• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

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TIFF11 REVIEW: A Monster in Paris [2011]

“Our own monster. It has your eyes and my hairy legs.” After a decade in the Hollywood system directing the likes of The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale, Bibo Bergeron decided to return home to his native France and embark on a passion project. Titled A Monster in Paris and seeing its world […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Oslo, 31. August [Oslo, August 31st] [2011]

“I want you to understand” Memory and nostalgia—these are the things Joachim Trier sought when creating his dark, hopeful, and depressing love letter to his hometown. Rather than use that word, however, he made a point in his Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival to call it the place he was born. Every city […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Friends with Kids [2012]

“Death by shark or alligator?” This has been the year of romantic comedies doing their best to overcome the genre and crossover to succeed with men and women alike. An unintentional reunion for four members of the Bridesmaids cast, the world premiere of Friends with Kids at the Toronto International Film Festival tries to equal […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Le Havre [2011]

“Money moves in the shadows” According to André Wilms—the star of Le Havre—during his hilarious stream of consciousness Q&A at a screening for the Toronto International Film Festival, director Aki Kaurismäki decided it was time to make a comedy/fairy tale. The Finn had created so many “desperate” films that a change was needed. And what […]

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REVIEW: Hunger [2008]

“We only smoke the lamentations” In 2008, a 39-year old Brit made his auspicious cinematic debut with the daring Hunger. Based on the events surrounding the 1981 Northern Ireland hunger strike within HM Prison Maze, newcomer Steve McQueen and co-writer Enda Walsh push fearlessly into the dark and inspiring tale. Beginning with the “blanket” and […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Moneyball [2011]

“Now we’re gutted—organ donors for the rich” Did Billy Beane change the game of baseball? If the epilogue to Moneyball is to be believed, he did—to a point. General Manager of a team that was one win away from a World Series birth and watching his star trio walk for giant paydays, anyone would be […]

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REVIEW: Contagion [2011]

“Somewhere the wrong bat met up with the wrong pig” After teaming up for a very funny take on a true story with The Informant!, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and director Steven Soderbergh decide to give life to a fictionalized take on a very real threat. In Contagion, government suits may assume a weaponized terrorist […]

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REVIEW: Mistérios de Lisboa [Mysteries of Lisbon] [2010]

“Between the sanctity of our affection and the demon of social convention” Finally making its way into American theatres on the cusp of its director’s passing, Mistérios de Lisboa [Mysteries of Lisbon] gives us an epic look into the bourgeois dramatics of Portugal’s capital city. The press notes for the film contain a pretty accurate […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Death of a Superhero [2012]

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease” Cancer is one of life’s great fears, a grand equalizer that takes without discretion. Children are lost while their parents watch, talents with the ability to make a difference in the world leave us before their impact can ever be felt, and loved ones pass when after we told […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Lena [2011]

“Go on. Always go on.” A normal life was never an option for Lena. Whether a translation tick or a telling line throughout the film, the words “Be normal” crop up often as none of the characters traveling in and out of this young girl’s life come close to the definition. Raised by a prostitute […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: The Hunter [2011]

“GO HOME GREENIE” The Australian takeover in cineplexes worldwide continues at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. With more and more work finding distribution to travel off the island, one woman is writing her chapter in the movement. A novelist of two acclaimed works, Julia Leigh has already found her way into Cannes with […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: El gato desaparece [The Cat Vanishes] [2011]

“I’ve ceased to exist” A psychotic break has fractured Luis (Luis Luque) and Beatriz’s (Beatriz Spelzini) marriage in El gato desaparece [The Cat Vanishes], playing at the Toronto International Film Festival. Proud parents of two, successful in life as a professor and translator respectively, and completely in love, they still prove ill equipped to handle […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: The Odds [2011]

“You wanna see a card trick?” The Toronto International Film Festival media blurb for Simon Davidson’s debut feature, The Odds, likens it to a combination of Rounders and Brick. While this statement is true to a point, the comparisons remain solely on the surface. Poker plays a very small role—as gambling in general looms large—and […]

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FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #12: The King and I [1956]

“Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera” You don’t get much more dated than the 1956 musical edition of The King and I. Through all the pomp and circumstance, it’s the trite storyline of a wannabe-modern king and the British school teacher who thaws his barbaric ways that comes through. All that’s wrong with the Western world is brought […]

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Roméo Onze [Romeo Eleven] [2012]

“You’re scary when you stare at women” Who is Rami? Or better yet, who should Rami be? It’s the question he fears to ask himself while the people surrounding him attempt to give the answer. Should he be the accounting major at University his father pushes him to be? Should he be out trying to […]