• cleofrom5to701

    REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

    “You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to […]

  • highrise01

    TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

    “I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then […]

  • phantomboy01

    REVIEW: Phantom Boy [2015]

    “My reign will start in darkness” French directors Alain Gagnol (who also wrote) and Jean-Loup Felicioli have another winner on their hands with Phantom Boy. The much-anticipated follow-up to their Oscar-nominated animation A Cat in Paris was five years in the making and well worth the wait. With its vibrant colors muted for a NYC […]

  • phoenix01

    REVIEW: Phoenix [2014]

    “I no longer exist” The Holocaust left thousands of survivors stripped of identity—branded by a number as though they weren’t worthy of the name given at birth. To exit such horror was to enter a new world forever changed for them as well as those lucky enough to have missed the nightmare first-hand. Pity, guilt, […]

  • mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]

    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

film reviews


REVIEW: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]

“Anger is more useful than despair” There’s one great moment in Jonathan Mostow‘s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: its end. I’m not being snarky in some jokey “because it was finally over” kind of way either. It is legitimately good. Half twist, half bittersweet salvation in the face of apocalyptic nightmare where a hero […]


REVIEW: Unexpected [2015]

“I don’t know what’s going on with the bananas at Trader Joe’s right now” Yes Kris Swanberg‘s Unexpected revolves around two surprise pregnancies and the mothers-to-be reacting to brand new futures set before them. However, it doesn’t use that premise to build a tower of clichés for us to watch topple to the ground in […]


REVIEW: pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] [1955]

“Go ask him for money” The story behind Satyajit Ray‘s debut film pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] is one you cannot separate from the work itself. It’s an underdog tale full of hardship and financial woe—incidents that dragged production along for three years before finally bringing India to the world in […]


REVIEW: La French [The Connection] [2014]

“The true force of an untouchable is the silence he imposes on others” While everything out there talking about Cédric Jimenez’s La French [The Connection] takes special care to mention William Friedkin‘s classic The French Connection, the comparisons end at that titular focal point. I’m not talking about quality, though, as this unofficial companion is […]


REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

“I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of […]


REVIEW: Lava [2015]

“Send me someone to lav-a” Sometimes cute is enough for an enjoyable little yarn, but I can’t help being disappointed when that’s all a new Pixar short has to offer. I do get that the studio can’t hit a homerun every single time out, however, and I don’t begrudge a catchy escapist ditty like the […]


REVIEW: The French Connection [1971]

“And I’m going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie” You watch William Friedkin‘s The French Connection today and literally start thinking about the forty-four years of police-based action thrillers owing it a huge debt. The genre just doesn’t have the type of cultural or artistic clout these days to win the hardware […]


REVIEW: We Are Still Here [2015]

“The house needs a family” Sometimes the spirits clinging to your old home prove the least of your worries. Just ask the Sacchettis (Barbara Crampton‘s Anne and Andrew Sensenig‘s Paul). Attempting to restart their lives after the tragic death of their son months earlier, the couple moves to Aylesbury for peace, quiet, and a former […]


REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl [2015]

“Respect the research” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl can be described as The Fault in Our Stars meets Be Kind Rewind. While the correlation to the latter is nearly identical with both comically parodying cinematic greats (albeit of differing oeuvres), the former hits as a contrast despite similar subject matter. Whereas […]


REVIEW: 思い出のマーニー [Omoide no Mânî] [When Marnie Was There] [2014]

“I wish for a normal life everyday” If Studio Ghibli ends up closing shop as announced, we can be glad their final film is a winner with the heart and soul we’ve come to love from Hayao Miyazaki and the team. I’m surely in the minority, but I’d even say Hiromasa Yonebayaski‘s When Marnie Was […]


REVIEW: Jurassic World [2015]

“This will give parents nightmares” As all good sequels must learn, the key to success is delivering on the promise set forth by the original while also providing something fresh and improved. Just ask James Cameron, a master at the task, who injected action-packed life into both Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day without negating […]


REVIEW: Manglehorn [2015]

“I’m losing hope in tomorrow” Upon being asked whether he knows he’s a son-of-a-bitch or not, A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) replies matter-of-factly with, “Yes. Maybe a little. Aren’t we all?” It’s a seemingly innocuous line within an intriguing film positing how each one of us can always see something of ourselves in characters onscreen. We […]


REVIEW: Big Game [2015]

“Life is just too damn short not to have a cookie when you want one” Despite being rated PG-13 in America, Jalmari Helander‘s Big Game should target audiences between 10-15 like Dan Smith’s Young Adult novelization of the film. Being a Finnish production—the most expensive in the country’s history—probably means it did just that abroad. […]


REVIEW: Kung Fury [2015]

“Yeah. That’s my bicep.” After earning three times its goal on Kickstarter, the thirty-minute short Kung Fury went into production in hopes of melting minds with Heavy Metal synth ballads and gratuitous gore like only the 80s could provide. The brainchild of Swedish commercial and music video director David Sandberg, this opus to over-the-top cheesy […]


REVIEW: The Case Against 8 [2014]

“You are the case … it all flows through you” It’s a landmark case with civil rights reverberations that have shaken the country on its way to a current thirty-seven states legalizing same-sex marriage and counting. But that doesn’t mean the public knows what happened since the US Supreme Court barred cameras from allowing them […]