• moonlight01

    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 […]

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    REVIEW: Hell or High Water [2016]

    “I ain’t speeding” It wasn’t long after his run as above-board Deputy Chief David Hale on “Sons of Anarchy” that Taylor Sheridan would find himself caught in awards season platitudes with Sicario, a film earning three Oscar nominations despite his screenplay not quite making the cut. Well he has a second change this January as […]

  • touchofzen01

    REVIEW: 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen] [1971]

    “One should rather believe in ghosts than not” It’s enlightening to read writer/director King Hu‘s press notes that accompanied the Cannes premiere of his then newly-cut 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen]. 1975 was four years removed from the film’s original release—as two parts, a format his producers demanded to try recouping some of […]

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    FANTASIA16 REVIEW: The Eyes of My Mother [2016]

    “Why would I kill you? You’re my only friend.” This is isolation, suffering. It’s also normal. We on the outside see Nicolas Pesce‘s debut feature The Eyes of My Mother as the former, young Francisca (Olivia Bond) swimming in a pool of abject dread as death proves a natural evolution for all living things. For […]

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    REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople [2016]

    “Find water. Go to high ground. And don’t get naked.” A Māori boy and a Pākehā man go forth into the New Zealand bush. It sounds like the start to a joke. But while Taika Waititi‘s latest Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious, it’s far from being a trivial lark. There’s some weighty emotion involved […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Nic & Jerry Get OFF [2012]

“Stop trying to make this, like, educational” Having run the gamut between big [Toronto International] and micro [Buffalo Niagara] film festivals as both a member of the press and public, I’ve begun to cultivate certain expectations from the events I attend. Possessing separate press screenings, VIP passes for all-access, an ability to catch true indie […]

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REVIEW: Mallrats [1995]

“Like the back of a Volkswagen?” The term ‘sophomore slump’ was thrown around a lot back in 1995 where Kevin Smith‘s Mallrats is concerned and I can agree with the sentiment almost two decades later. After the astronomical success of his debut Clerks, it’s unsurprising that a studio would take a gamble on banking profits […]

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REVIEW: Atlas Shrugged: Part II [2012]

“You can’t win a fight that never ends” Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged is one of the most divisive novels ever written with equal numbers hailing her Objectivist manifesto as Bible or deriding it as blasphemy. It’s a timely tale these days too as gas costs rise high and cries of Socialism are heard regarding our […]

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REVIEW: Resident Evil: Retribution [2012]

“Congratulations, you’re officially a bad ass” You would think that by installment five the studio and/or writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson would realize the fans of the Resident Evil franchise are the only ones still buying tickets. The fact Resident Evil: Retribution only made a little over forty million of its sixty-five million dollar budget back […]

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REVIEW: Least Among Saints [2012]

“Everyone’s scared of something” That-guy actor Martin Papazian goes for dramatic gravitas in his directorial debut Least Among Saints and finds more success than not in the process. Wanting to tackle a tale about two lost souls helping each other understand their place in the world, it seemed only natural for the first-time screenwriter to […]

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REVIEW: Here Comes the Boom [2012]

“I’m having a crazy month of meeting people” Let’s face it, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed a straight Happy Madison production—I exclude Apatow‘s and Binder‘s because they would have probably been made with or without the shingle—since 2004’s 50 First Dates. In all actuality, looking at the list now makes me think it may be the […]

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REVIEW: 도둑들 [The Thieves] [2012]

“Of course. We specialize in miracles.” Saying Dodookdeul [The Thieves] is the Korean Ocean’s 11—like I had been after reading the synopsis—ended up not being as hyperbolic as I originally thought. Coming from one of the country’s most successful writer/directors and starring a bunch of familiar faces in Asian cinema, it’s an easy comparison to […]

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its […]

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REVIEW: Simon och ekarna [Simon & the Oaks] [2011]

“Children forget so fast” A tale about family, its many definitions, and its discovery through the prism of an unstable time, Marianne Fredriksson‘s international bestseller Simon och ekarna [Simon & the Oaks] has found its way to the big screen. Epic in scope and yet pared down to the tumultuous emotions of a young man […]

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REVIEW: End of Watch [2012]

“Comfortable footwear. Police is all about comfortable footwear.” If David Ayer is to be believed, life as a South Central L.A. cop is a ticking time bomb ready to explode. What the region isn’t, however, is a cesspool of corrupt officers on the take forming yet one more gang of street thugs to combat. This […]

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by […]

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REVIEW: Dredd [2012]

“All we do is turn the handle” Whether Gareth Evans admitted Dredd 3D went into production while he was still filming The Raid or not, the similarities can’t be dismissed. I’m not saying this to imply theft—just that comparison is unavoidable. Liking one will probably mean the other disappoints, but the one you see first […]

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REVIEW: Better Off Dead… [1985]

“Aww. Buck up little cowboy” I’m not quite sure what I expected from Better Off Dead, but its complete disregard for any sense of authentic reality was a surprisingly welcome concept. Films from the 80s are notorious for their off-kilter presentation, breaking of the fourth wall, and change of pace hyper-real situations bordering on or […]

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REVIEW: Pitch Perfect [2012]

“He is a hunter” Anything trying to capitalize on the now waning “Glee” craze and Step Up‘s surprising staying power probably should be dismissed sight unseen. How could a film dealing with the catty rivalries of the a cappella world be anything but an eye-rolling waste of celluloid? This is probably exactly what Universal Pictures […]

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REVIEW: Simple Mind [2012]

“I would tell them that they better look behind them” In the vein of other psychological horror thrillers delving into the dark recesses of the mind, Phil Newsom‘s short Simple Mind captivates above its ultra-low budget. Shot over the course of two days with cinematographer Paul Nameck—his only other crewmember—the film succeeds or fails depending […]