• selma01

    REVIEW: Selma [2014]

    “God was the first to cry” A civil war waged on Alabaman soil in 1965 whether President Lyndon B. Johnson felt holding off on a bill negating the South’s tactics to bar African American citizens from voting would prevent one or not. It was fought under his and the country’s eyes in the streets, on […]

  • wild01

    REVIEW: Wild [2014]

    “Cold mush dreams” The cinematic adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail seems to be getting pigeonholed hard as being solely a tale of female empowerment. It most definitely is, but I’m not sure critics should necessarily call it a day with such a generic categorization. There’s […]

  • 2014topsongs

    Top 100 Songs of 2014

    #100: Coming Home by Kaiser Chiefs #98: Gust of Wind by Pharrell Williams #96: Friday Fish Fry by Kelis #94: It’s a Longer Road to California Than I Thought by The Wind and the Wave #92: Now by Joywave #90: Take My Place by Lily Allen #88: Are You Okay? by Dum Dum Girls #86: […]

  • imitationgame01

    REVIEW: The Imitation Game [2014]

    “Shall we leave the children alone with their new toy?” It’s highly unusual for me to get invested in a biography, so when one comes along that enthralls me as fully as The Imitation Game it’s difficult to know whether I’m simply overreacting. Director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore have done what so few […]

  • starredup01

    REVIEW: Starred Up [2014]

    “Single cell. High risk.” The hype on Jack O’Connell is real. And I’m only basing that sentiment on one film. Something tells me, though, that Unbroken in a couple weeks and ’71 next year will succeed at corroborating the notion because his turn in David Mackenzie‘s Starred Up is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable like few […]



film reviews

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TIFF14 REVIEW: 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] [2014]

“So you do have a heart” I kept trying to think about what films Zhang Yimou‘s 归来 [Gui lai] [Coming Home] reminded me of while watching. Obvious ones came to mind like Away From Her and Amour where Gong Li‘s Yu was concerned and even Atonement for Huiwan Zhang‘s Dandan. But it was a fellow […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: Take Me to the River [2014]

“Everything we touched turned to gold and they couldn’t figure out how” While it could have easily become a simple behind the scenes feature for an album of three generations of Memphis soul musicians coming together to recut some hits, Take Me to the River finds room to be more. Stewarded by director Martin Shore […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Corbo [2014]

“Tomorrow the enemy will pay for our blood and tears” There’s ease to idolizing the IRA for rising against their British oppressors because the number of Irish descendants retaining a piece of nationalism at heart is huge. Movies deify them, bartenders make “Irish Car Bombs”, and the group remains in existence still hoping for the […]

wanted18a

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Wanted 18 [2014]

“It means the ragheads are pissed off again” Who knew cows could be a symbol of freedom, resistance, self-sufficiency, and identity? On the surface it’s absurd and yet they became Palestinian town Beit Sahour’s greatest weapon against the Israeli occupation during the First Intifada from 1987-1993. When you’re taxed by a foreign government, forced to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Trick or Treaty [2014]

“The sun rises for our people” A constant fixture with the National Film Board of Canada, director Alanis Obomsawin‘s latest documentary spans a variety of themes surrounding the weighted subject of the James Bay Treaty No. 9. Signed in 1905 by the Cree and Ojibway people, their First Nation descendants have long held it to […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Listen [2014]

“Go home and pray” There is no more apt title for Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni‘s Listen except maybe Comprehend. A 13-minute gut punch dealing with the disparity of culture, language, and religion, to say too much would ruin the perfectly orchestrated dissemination of information from start to finish. It asks questions like: What do […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Knuffen [The Shove] [2014]

“I was sentenced to a shoving last night” With an opening credit sequence recalling a 70s vibe via Quentin Tarantino, My Sandström‘s surrealist take on the paranoia of uncertainty delivers humor rather than the pulpy drama you may expect from the grainy picture and thick yellow text. There is a lot of this sort of […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief] [2014]

“Patience. Everything is fine.” With a title like Sanlúnche fu [Tricycle Thief], Maxim Bessmertnyi‘s film could go two ways. Is it about someone who steals a tricycle or about a thief that rides one? There is also a third option: a hybrid of both. This is the direction the writer/director chooses with his Macau-set tale […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Oh Lucy! [2014]

“Don’t get involved if she calls” You know you’re in a rut when your sister calls to tell you not to talk to your niece and you do everything you can to do just that in the hopes of some semblance of excitement—or at the very least change. So chain-smoking Setsuko (Kaori Momoi) ditches work […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Dondurma [Ice Cream] [2014]

“I’ll take whatever you have” Instead of Scott Joplin‘s “The Entertainer” signifying an oncoming ice cream truck here in the States, Turkish children must keep an ear open for the whir of a motorcycle. No matter how engaged in a game of soccer the young village boys are, they are off to the races as […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Vokseværk [Growing Pains] [2014]

“Do you think she likes this?” There is no subtly in the animal instinct category of metaphor where Tor Fruergaard‘s Vokseværk [Growing Pains] is concerned. Centering on a teenage boy (Elliott Crosse Hove‘s Fabian), this R-rated cartoon compares an adolescent’s sexual urges with that of a dog ready and willing to mount every female in […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Chop My Money [2014]

“This is my photograph for my family” Give a street kid in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo some attention with a camera and he’s going to provide you the type of footage perfectly suited for rockstar treatment. Is Theo Anthony glorifying the deeds of Manu Bahiti “Patient” Jean Christophe, warning us outsiders of the […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Prends-moi [Take Me] [2014]

“You’re needed in the intimacy room” Short film collaborators Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and André Turpin-this is their third work as a duo-focus Prends-moi [Take Me] on a job very few are fit to complete. I’ve volunteered with handicapped people as a bowling scorekeeper and have seen a wide variety of group home workers come and go […]