• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The Prophet [2015]

“And yet you rise above them unbound” After watching the animated cinematic adaptation of Kahlil Gibran‘s The Prophet and hearing his prose poetry read out loud, I can understand both the critical pause and public adoration it’s earned this past century. It consists of the kind of inspirational tales of flowery optimism that many love […]

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REVIEW: Vredens dag [Day of Wrath] [1943]

“There is nothing so quiet as a heart that has ceased to beat” The Latin hymn “Dies Irae” has been highly quoted musically throughout the centuries in myriad compositions, its words a medieval tale of judgment day wherein the souls of the good are summoned to Heaven and the rest cast down to Hell’s eternal […]

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REVIEW: অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu] [1959]

“How do you know I’m happy?” After beginning his career in filmmaking with the first two installments of his famed Apu Trilogy, writer/director Satyajit Ray shot two standalone works before rounding out author Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘s world with অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu]. This decision is felt as his saga capper feels much […]

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REVIEW: Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] [1985]

“Champagne on the road’s better” When I saw Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] for the first time as a twenty-year old in college, I did so believing its titular nomad Mona Bergeron (Sandrine Bonnaire) was the focal point. This was a mistake. I was bored—frustrated that I was forced to care about someone who obviously […]

breathe01

REVIEW: Respire [Breathe] [2014]

“Passion is harmful when it becomes excessive” There’s a lot of mirroring happening in Mélanie Laurent‘s sophomore film behind the camera Respire [Breathe]. Thinking it heavy-handed wouldn’t be impossible, but I’m not sure the story can be told otherwise. Granted, a philosophical discussion in class about passion foreshadowing events to come just as a biology […]

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REVIEW: Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] [2014]

Dismissing Miroslav Slaboshpitsky‘s Cannes award-winning drama Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] as mere gimmick is easy and most especially lazy. I’d let you do so to Oscar-winning The Artist before I would this dialogue-free look at teenage rage and criminal exploitation because rendering that one silent was a purely aesthetic choice. It most certainly is here […]

inthedark01

BIFF15 REVIEW: In the Dark [2015]

“Atheist searching for a miracle” There’s nothing like a good cold open to set the mood and David Spaltro‘s In the Dark gets out of the gate running. It introduces us to Joan (Catherine Cobb Ryan) and Bethany Mills (Grace Folsom)—a seemingly wholesome mother and daughter duo connected by love and respect. The former has […]

theylooklikepeople01

BIFF15 REVIEW: They Look Like People [2015]

“You must prepare for the war” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** I do not consider They Look Like People‘s Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) being revealed as schizophrenic to be a spoiler. He goes to see a psychiatrist pretty early on and is in a constant battle with himself to figure out what’s real and what isn’t. Rather than be […]

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BIFF15 REVIEW: Strange Bird [2015]

“Happy Birthday, Emma” After their screening premiere of Strange Bird at the Buffalo International Film Festival, co-writers Daniel Mecca (who also co-directs with Timothy Ringwood) and Conor O’Donnell explained how much of the short’s final cut was found in the editing room. This makes perfect sense as there’s no dialogue for almost the entire first […]

emelie01

BIFF15 REVIEW: Emelie [2015]

“Everyone dies at some point” It begins with the abduction of a girl. The scene is quiet and innocuous until it isn’t—a car rolling up to a young girl to ask for directions as children play in the background. The driver says, “Are you Anna?” before a man grabs her and shoves her in the […]

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BIFF15 REVIEW: Prescient [2015]

“Things would have been very different if it weren’t for her” Theodore Meridian (Michael Piccirilli) sees the future—a very specific future. If the person he locks eyes with is destined to die within 24-hours, he’ll catch a glimpse of their demise. This power has haunted him since childhood and only his Aunt Kay (Bryna Weiss), […]

goodnightmommy01

REVIEW: Ich seh, Ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] [2015]

“She’s not our mom” It’s difficult to tell if Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz‘s Ich seh, Ich seh [Goodnight Mommy] fails at hiding its secret or if I’ve simply watched too many psychological thrillers to stop myself from breaking through their subterfuge for the truth. Either way, I knew what was happening about ten minutes […]

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REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. […]

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REVIEW: Crimson Peak [2015]

“Beautiful things are fragile” If you truly want to know what to expect from Crimson Peak you should ignore the trailers—save their ability to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic—and instead read director Guillermo del Toro‘s mission statement. In it you’ll discover that this isn’t your usual horror story. Yes it has some jarringly gruesome visuals and […]

bridgeofspies01

REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]

“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding […]