• americanhoney01

    REVIEW: American Honey [2016]

    “What about you? What’s your dream?” Welcome to our disenfranchised youth. That’s exactly what Andrea Arnold puts front and center with her latest film American Honey: miscreants getting high, road tripping, and lying their way to a few bucks meant to continue the nomadic journey’s unending party. Led by outside-the-box entrepreneur Krystal (Riley Keough), this […]

  • bluejay01

    REVIEW: Blue Jay [2016]

    “You leaving room for Jesus?” While we wait the requisite nine years hoping for another installment in Richard Linklater‘s seminal Before saga, Mark Duplass is here to fill the void early with his own intimate, two person reunion of past love and current strife entitled Blue Jay. Many will scoff at this declaration and say […]

  • wedding01

    REVIEW: A Wedding [1978]

    “Death is a four letter word” It’s unfathomable to think that a film as elaborately sprawling as Robert Altman‘s A Wedding was given birth out of a joke, but that’s exactly what happened. Having some fun with an interviewer during publicity on 3 Women, the director exclaimed that his next work would be “a great […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

film reviews


FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Never Tear Us Apart [2016]

“I was attacked by a cougar once. Her name was Janice.” It plays out exactly how you know it will, but it’s no less funny as a result. Sid Zanforlin‘s (co-written by Chris Bavota) short film Never Tear Us Apart has everything you’d want from a horror with naïve wanderers, cannibalistic hicks, dismemberment, and a […]


REVIEW: Our Kind of Traitor [2016]

“What am I doing here?” We received two John le Carré adaptations this year, each delivering high production value, effective performances, and somewhat weak plotting. Susanne Bier‘s The Night Manager provides a “hero” between worlds—not a bona fide spy as in A Most Wanted Man or Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, not a regular man at […]


REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]

“Loneliness is a terrible thing” While a romance on its surface, Catherine Corsini‘s La belle saison [Summertime] is really about freedom. The central relationship between Delphine (Izïa Higelin) and Carole (Cécile De France) pushes them to discover their personal identities removed from any union. The former is a farm girl yearning to break from the […]


FANTASIA16 REVIEW: The Alchemist Cookbook [2016]

“This human form, which I was born, I now repent” I have no clue why Sean (Ty Hickson) messes with the titular book in Joel Potrykus‘ The Alchemist Cookbook. He doesn’t seem to care about money while living as a hermit inside a hidden trailer deep within the woods—bill collectors “no longer owning him”—so gold […]


REVIEW: Hell-Bent [2016]

“May you write some great pieces on this” For whatever reason, screenwriters Lorenzo Cabello and Shayne Kamat refused to turn their script about an underachieving journalist and his demon acquaintance into a deal with the devil scenario. Kudos, guys. There’s ample opportunity too considering Michael’s (Justin Andrew Davis) struggles to find the confidence to fight […]


REVIEW: Tickled [2016]

“All of this over some tickling” When a journalist known for delving into the weird side of pop culture and society stumbles across an online video depicting a young man tied to a table as four other young men tickle him in a “sport” dubbed “Competitive Tickling,” there’s no way he closes that window to […]


REVIEW: Inspired [2015]

“Don’t be late” For a student film, Maggie Kaszuba‘s Inspired is an effective cinematic effort. Depicting the life of a teenage girl dealing with ambivalence at home and tough love at school, the short has a wealth of earned emotion once relationships flesh out and motivation is revealed. Samantha Higgins (Tyler Kipp) is an underachiever […]


FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Crimson Dance [2016]

“Welcome to the Bloody Burlesque Freak Show” Letting American burlesque dancer Tonya Kay perform an interpretive, sensual dance with blood isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about ways to raise public consciousness about donating this crucial fluid, yet here we are. Writer/director Patricia Chica not only thought it, she […]


REVIEW: Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] [2016]

“They are all the same except for their names” Writer/director Tofiq Rzayev‘s latest short Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] appears to have a lot to say beneath its melodramatic plot. I’m just not sure exactly what it is. This could be a “lost in translation” case, but I found it difficult to […]


REVIEW: The Invitation [2016]

“I’ve been waiting to die since the moment it happened” Death plays a large role in our lives, mortality seemingly out of reach but never forgotten. For some it knocks early—or at least earlier than we’d hope to believe. Disease, accident, and fate remind us how precious our time on Earth is. We grieve, pray, […]


REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part III [1998]

“Your spit is greatly appreciated” To a certain extent The Decline of Western Civilization Part III could have been titled The New Western Civilization. The first two films in Penelope Spheeris‘ trilogy showed us the music that was changing American youth culture as well as the people performing it and listening to it. This entry […]


REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [1988]

“It doesn’t matter—the size of your pencil. It’s how you write your name.” Director Penelope Spheeris changes the aesthetic and to some extent the goals of her documentary series The Decline of Western Civilization with Part II: The Metal Years. Like its predecessor depicting the contemporary 1980 Los Angeles punk scene, we get a glimpse […]


REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization [1981]

“I don’t think of myself as a happy person, but I had fun tonight” You don’t get much more punk rock than Penelope Spheeris‘ concert documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. At least not American punk since the film details the club life in Los Angeles during the 80s rather than mid-70s Britain. We’re talking […]


REVIEW: Fathers and Daughters [2015]

“I have very self-destructive tendencies” The works of director Gabriele Muccino aren’t for everyone. I can’t speak on his Italian films, but the American ones are unavoidably cloying and sentimental in a way that must be accepted or ignored to find resonance. Despite being the one showered with praise, The Pursuit of Happyness didn’t quite […]


REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets [2016]

“Liberated forever, domesticated never” Illumination Entertainment’s latest film The Secret Life of Pets has an amazing hook: what do our pets do while we’re gone? We could obviously pay Comcast Xfinity to supply cameras and discover the answer to that question—why use product placement when you can show a commercial before the film that uses […]