• 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: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

    “For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]

  • 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 […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Antiviral [2012]

“Celebrities aren’t human. They’re group hallucinations.” Like father, like son—Brandon Cronenberg has been paying attention. Even though a credit as Special Effects Technician on eXistenZ is the only one of David’s films he’s attached to in a professional capacity, it would be hard to believe he wasn’t at least on set for a few others. […]

REVIEW: Wuss [2013]

“Do these kids have parents? It’s still outer suburbia.” Writer/director Clay Liford knows a film titled Wuss better make sure its lead character is a living embodiment of the word. So even though he may be introduced as a self-deprecating nerd willing to laugh about living with his mom and working at the same high […]

REVIEW: Dead Man’s Burden [2013]

“It ever occurred to you he might of just changed his mind?” A novice when it comes to the western genre, I won’t presume to say Jared Moshe’s directorial debut is a welcome contemporary installment in an otherwise nearly forgotten style. I will, however, label Dead Man’s Burden a well-composed, detail-oriented, slow burn of a […]

REVIEW: What Maisie Knew [2013]

“I’ve done my mid-life crisis. You should get on with yours.” Stories like What Maisie Knew are tough pills to swallow because of their authentic depiction of human selfishness. It’s easy to label the subject matter overwrought and hyperbolic due to the actions of its adults until we realize how prevalent such attitudes are in […]

HOTDOCS13 REVIEW: Free the Mind [2013]

“We can suffer less if we take responsibility for our own minds” As Richard Davidson states in Phie Ambo‘s documentary Free the Mind, the human brain is the most complex creation in the universe. Here is an organic super computer that handles everything we do, feel, think, and dream and yet we’ve constructed a myth […]

HOTDOCS13 REVIEW: The Ghosts in Our Machine [2013]

“Leaving is the reason that I’m haunted” We are carnivores. That’s a proven fact, right? Where a moral code of honor in our interactions with animals existed at one point—and still does in some cultures—the present slaughter of animals for human consumption has become a business. It used to be we made sure to use […]

HOTDOCS13 REVIEW: ALIAS [2013]

“Every kid has dreams. But then you get reality.” Holding onto hope for a better life to strengthen each subsequent generation so one day his ancestors won’t be forced to hustle on the street, Alkatraz strives to achieve a future through his music. Raising his daughter on one hand and doing what he “has to […]

REVIEW: Oblivion [2013]

“We’ll come back when it’s over” Originally planned as a graphic novel, Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion wouldn’t have stayed solely on the page for long. It’s science fiction romance decades after the Earth is ravaged by nuclear war and alien invasion would have whet any studio’s appetite with or without the director’s work on TRON: Legacy—itself […]

REVIEW: Dans la maison [In the House] [2012]

“What’s a perfect family’s house like?” What happens inside one’s home is sacred. Your skeletons are exposed, carefully manufactured façades rest for the night, and pent up frustrations boil to the surface in a cathartic outburst of unchecked emotion and fatigued spirit. This is why voyeurism has such a psychologically sensual appeal in its incomparable […]

REVIEW: Jurassic Park [1993]

“Spared no expense” Dinosaurs have captivated us for centuries—their bones dug up and reassembled in museums and theories about whether they’re descendants of reptiles or birds ebbing and flowing with technological improvement and scientific expansion. So it’s no surprise techno-thriller author Michael Crichton eventually put them at the center of one of his novels, using […]

REVIEW: Trance [2013]

“Strawberry” What began in 1994 as a script screenwriter Joe Ahearne wished to turn into his feature film debut, Trance was sent to Danny Boyle in hopes the Shallow Grave helmer would give him the thumbs-up to follow his cinematic footsteps. Boyle instead told Ahearne the piece would prove too difficult for a first-time director, […]

HOTDOCS13 REVIEW: Tales From the Organ Trade [2013]

“In some countries you can pick up a kidney for the price of a laptop” With a name like Tales from the Organ Trade and its interesting casting selection of body horror maestro David Cronenberg as its narrator, I’m not sure one could blame me for expecting gruesome, unsanitary, back alley surgeons assisted by frightfully […]

REVIEW: CARGO [2013]

What would you do amidst a zombie apocalypse after discovering your baby daughter thus far spared in the backseat and a gaping wound on your arm signifying an expiring clock before making her your first meal as an undead daywalker? The options seem few: secure her somewhere high, run far away without looking back, and […]

REVIEW: 42 [2013]

“He discombobulated the man” Much like the origin of forty-two as Douglas Adams’ “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” being nothing more than a joke—an ordinary, smallish number he chose—the fact Brooklyn Dodgers first-baseman Jackie Robinson wore it on his back simply derives from it being stitched on the jersey […]

BNFF13 REVIEW: Submit the Documentary: The Virtual Reality of Cyberbullying [2013]

“Perhaps we were unprepared. Or maybe just naïve.” After the tragic events surrounding Williamsville teen Jamey Rodemeyer’s 2011 suicide helped spark a public outcry against the phenomenon known as cyberbullying, it’s only fitting to see Muta’Ali Muhammad’s Submit the Documentary: The Virtual Reality of Cyberbullying make its second appearance on the festival circuit here in […]