is mine.” It’s not that it hasn’t been done before—it’s just never been done like this. Writer/director Ilya Naishuller rigged GoPro cameras to his cameraman/lead stuntman’s face and let the action fly because who needs trickery when you can literally jump into the fight? Hardcore Henry is a pedal-to-the-metal adrenaline rush […]

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REVIEW: The Jungle Book [1967]

“No one explains anything to Shere Khan” It’s without a shred of nostalgia that I declare Disney’s animated The Jungle Book an entertaining romp. Having never seen it due to its absence from my stable of “classics” growing up, my affinity to the characters hailed from “TaleSpin” instead. So it was fun meeting them in […]

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REVIEW: Possession [1981]

“There is nothing to fear except God. Whatever that means to you.” It’s the early 1980s in West Berlin and graffiti everywhere screams for the wall to be taken down. Mysterious figures linger on the other side not quite hidden from view, watching with binoculars and always seemingly looking directly in our direction. Tensions are […]

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REVIEW: Eye in the Sky [2016]

“Never tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war” How do you simultaneously become hero and martyr in twenty-first century warfare? You find yourself unwittingly lodged within the kill zone of a high value target that has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt. Death or injury earns you both labels for […]

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NoHoIFF16 REVIEW: Admins [2016]

“I think I deal with more idiots” The beautiful thing about office inhabitants’ inability to muster up the initiative to learn one iota of technological troubleshooting so as not to prove beholden to an IT department that loathes them is the sheer fact nothing will ever change. While each subsequent generation has a better grasp […]