• stevejobs01

    REVIEW: Steve Jobs [2015]

    “Computers aren’t paintings” Despite being an Apple guy from way back playing with LOGO the turtle in grade school before eventually swapping out MacBook Pros every five years or so from college on, I never really cared who Steve Jobs was beyond the kindly looking genius in a black turtleneck. To me the appeal was […]

  • lookofsilence01

    REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]

    “If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]

  • brooklyn01

    REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

    “I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love […]

  • jameswhite01

    REVIEW: James White [2015]

    “It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) […]

  • dope01

    REVIEW: Dope [2015]

    “Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

film reviews


TIFF15 REVIEW: O sinaleiro [The Signalman] [2015]

“The train was on time” Writer/director Daniel Augusto definitely cultivates a dark tone for his short film O Sinaleiro [The Signalman]. Between the quiet isolation of the titular character (played by Fernando Teixeira) and the almost supernatural occurrences surrounding him, you can’t help but conjure ideas of some spectral evil looming at his door. The […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: The Ballad of Immortal Joe [2015]

“If you want my story I will proceed” Written in memory of a family member, Pazit Cahlon‘s Western poem The Ballad of Immortal Joe sounds like a nursery rhyme but plays like a bittersweet romance of cursed love. Directed and animated by Hector Herrera, the short has an eye-catching aesthetic with dark palette and deep […]


REVIEW: Le mépris [Contempt] [1963]

“I love you totally, tenderly, tragically” Director Jean-Luc Godard has tested cinema’s boundaries throughout his career. So it’s hardly surprising his foray into CinemaScope color with a bigger budget would be as much an aesthetic exercise showing off the technology’s splendor as it is a scathing look at the industry with the money and ego […]


REVIEW: American Ultra [2015]

“We fired the ugly one” When there are only seven basic plots—as the saying goes—to implicitly choose from as a screenwriter, genre-bending homage becomes the sole path towards creativity. So while Max Landis‘ script for American Ultra is The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith through a Pineapple Express filter, it’s a damn good […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Victoria [2015]

“Let’s hit the roof, boys” If director/co-writer Sebastian Schipper wanted, he could have easily turned Victoria into a first-person adventure through the streets of Berlin. It practically is already considering cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen follows behind the filmmaker’s main quartet for the entire two-hour, eighteen-minute single shot. Unlike allowing its characters to turn towards the […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Hellions [2015]

“Blood for baby” There’s a lot I like about Bruce McDonald‘s latest horror Hellions. Just as much also has me scratching my head, though. While this sometimes enhances the experience by cajoling you into wanting to watch it again to catch any little details you may have missed, I’m not sure this is one of […]


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, […]


REVIEW: Cobain: Montage of Heck [2015]

“You better buckle-up because you are not ready for this” The mythos surrounding Kurt Cobain will never be contained. Revered the world over, his suicide at twenty-seven proved a devastating event in music and pop culture history—more so even than Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin whose deaths preceded him at that same age. Conspiracy theories […]


REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton [2015]

“Speak a little truth and people lose their minds” NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton is a conventional biopic. And I hate conventional biopics. It’s therefore a good thing its story is anything but. Between its time period containing an excess of racial and political strife to the void of a black voice filled by rap […]


REVIEW: Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm] [2014]

“Today a part of me has died and I cannot cry” For wunderkind Xavier Dolan, a film unreleased in America two years after completion is hard to believe. But that’s exactly what happened with his adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard‘s play Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm]. On the surface it should be […]


REVIEW: The Great Outdoors [1988]

“Let go of the rope” Most would probably call it lesser John Hughes—he wrote and produced with Howard Deutch taking the director’s chair—but The Great Outdoors will always hold a special place in my heart. If you asked me who John Candy was in 1990 I’d probably have said, “the guy from The Great Outdoors” […]


REVIEW: My Cousin Vinny [1992]

“I’ve just never actually seen a grit” I watched My Cousin Vinny a lot in my youth thanks in part to it being a cable TV staple. It’s been a while since my last visit with Joe Pesci‘s titular character’s antics, but the appeal of its humor never faded. I’ve continued to quote lines like […]


REVIEW: Mother & Brother [2015]

“You want me to be happy for you two fools?” There’s a lot of drama to be tapped from the relationship between parent and child, especially those with a dynamic clouded by abuse. It doesn’t have to be physical or sexual to leave a lasting mark either—constant verbal disapproval despite doing everything in your power […]


REVIEW: Felt [2015]

“I’m never safe” Today’s sexual climate needs a film like Felt to turn a mirror back. Whether it’s the long-hushed Quaalude-rape escapades of Bill Cosby finally coming to light or recent allegations pointed towards infamous party-boy and man-of-bad-decisions Patrick Kane, thinking the public can ignore society’s pervasive patriarchy and victim-blaming is dying. I won’t say […]


TIFF15 REVIEW: Quiet Zone [2015]

“These are the thoughts that we grow up with” This is the type of experimental movie I can get behind because it doesn’t specifically hinge on form and form alone. What David Bryant and Karl Lemieux have done is distort their film with contextual purpose (not that others don’t, it’s just not merely abstract here). […]