• REVIEW: O.J.: Made in America [2016]

    “I’m not black. I’m O.J.” I was enjoying the summer between 6th and 7th grade when O.J. Simpson and A.C. Cowlings infamously drove a white Ford Bronco down a California interstate. Despite being only a year removed from the Buffalo Bills’ four straight Super Bowl loses, my lack of local football knowledge here in the […]

  • REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

    “A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked […]

  • REVIEW: Cameraperson [2016]

    “You’re making me cry even though I don’t understand the language” The camera doesn’t lie. It captures private moments, immortalizes public, and adds ten pounds (so maybe it does). It shows a world we can never see: at once untouched perfection and fabricated by the operator’s gaze. And as those among us age and forget, […]

  • REVIEW: The Fits [2016]

    “Home of the Lionesses” For those who like to declare how there’s no original cinema these days: I present you Anna Rose Holmer‘s coming-of-age dance drama The Fits. Yes, the most over-used genre of all received a uniquely wonderful rendition in 2016 through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl trying to find her way […]

  • 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 […]



film reviews

REVIEW: Mia madre [2015]

“You don’t know how you hurt the ones you love” Life is a struggle right now for Margherita (Margherita Buy), an exacting film director who’s discovered she’s lost her grip on reality. She’s an artist with vision that seeks perfection in everyone, including herself. Do the work and good things happen. Figure out the problem […]

REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because […]

REVIEW: Max Rose [2016]

“Without somebody you’re nobody at all” A film centering on octogenarians isn’t an easy sell. Not even when you get a legend like Jerry Lewis to come out of retirement to deliver his first starring role in twenty years. So you have to give Daniel Noah credit—he got it done. And after a few years […]

REVIEW: The 9th Life of Louis Drax [2016]

“More than all the fish in the sea” Ten years after Anthony Minghella optioned Liz Jensen‘s The 9th Life of Louis Drax to develop cinematically, it was his son Max who saw it begin production. The younger Minghella’s first credited screenplay, probably brought to director Alexandre Aja on set of their previous collaboration Horns, it […]

REVIEW: Don’t Think Twice [2016]

“Your favorite bunch of weirdoes” The type of films that sting the most are the ones that are universal in emotion despite being niche in subject. So what if this tight-knit group of contemporaries championing each other’s work as they strive to improve their own are improv comedians selling out a fifty-seat theater in New […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Linda LeThorn & the Musicbox [2012]

“She is really good at this job!” There’s nothing generic about Linda LeThorn & the Musicbox, Meg Skaff‘s quirky psychological study delving into the mind of a damaged young woman who left her aunt behind to endure a fatal disease alone despite promising to remain by her side. Linda (Aundrea Fares) was obviously affected by […]

REVIEW: Imperium [2016]

“Just because you’re not looking at something doesn’t mean it’s not there” People forget that before 9/11 our idea of a terrorist was a lone wolf type: domestic white Neo Nazis with agendas that warped their intellect into working towards creating chaos to spark a cleansing. It’s therefore interesting to look at the constituency of […]

REVIEW: Level Up [2016]

“See if you can get off the sofa today” You watch enough hero-backed-into-a-corner action films like Crank, Taken, or The Equalizer and you start to find your mind drifting away from the sheer monotony of their progression. Their characters are built to survive these situations no matter how dire because people want to see the […]

REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit […]

REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two […]

REVIEW: Lake Nowhere [2016]

“My blood is liquid offering” Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy take a page from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez‘s book by delving into slasher fare of old for their own grindhouse-type homage of Italian blood-letting, maliciously Evil Dead-esque vines, and a murderer in the vein of Leatherface and Jason Voorhees protecting a lake […]

REVIEW: Finding Dory [2016]

“Just follow the shells” Even though Pixar’s first sequel Toy Story 2 equaled one of its best movies (many say both sequels did, although I’d argue Toy Story 3 pales in comparison to its predecessors), not even they could keep up appearances with Cars 2 and Monsters University. It’s impossible to hit as many homeruns […]

REVIEW: Piper [2016]

It’s really quite amazing how consistent Disney/Pixar is at telling six-minute long, vibrantly rich stories without words. Each year passes with a new one arriving to build upon the last, sometimes embracing the “fun” side of things and sometimes as an expression of love. I’d put Alan Barillaro‘s Piper in the former category as its […]

LOCARNO16 REVIEW: Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] [1991]

“You always through stones on the path” It’s been twenty-five years since Xavier Koller‘s Reise der Hoffnung [Journey of Hope] won the Best Foreign Film Oscar and yet watching it today feels urgently contemporary. Between the political unrest in Turkey and volatile international discourse pertaining to refugees as countries vehemently close their borders and American […]