• hellorhighwater01

    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 […]

  • eyesofmymother01

    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 […]

  • huntforthewilderpeople01

    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 […]

  • swissarmyman01

    REVIEW: Swiss Army Man [2016]

    “I don’t want to die alone” You can never be sure about a marketing campaign using a phrase like, “You’ve heard it a million times, but this time it’s true. You’ve never seen a movie like Swiss Army Man.” What type of ploy are they engaging in? We all know it’s been affectionately called (and […]



film reviews

10thingsihateaboutyou01

REVIEW: 10 Things I Hate About You [1999]

“Heinous bitch is the term used most often” Although a somewhat recent encounter with Kiss Me Kate firmly placed the musical on the top of my The Taming of the Shrew adaptation list, I can’t deny the appeal—nostalgic or otherwise—of 10 Things I Hate About You. Directed by Gil Junger and written by Karen McCullah […]

darkknightrises01

REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

“Sometimes the pit sends something back” **Potential thematic spoilers** The trailer for the aptly coined ‘epic’ conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s caped crusader trilogy—The Dark Knight Rises—says it all through an emotional exchange between Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Lamenting in her trademarked selfishness that he doesn’t “owe these people any more” and […]

wheredowegonow01

REVIEW: وهلّأ لوين؟ [Where Do We Go Now?] [2011]

“They got me to fake a miracle. I won’t even get into hell now.” Winner of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, وهلّأ لوين؟ [Where Do We Go Now?] tells the tale of a small Lebanese town and its unavoidable clash of religions. Friends, neighbors, and romantic interests, the Christian and Muslim […]

magicofbelleisle01

REVIEW: The Magic of Belle Isle [2012]

“You don’t have to leave this planet to tell a good story” As the years progress and his workload diminishes, director Rob Reiner has chosen to spend his time bringing what he calls “life-affirming material” to the big screen. Despite the surprising success of The Bucket List in 2007, however, such a decision carries smaller […]

dakota01

REVIEW: Dakota [2012]

“You find a way to afford the horse” Writer/director Ami Canaan Mann‘s WIGS network three-part series Dakota has the potential to be an intriguing gender reversal for the subject of high stakes poker. One generally thinks Rounders, The Sting, House of Games or many other male-centric vehicles when it comes to players putting it all […]

beastsofsouthernwild01

REVIEW: Beasts of the Southern Wild [2012]

“No cryin’, ya hear?” Caught worlds away from industry and technological advancement, the tiny Louisiana Delta community coined The Bathtub exists inside its own fantastical arena of jovial poverty. Self-sufficient and fearful of those on the other side of the levee, these feral creatures subsist on the environment and teach their young how to carry […]

intouchables01

REVIEW: Intouchables [The Intouchables] [2011]

“We’ll escort you. It’s safer.” Leave it to my Americanized way of looking at things to go into the César Award-nominated French film Intouchables [The Intouchables] by thinking it would be yet another run-of-the-mill rich white guy helping poor black guy tale. With a Hollywood remake already in the works, I see our adaptation falling […]

serena01

REVIEW: Serena [2012]

“About what? The kidnapping or the body parts?” Writer, director, and co-creator of the WIGS network Rodrigo García pretty much summed up his short film entry Serena with the following behind the scenes quote: “The best love stories are those with the greatest obstacles.” An intriguing sentiment as far as admitting the struggle necessary to […]

diana02

REVIEW: Diana [2012]

“Swimming was the only place I felt safe” After the success of the WIGS network’s ongoing series of fictional shorts, Jon Avnet, Rodrigo García, and their partners decided to delve into the documentary realm as well. Keeping true to their goal of showcasing tales featuring empowering women, it’s no surprise an athlete like Diana Nyad […]

allison01

REVIEW: Allison [2012]

“I’m already doing 90%. Not going to do 95.” After what appeared like full-blown retirement from the industry, writer/director Paul Brickman of Risky Business fame has been lured back by the WIGS network of female-centric short films. Building his tale around the stereotypical nagging wife trope, Allison subverts the usual comic portrayal of an over-zealous […]

traintostockholm01

REVIEW: Train to Stockholm [2012]

“What’s Bruce Lee’s favorite drink?” A very intimate portrait into the life of a young man lost amidst a foreign culture, J. Erik Reese‘s Train to Stockholm is an emotionally naked work composed of the crossed signals and false starts lining everyone’s path towards personal identity. We’re the product of our environment, upbringing, and curiosity—forever […]

denise01

REVIEW: Denise [2012]

“I get along with girls better …” As evidenced by In the Company of Men and The Shape of Things, no one does scathing social commentary like Neil LaBute. So, after the rather questionable decisions to helm remakes of The Wicker Man and Death at a Funeral, it’s good to see the playwright going back […]

amazingspiderman01

REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]

“Up your what, Dad?” Ten years after Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man joined Bryan Singer‘s X-Men in proving the superhero genre could be taken seriously in the annals of cinematic history, the reset button has been pressed for a fresh new look. Between Marvel taking the initiative to pool their collective, solely-owned properties into one giant universe […]

independenceday01

REVIEW: Independence Day [1996]

“We will not go quietly into the night” The man who proved we could only take so many disaster films and yet still made more, Roland Emmerich shouldn’t be denied the astronomical success of the one that jump-started the genre’s big budget revival in the first place. After giving us the rather smart science fiction […]

savages02

REVIEW: Savages [2012]

“Money’s not enough. You’ve got to give your heart.” Who’s crueler: a vicious Mexican cartel decapitating men to send a message or a couple Laguna boys willing to do whatever it takes to protect the emotionally damaged girlfriend they share? Being a trick question, the answer is yes. Plain and simply, humanity has forever been […]