• Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

    Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. […]

  • REVIEW: Fences [2016]

    “A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, […]

  • REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

    “Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately […]

  • REVIEW: Manchester by the Sea [2016]

    “I can’t beat it” It’s hard to imagine a Manchester by the Sea directed by Matt Damon and starring John Krasinski, but that was the original plan. They actually brought the idea to Kenneth Lonergan—Damon acted in one of his friend’s plays on stage and also his sophomore film Margaret. Hollywood is tough, though. Schedules […]

  • REVIEW: Jackie [2016]

    “When something’s written down—does that make it true?” It’s rather intriguing how we feel we know our presidents. They represent us as a leader of the free world and we in turn love them enough to mourn their passing even when it’s decades after their run in the Oval Office ceased. But what is it […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Blair Witch [2016]

“Lisa, I’m so sorry” It was only sixteen months after the release of The Blair Witch Project that Joe Berlinger‘s sequel Book of Shadows bowed in an attempt at striking while the iron was hot. The film that was ultimately released into theaters wasn’t his cut—whether this fact has any bearing on quality remains to […]

REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project [1999]

“I think the legend is unsettling enough” It may not have been the first “found footage” film ever made, but for a seventeen year-old like me in 1999 The Blair Witch Project might as well have been exactly that. I still remember the marketing campaign, the newspaper ads and fictionalized legend trying to make us […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: ’76 [2016]

“Love has no boundaries” It appears my first foray into Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) was well selected being the latest from director Izu Ojukwu, one of the nation’s most ambitious artists. Add some heavy hitters in Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme and ’76 delivers a wonderful sampler platter of the best talent this region […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Boys in the Trees [2016]

“Can’t end a story without a dead body” We’ve all lost friends whether from naturally parting ways or an avoidable blow-up proving petty in hindsight. Age advances and tastes evolve—we don’t often think much of the phenomenon because they find peers more attuned to who they’ve become just like you. But sometimes the severed relationship […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: The Limehouse Golem [2017]

“Here we go again” It took fifteen years of perseverance—acquiring the rights, losing them, and reacquiring them at the behest of screenwriter Jane Goldman stoking the fire—but producer Stephen Woolley finally got Peter Ackroyd‘s 1994 novel on the big screen as The Limehouse Golem. There were some big names attached from Merchant Ivory originating plans […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: A United Kingdom [2016]

“I’ve never wanted anything like I want this” Who knew the power of love ultimately won independence for the democratic republic of Botswana? I sure didn’t. But this is the based on a true story film writer Guy Hibbert and director Amma Asante have delivered with A United Kingdom. It’s a tale of racial segregation, […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Moonlight [2016]

“Chiron and trouble always found a way” What’s it like to be a young boy on the drug-filled streets of Miami: without friends, without family, without hope? As cliques begin to feign superiority by ganging up on the weak to prove themselves hard enough for what’s coming, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert)—or “Little” as they call […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Interchange [2016]

“This is not your story” Something’s happening in Kuala Lampur—something that cannot be explained. Deaths in the vein of Bryan Fuller‘s gorgeously ornate displays of murder from “Hannibal” have arrived without any leads or earthly reason. Detective Man (Shaheizy Sam) jokes that his forensic photographer needs to see a witch doctor after collapsing at the […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Tramps [2017]

“Kids menu or appetizers?” The romantic comedy formula is one that can’t help but become redundant in premise. How many different scenarios are there for two people to converge? Even so, Adam Leon may have found a new one with his meet-cute during a dead-drop gone wrong called Tramps. It should have been a painless […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Snowden [2016]

“Secrecy is security and security is victory” Remakes repackaging foreign films for American audiences are justifiable if done correctly. I’d hope our movie-going public would willingly read subtitles and experience the original artist’s vision, but we don’t live in a utopia. Dramatizing non-fiction work is equally acceptable in specific circumstances because a narrative built from […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: American Pastoral [2016]

“You told her to bring the war home” If my limited experience with Philip Roth adaptations is any indication, his novels deal in emotion. There are existential crises concerning identity involved, each a character study about life’s impact beyond the surface experiences propelling them forward. This isn’t something easily translated from page to screen when […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Catfight [2017]

“Raise a glass to trash” With a title like Catfight and the only available image showing a bloodied and battered chokehold between Anne Heche and Sandra Oh, our expectations are forced into conjuring hope for a wild, frenzied ride. Well writer/director Onur Tukel doesn’t disappoint with this broad satire of American politics and wealth disparity. […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: A Monster Calls [2016]

“You will tell me your nightmare. That will be your truth.” When your author and illustrator both win Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the same book (it may still be the only time ever), you can bet Hollywood will come knocking. Even though the production is a joint effort between Britain (the majority of its […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Burn Your Maps [2017]

“The kid in the strange clothes said he gave birth to two goats” Many films deal with the aftermath of a family death by becoming about how their characters live with the pain—changing them into different people. Some distinctly show them living despite it instead. Rather than depict Connor (Marton Csokas) and Alise (Vera Farmiga) […]