• 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 […]

  • jalmarihelander-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game




    After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The Voices [2015]




“I know karate” Don’t let the wide-eyed giddiness of Ryan Reynolds‘ Jerry Hickfang fool you. There’s darkness inside him that simply hasn’t yet been coaxed out into the open. It may take a little while to see it in full force so you can truly comprehend what is going on with the Edward Scissorhands-esque bright […]

whiteearth

REVIEW: White Earth [2014]




“I don’t have any idea where it’s supposed to go” From the mouths of babes: Christian Jensen‘s White Earth is The Overnighters from the perspective of those uprooted along with the men heading to the North Dakotan oil fields. One boy remains in his trailer by himself rather than go to school while his father […]

reaper

REVIEW: La Parka [The Reaper] [2013]




“It’s your turn now” With thought provoking musings on life and death, La Parka [The Reaper] provides a unique look at Mexican slaughterhouse employee Efraín Jiménez García. A husband and father who walked by the business one day to see a “Now Hiring” sign, Efraín has worked his way up from waste sweeper to killer […]

ourcurse

REVIEW: Nasza klatwa [Our Curse] [2014]




“Except that for him everything is just a beginning” After culling together home videos documenting the early days of his son Leo Hueckel-Sliwinski‘s life along with brief one-shots of cathartic conversations had between he and wife Magda Hueckel into a seven-minute short three years ago, Tomasz Sliwinski expands their harrowing tale via the half hour […]

joanna

REVIEW: Joanna [2014]




“I may be lying but I’m still dancing” If I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told I had three months to live, I’m not sure I’d think to blog about it. But that’s exactly what Joanna Sałyga decided to do, putting her thoughts on life, death, love, and loss out into the world so […]

crisishotline

REVIEW: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 [2014]




“You’re getting a hug whether you want it or not” Let’s just say it isn’t shocking to learn the federal government has only one Veterans’ Crisis Line office. America has a long history of soldiers coming home to a lower levels of support than deserved, so the reality that every call—and the numbers are staggering […]

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REVIEW: Dinosaur 13 [2014]




“Any tampering with this scene is a federal violation and will be prosecuted” It’s crazy how something so genuine in its scientific potential to find answers about our world and fiscal assistance to a small South Dakotan town can be warped and twisted into a sideshow of legal folly. Director Todd Douglas Miller has taken […]

aya

REVIEW: Aya [2012]




“Never follow your heart” It’s nice to take the road less traveled for adventure no matter how wild or tame the unknown journey becomes. That goes for those jumping headfirst and those unwittingly brought along. Because even if you didn’t intend for the unplanned sojourn, you cannot deny its allure once it’s begun. We take […]

parvaneh

REVIEW: Parvaneh [2012]




“Sorry, can you help send money?” The human condition is on display in Talkhon Hamzavi‘s Parvaneh. Or at least a very optimistic view of what it could and should be whether it takes a little while to get there or not. We like to think there is a universal concept of goodness in us all, […]

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REVIEW: Song of the Sea [2014]




“You’re going to be the best big brother in the world” Writer/director Tomm Moore received the okay to contemporize his peoples’ folklore from the seanachai he listened to while growing up in Ireland, Eddie Lenihan. A traditional storyteller known for modernizing these same archetypes, Lenihan explained to Moore that adapting them to our time might […]

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REVIEW: La lampe au beurre de yak [Butter Lamp] [2014]




“Go and look at yourself on the photos” The butter lamp is a traditional feature of Tibetan temples and monasteries as a representation of wisdom’s illumination. The light removes the darkness of the mind to focus it and aid meditation. As Buddhists ignite a number of these lamps for funerals and pilgrimages as a way […]

phonecall

REVIEW: The Phone Call [2013]




“Can I help at all?” It’s nice to see an artist who’s unafraid to play with tragedy and find a way to make it transform into a bittersweet glimmer of hope. There’s a fine line in doing so, one that can easily consume the goal into a trite abyss trying too hard to stay afloat […]

boogaloo

REVIEW: Boogaloo and Graham [2014]




“Everyone has a dog!” There are many examples of fools that Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers could be singing about when their “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” plays during Boogaloo and Graham. It could be Mom (Charlene McKenna) and Dad (Martin McCann) still in love after years together amidst an ongoing military state in […]

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer [2014]




“Sock on put” The writing team behind The Break-Up is back nine years later with their latest comedy The Wedding Ringer. While not a slog like their first feature—I found it painful at times—Jeremy Garelick (who also directs) and Jay Lavender‘s increased entertainment value unfortunately comes at the price of the whole being a complete […]

damkeeper

REVIEW: The Dam Keeper [2014]




“Out both, I saw darkness” An inclusive metaphor, The Dam Keeper‘s young Pig is made to combat the darkness of adolescence spent as an outcast and the black ash threatening to consume his town unless he stays vigilant at the windmill dam where he lives and works. He’s the protector of all the animals below […]