• buffalo66a

    REVIEW: Buffalo ’66 [1998]

    “Just look like we are a married couple … spanning time” In 2004 Christina Ricci was quoted in Time Out magazine as saying, “Buffalo ’66 was the most beautiful example of self-absorption I’ve ever seen in my life.” She’s not wrong. Even if she had a good experience on set and didn’t loathe writer/director/star Vincent […]

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    INTERVIEW: Aaron Moorhead, director/cinematographer & Justin Benson director/writer of Spring

    Sometimes the festival experience has a way of making you overrate films. The excitement of seeing things early with like-minded individuals, listening to filmmakers talk before and after their screenings, and the general festival aura are hard to separate from the work itself. So I won’t lie and say I didn’t re-watch Aaron Moorhead and […]

  • top10_2014

    Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

    I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the […]

  • wildtales01

    REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

    “Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

  • faults01

    REVIEW: Faults [2015]

    “What did you lose?” There’s an inherent paradox to the universally held idea of cults being destructive. So quick to deem what occurs within them unnatural—namely a leader using his charisma to indoctrinate the weak into a “family” that understands them—we forget to acknowledge how much of our own lives follow the same pattern. As […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Maps to the Stars [2014]

“… Liberty” There are many versions of Hollywood I would never wish to live within—including the real one—but it appears those crafted by Bruce Wagner might be the most nightmarishly hedonistic, vile, and depressingly pathetic. A man who grew up in Los Angeles via Wisconsin and probably experienced many of the selfish acts of depravity […]

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REVIEW: Fury [2014]

“Are you saved?” I can relate when people look at David Ayer‘s Fury and shake their heads saying, “We get it. War is brutal.” I can because I remember sitting down to watch The Reader in 2008 only to think how completely over Holocaust movies I was that year. I believe I saw four or […]

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REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [2014]

“The truth is always interesting” It’s true what the film’s Times‘ theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) says: an artist should bleed for his craft. Physically, spiritually, metaphorically—blood must be spilt so the world knows he was here, selflessly (selfishly?) making us laugh, cry, and reflect on lives well lived and squandered. This is why those who […]

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. […]

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REVIEW: Big Hero 6 [2014]

“One a scale of 1 to 10: how would you rate your pain?” Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that leaves beloved characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to […]

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REVIEW: Feast [2014]

“Wait” Just when you thought the generic American tale of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets married, and boy and girl have children was officially exhausted, Disney finds a way to tell it from a fresh perspective: the dog. This is the gimmick behind the studio’s newest, almost completely silent, short film Feast—the […]

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REVIEW: Gone with the Wind [1939]

“All we’ve got is cotton and slaves and … arrogance” For years I’ve thought Gone with the Wind some grand, epic romance. How else could anyone take its smoldering poster of Clark Gable ready to ravish Vivien Leigh as her dress falls helplessly from her shoulders? This advert proves as manipulative as the woman positioned […]

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REVIEW: Pride [2014]

“Oh good. I haven’t spoken 1950s in ages.” If you’re going to make a film with a sprawling ensemble of characters equally unique and important to the point where your only true lead is a message of solidarity and comradery itself, it’s a good move to look towards the theater. Pride is the screenwriting debut […]

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REVIEW: John Wick [2014]

“I’d like a dinner reservation for twelve” If ever there was a film you truly cannot judge by its cover, John Wick is it. We’re talking an action flick about a retired assassin played with stoic Zen by Keanu Reeves (the titular Wick) going on a killing spree against Viggo Tarasov’s (Michael Nyqvist) Russian mob […]

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REVIEW: God Help the Girl [2014]

“Find the face behind the voice” Utilizing the creed “go big or go home”, Belle & Sebastian lead singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch definitely didn’t seek to simply dabble in cinema when it came to his debut feature God Help the Girl. Beginning as a suite of songs written in the band’s downtime, he worked tirelessly to […]

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REVIEW: That Terrible Jazz [2014]

“I’m gonna kick up some dirt” A senior film student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Mike Falconi went noir for his thesis short That Terrible Jazz. The piece has an obvious affinity for past cinematic greats with hard-boiled dialogue, a stoic lead, and the missing persons mystery at its core, but his love for […]

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REVIEW: Hotel Chevalier [2007]

“I didn’t say you could come here” An unplanned prologue (to his producers) accompanying Wes Anderson‘s fifth film The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier tells the story of Jack Whitman’s (Jason Schwartzman) complicated love. You could watch the feature without it and not lose much, but including it in the experience definitely adds something special like […]

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REVIEW: Tusen ganger god natt [1,000 Times Good Night] [2013]

“I’ve been waiting for that call since I met you” Being an embedded photojournalist is a concept I cannot quite wrap my head around. To willingly go into a war zone and risk your life to get a shot, not for plaudits, but to educate the world about atrocities we’d rather turn a blind eye […]

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REVIEW: Berenice [2014]

“I wanted it to hurt” One chapter from the horror anthology Creepers, Jeremiah Kipp‘s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe‘s disturbing short story Berenice finds itself hindered by what I can only guess was a shoestring budget. A director who has excelled at creating stunning pitch-black tone with ambiguously delicious mystery in carefully composed thrillers, this […]

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REVIEW: The Minions [2014]

“I shouldn’t have went there” Director Jeremiah Kipp once again amps up the mood with his latest short The Minions to follow his similarly aesthetically-constructed The Days God Slept. From the camera angles catching his actors’ expressions in a way that cultivates mystery, the score pulsing along with the imagery as though everything is set […]