• 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

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REVIEW: Prospero’s Books [1991]

“And yet I needs must curse” I have a hard enough time with William Shakespeare when the characters onscreen are speaking his words with relevant visual cues to cut through the iambic pentameter and present the stories for my eyes. Don’t ask me to comprehend anything while reading his plays because my mind is constantly […]

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REVIEW: Dough [2016]

“How can you lose trousers?” Think of John Goldschmidt‘s latest film Dough (his first in the director’s chair since 1987) as a cinematic peace pipe for race relations and religious zealots. Rather than tobacco and herbs mixed into kinnikinnick for a clay vessel, however, screenwriters Jonathan Benson and Jez Freedman use marijuana and challah. The […]

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REVIEW: Colby [2016]

“I don’t belong here” The fallacy of escape is thinking it’s possible to truly leave the past behind. You can travel thousands of miles away and put years in between, but the stuff forcing you to do so never disappears. It marks you and shapes you whether you like or not, for better or worse. […]

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REVIEW: The Pillow Book [1996]

“Itch to read. Scratch to understand.” There aren’t many auteurs quite as inventively unique as Peter Greenaway and his “inspired by” adaptation of Sei Shonagon‘s The Pillow Book is a perfect example of why. Sexual explicitness and ink on flesh fetish aside, the sheer formal construction of the film puts it on a level all […]

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REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the […]

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REVIEW: Born to Be Blue [2016]

“Hello fear. Hello death.” I’m not a jazz guy. I’ll listen, enjoy, and promptly forget it straight away. It all kind of sounds the same to me, but to each his own. If you can differentiate Miles Davis‘ sound from Chet Baker‘s you’re a better music fan than me. So to hear Robert Budreau‘s biopic […]

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REVIEW: The Huntsman: Winter’s War [2016]

“Do not love. It’s a sin and I will not forgive it.” They tricked me. Yes, the deflective, vague, and completely false marketing campaign had me believing—no matter how slim the chances were considering my lack of feeling anything for Snow White and the Huntsman—that The Huntsman: Winter’s War had something special under its sleeves. […]

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REVIEW: Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] [2005]

“That’s just plain rude” God works in mysterious ways—very mysterious ways. Or at least that’s what Anders Thomas Jensen‘s pitch-black fable Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] will have us believe. It may just be plain old faith as the mere belief in good and evil sometimes gets you through the tragedies miring your life, dictating that […]

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HOTDOCS16 REVIEW: Hotel Dallas [2016]

“What time spits back, history devours and fatten itself on what we lack” Despite the name Hotel Dallas and general premise surrounding a replica of Southfork Ranch (where both the old and new “Dallas” series were filmed) built in Romania by an aspiring capitalist, husband and wife directing duo Sherng-Lee Huang and Livia Ungur‘s film […]

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REVIEW: The American Side [2016]

“Weaving spiders come not here” When a film shot in Buffalo, NY co-written and starring a native of the city comes across you’re desk you look upon it with a certain level of skepticism. I’ve lived here almost my entire life and I’m still guilty of seeing my hometown as a B-level sector in comparison […]

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REVIEW: The X-Files [1998]

“Survival is the ultimate ideology” I’m not sure if there’s ever been another television show besides “The X-Files” that received a cinematic adaptation while still on the air. It’s a testament to the property’s popularity and the studio’s faith because green-lighting it couldn’t have been an easy decision. While it must stay relevant to the […]

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REVIEW: A Film About Coffee [2014]

“Coffee people have to be sexy” I am not a coffee drinker. I don’t even really like the smell of the stuff either despite that usually being what non-drinkers do enjoy about the hot, cold, compressed, dripped, or frozen beverage sold almost everywhere in the United States. So to say I was completely unaware of […]

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REVIEW: 88:88 [2016]

“There is no such thing as possibility” I am not the target audience for a film like Isiah Medina‘s debut feature 88:88. It’s not simply because the 65-minute kaleidoscope of imagery and sound is an avant-garde experiment in formalism either—although that is a factor. The real reason is my never knowing poverty. I’ve never experienced […]

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REVIEW: Paris, Texas [1984]

“Don’t go yet” The first word my mind conjured after watching Wim Wenders‘ Paris, Texas was honesty. It’s delivered from lead Harry Dean Stanton all the way down to Robby Müller‘s gorgeous cinematography of untouched Mojave Desert isolation and graffiti-filled urban concrete. Nothing appears inauthentic and that’s not an easy accomplishment when you think about […]

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REVIEW: Les rencontres d’après minuit [You and the Night] [2013]

“Always follow the clues in dreams” Everyone wants to describe Yann Gonzalez‘s films as kinky escapades of campy, colorful eroticism rather than mention what lies beneath that excitingly daring sheen: a profound sense of sadness. It’s a powerful longing for acceptance and love, a desire for more than our minds believe possible. The orgy constructed […]