• stevejobs01

    REVIEW: Steve Jobs [2015]

    “Computers aren’t paintings” Despite being an Apple guy from way back playing with LOGO the turtle in grade school before eventually swapping out MacBook Pros every five years or so from college on, I never really cared who Steve Jobs was beyond the kindly looking genius in a black turtleneck. To me the appeal was […]

  • lookofsilence01

    REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]

    “If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]

  • brooklyn01

    REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

    “I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

  • jameswhite01

    REVIEW: James White [2015]

    “It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) […]

  • dope01

    REVIEW: Dope [2015]

    “Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

film reviews


TIFF15 REVIEW: Wolkaan [2015]

“Do you remember the rest of the poem?” Writer/director Bahar Noorizadeh had this to say about her latest experimental short Wolkaan on its Kickstarter page: “As an immigrant from Iran, I am facing the slow and painful loss of language and culture from my intimate life on a daily basis. I feel a connection in […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Quelques secondes [A Few Seconds] [2015]

“I don’t want him to have his face” It starts with sex—violent sex. Out of context you don’t quite know the exact circumstances, but everything makes sense once you hear Zenib’s (Charlotte Bartocci) voice against starkly quiet images of the Parisian hosting center where she resides. Raped and left with a child she’s begun to […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Black [2015]

“Be very careful. It’s not a game.” The buzz on Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah‘s film Black is that it’s a contemporary take on a Shakespearean classic. Saying as much is an apt description and Romero and Juliet is most certainly an inspiration, but what’s neglected to be mentioned are the two novels by […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: El Adiós [2015]

“Rosana, can you help me with this?” I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of servants in this day and age. Money notwithstanding, just thinking about sitting at a dinner table and asking someone to do something you could have completed in the time it took to ask is impossible to fathom. Add the dynamic […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Fuglehjerter [Bird Hearts] [2015]

“I thought I’d go all in” Ah the quarter-life crisis. Turning twenty-six and finding you’re still at university and pretty much ignored by everyone in your life when compared to a younger brother away at a prestigious school and already published to boot. What should be Benjamin’s (André Sørum) day becomes just another family get-together, […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Concerning the Bodyguard [2015]

“A great brown burn just over the heart” It’s not surprising that Kasra Farahani‘s cinematic adaptation of Donald Barthelme‘s short satirical story Concerning the Bodyguard would attract Salman Rushdie as its narrator. Given the author’s history after publishing The Satanic Verses and having a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Khomeini calling for his death, taking part […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: (Otto) [2015]

Writers/directors/animators Job, Joris & Marieke may be my new favorite computer animation team. Unlike Pixar or Dreamworks, however, I’m not sure I’d ever want them to go feature length since their style is so perfectly suited to the short form. Their Oscar-nominated A Single Life was my first introduction to them as well as my […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Der Schwarm [The Fantastic Love of Beeboy & Flowergirl] [2015]

“They had to realize that love was nothing but fantasy” In the grand picture book aesthetic of Bryan Fuller‘s “Pushing Daises”, Clemens Roth‘s Der Schwarm [The Fantastic Love of Beeboy & Flowergirl] is a delightful little fantasy of over-the-top whimsy. Peter (Florian Prokop) is forced to live inside a bee suit due to killer bees […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: The Ones Below [2016]

“You’re happier on the outside looking in” With comparisons to Hitchcock and Polanski, David Farr‘s directorial debut The Ones Below starts behind the eight ball straight away. There are definite moments that conjure both masters of suspense, but I’m not sure how much further they reach beyond simply sharing a genre. This isn’t the fault […]


REVIEW: The Diary of a Teenage Girl [2015]

“And now the making of a harlot” You don’t realize what might be missing from a film until it’s staring you in the face elsewhere. I love The Perks of Being a Wallflower for its universality, authentic emotions, and resonance, but there was something absent I could only see while watching Marielle Heller‘s adaptation of […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] [2015]

“Are you ok, honey?” The synopsis talks about how Olivia Boudreau‘s Le cours de natation [The Swimming Lesson] shows a seven-year old girl (Jasmine Lemée) getting the opportunity to take a step forward towards independence. I find that to be more than a little misleading. This notion is included, especially considering her mother (Marilyn Castonguay) […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Benjamin [2015]

“She lived her life without pain. At least there’s that.” Very few things are more dramatically impossible to fathom than losing a child, but Sherren Lee‘s Benjamin goes one step further to make it so. Written by Kathleen Hepburn, the story centers on a lesbian couple—both of who are pregnant. Sophie (Kimberly Laferriere) carries their […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Never Happened [2015]

“Where’s my other earring?” For eight minutes Mark Slutsky makes sure he has us right where he wants us. Never Happened is so precisely measured in its construction and revelations that we don’t even know its true genre until the very end. Yes there’s comedy and romance and drama in its plot concerning two business […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: She Stoops to Conquer [2015]

“It’s everything you’ll never be” The TIFF description calling Zachary Russell‘s She Stoops to Conquer a “fantastical oddity” is about as spot-on a review as you can get. What else can you say about a short film depicting a struggling performance artist who applies a latex mask—transforming her into an older gentleman in hope of […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Bacon & God’s Wrath [2015]

“I prefer non-believer. Maybe infidel.” I apologize to both my grandmothers because Razie Brownstone is my new hero. Kosher for 90 years of life, it was a journey through “the Google” by way of “the internet” that shook her faith. All the questions she never thought could be answered suddenly became available with a few […]