• arrival01

    REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

    “A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked […]

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    REVIEW: Cameraperson [2016]

    “You’re making me cry even though I don’t understand the language” The camera doesn’t lie. It captures private moments, immortalizes public, and adds ten pounds (so maybe it does). It shows a world we can never see: at once untouched perfection and fabricated by the operator’s gaze. And as those among us age and forget, […]

  • fits01

    REVIEW: The Fits [2016]

    “Home of the Lionesses” For those who like to declare how there’s no original cinema these days: I present you Anna Rose Holmer‘s coming-of-age dance drama The Fits. Yes, the most over-used genre of all received a uniquely wonderful rendition in 2016 through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl trying to find her way […]

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    REVIEW: American Honey [2016]

    “What about you? What’s your dream?” Welcome to our disenfranchised youth. That’s exactly what Andrea Arnold puts front and center with her latest film American Honey: miscreants getting high, road tripping, and lying their way to a few bucks meant to continue the nomadic journey’s unending party. Led by outside-the-box entrepreneur Krystal (Riley Keough), this […]

  • bluejay01

    REVIEW: Blue Jay [2016]

    “You leaving room for Jesus?” While we wait the requisite nine years hoping for another installment in Richard Linklater‘s seminal Before saga, Mark Duplass is here to fill the void early with his own intimate, two person reunion of past love and current strife entitled Blue Jay. Many will scoff at this declaration and say […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Indignation [2016]

“You be greater than your feelings.” If I’ve seen a bleaker, more pessimistic film in the past ten years than Indignation I find myself absolutely stumped trying to think of it. Adapted from Philip Roth‘s 2008 novel by writer/director James Schamus, this look at a Korean War-era America full of fear, anxiety, sexual repression, and […]

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REVIEW: Yoga Hosers [2016]

“It looks like a Vancouver hockey riot in here” You can’t fault Kevin Smith for having his heart in the right place. We can only blame his financiers for letting this True North trilogy crusade continue on with Yoga Hosers despite a short turnaround from script-to-screen neglecting the step of weighing its viability and worth […]

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REVIEW: The Light Between Oceans [2016]

“There’s always something to fix” Writer/director Derek Cianfrance isn’t done with cinematic tapestries of emotion quite yet as The Light Between Oceans fits his still burgeoning oeuvre perfectly. Based on M.L. Stedman‘s debut novel, the structure delivers a similar duality as both Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines before it. We spend so […]

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REVIEW: 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan] [2016]

“Until we meet again” There’s an abundance of sentimentality in Sang-ho Yeon‘s 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan], a trait you don’t necessarily attribute to a zombie action thriller. That’s not to say “The Walking Dead” doesn’t touch upon familial relationships and catharsis too, but the level of personal and emotional growth on display in these […]

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TIFF16 REVIEW: City of Tiny Lights [2016]

“Death weighs heavier than heartbreak” Small-time private detective Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed) has all the swagger of a hard-boiled snoop: leather jacket on his shoulders and cigarette in his mouth, leaning against London architecture in the darkened night. His office resides above some shops, he makes friendly with local convenience store owner Mrs. Elbaz (Myriam […]

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REVIEW: London Road [2015]

“It was a complete nightmare” For anyone who believes cinema currently languishes in a rut of remakes, rehashes, sequels, and been-there-done-thats: you aren’t looking hard enough. Those works are what the media force-feeds because they’re the ones making big money come opening weekend, but there’s more out there if you’re willing. Some financiers like BBC […]

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REVIEW: Demon [2015]

“Goodbye, Python. Hello, Piotr.” Nothing’s allowed to derail the guests of a Polish wedding from having fun, not even the groom’s epileptic seizure. You just pick him up and cart him out. Send the ambulance away so it won’t scare the crowd, pump him full of meds to even him out, and simply bring out […]

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REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]

“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. […]

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REVIEW: Braindead [Dead Alive] [1992]

“Your mother ate my dog!” I knew I’d seen Peter Jackson‘s seminal gorefest Braindead (I’ve also read it described as “splatstick” horror and find it apt). I was pretty sure I had. It’s tough to think about its insane cult stature with lines a sold out crowd twenty-five years later still scream back at the […]

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REVIEW: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change [2016]

“I needed to find the people that had no choice” With a title like How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, documentarian Josh Fox dancing over the opening credits looks a bit incongruous. Here’s a film filling us with the dread of reality and all that’s happened […]

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REVIEW: Mia madre [2015]

“You don’t know how you hurt the ones you love” Life is a struggle right now for Margherita (Margherita Buy), an exacting film director who’s discovered she’s lost her grip on reality. She’s an artist with vision that seeks perfection in everyone, including herself. Do the work and good things happen. Figure out the problem […]

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REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because […]

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REVIEW: Max Rose [2016]

“Without somebody you’re nobody at all” A film centering on octogenarians isn’t an easy sell. Not even when you get a legend like Jerry Lewis to come out of retirement to deliver his first starring role in twenty years. So you have to give Daniel Noah credit—he got it done. And after a few years […]

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REVIEW: The 9th Life of Louis Drax [2016]

“More than all the fish in the sea” Ten years after Anthony Minghella optioned Liz Jensen‘s The 9th Life of Louis Drax to develop cinematically, it was his son Max who saw it begin production. The younger Minghella’s first credited screenplay, probably brought to director Alexandre Aja on set of their previous collaboration Horns, it […]

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REVIEW: Don’t Think Twice [2016]

“Your favorite bunch of weirdoes” The type of films that sting the most are the ones that are universal in emotion despite being niche in subject. So what if this tight-knit group of contemporaries championing each other’s work as they strive to improve their own are improv comedians selling out a fifty-seat theater in New […]