Reviews

Film Review: Nomadland is an emotionally-charged masterpiece

March 4, 2021

The opening of Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland opens with a sobering statistic.  In Nevada, a small town – Empire – has essentially become a ghost town due to the local Gypsum plant closing down amid the recession.  The Empire residents, most of whom lived in company-owned homes, had to vacate in masses, deactivating the town’s zip […]

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Raya and the Last Dragon

Film Review: Raya and the Last Dragon is visually rapturous and fun, marking a minor step in representation

March 4, 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in a fantasy world called Kumandra; which was once inhabited by both humans and dragons in a harmonious existence. But, that peace comes under imminent danger when malevolent monsters known as the Druun make their presence known. To stave off the threat and save humanity, the dragons perform […]

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The Walrus and the Whistleblower

Transitions Film Festival Review: The Walrus and the Whistleblower submerges its important issues in water

March 1, 2021

Lots of us know Free Willy but what about Free Smooshi? The latter campaign started after a former trainer at Canada’s Marineland water park went rogue. He took to Twitter to make allegations about animal abuse at his former employer. The documentary, The Walrus & the Whistleblower tells this sad story. Nathalie Bibeau directs this […]

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Transitions Film Festival Review: Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is an inspiring look at an activist who walked to the beat of his own drum

February 23, 2021

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story was my first introduction to the eccentric writer and eponymous artist. Baumer went viral in 2016 after he embarked on a barefoot walk across America. This documentary takes in various beats along his journey of over 100 days. It’s a portrait that is as rich and detailed as an oil […]

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Minari

Film Review: Minari is a beautiful family drama that is wholesome, relaxing and heartwarming

February 18, 2021

Minari tells the story of the Yi family, a Korean-American family that has moved from the city in California to a plot of land in rural Arkansas. The patriarch Jacob (Steven Yeun) is optimistic for the move and plans to grow fresh Korean produce and sell them to needy vendors in Dallas, Texas. His wife […]

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The Little Things

Film Review: The Little Things is an underwhelming disappointment; even with three Oscar winners in tow

February 18, 2021

The Little Things follows the story of Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington), a world-weary deputy sheriff from Bakersfield, Kern County. He is called to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to collect evidence in relation to a recent murder. Most people are apprehensive of his presence due to the fact that he used to work […]

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Film Review: In Search of Darkness II provides another bountiful smorgasbord for 1980’s horror fans

February 16, 2021

Two years after the first instalment, the search for darkness continues! Director David A. Weiner is back with another entry in examining horror films in the 1980’s with In Search of Darkness Part II. The first film, while very well-received (especially from yours truly), did receive some reserved criticism. One example is the lack of […]

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Film Review: Zappa is a frank & creative look at Frank Zappa’s weirdly provocative genius

February 16, 2021

Zappa is a documentary that feels like one giant motherfucker of a film. At 129 minutes, director Alex Winter (the former lead actor of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) covers lots of ground about this enigmatic genius. They broke the mould when they made Frank Zappa. So, while the proceedings are detailed and capture his […]

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Film Review: A Writer’s Odyssey is a visually astounding fantasy thrill ride

February 14, 2021

A Writer’s Odyssey (formerly known as Assassin in Red) is the latest film from Chinese filmmaker Lu Yang. He is best known for the Brotherhood of Blades films; sterling examples of martial arts pieces that manage to branch out of genre conventions and become something more as they both venture into crime fiction. They were […]

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Film Review: I Care A Lot is further proof of Rosamund Pike’s devilish star quality

February 12, 2021

Given just how maliciously magnetic she was in Gone Girl, it makes sense that devoted fans would be awaiting another Rosamund Pike performance that allows the actress to delight in all the dark ambition so evident in her Oscar-nominated turn. That’s certainly not to say she hasn’t been delivering the goods in the years since, […]

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Film Review: Another Round overcomes its farcical premise with an organic honesty

February 11, 2021

You’d be forgiven for reading the plot outline for Another Round and assuming wacky comedic hijinks would ensue.  Based around a surprisingly real theory put forward by Norwegian psychiatrist Finn SkĂĄrderud, who suggested that humans could operate at their best with a consistent blood alcohol level of .05%, Thomas Vinterberg‘s dramedy is occasionally humorous as […]

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Sundance Review: I Was a Simple Man is a beautifully assembled and yet malnourished film

February 11, 2021

Set in the present-day Oahu, Hawaii, the film follows the story of Masao (Steve Iwamoto), an aging patriarch who is spending his serene days in his home, with his vast family who intermittently keep him company. His health is deteriorating and his relationship with his family becomes more and more estranged. When he contemplates his […]

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Sundance Review: We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is an outstanding directorial debut from Schoenbrun

February 11, 2021

Set in present day America, the film follows the story of Casey, a lonely teenager who participates in an online game known as the World’s Fair Challenge; a game that promises to be the scariest game in existence. After starting the game, Casey records videos of herself and posts them online in order to document […]

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Sundance Review: In Prisoners of the Ghostland, Nic Cage’s acting style fits Sono’s direction like a glove

February 11, 2021

When one hears of a collaboration between acclaimed Japanese maverick filmmaker Sion Sono between American’s acting dynamo Nicolas Cage; one cannot help but be intrigued. Even people who dislike their work would love to see the final result of their work just to see what it would be like because the very idea of such […]

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Film Review: Wrong Turn takes a couple of wrong turns and becomes a hodgepodge of horror

February 11, 2021

Wrong Turn appears to be your stock-standard horror which takes a group of young twenty-somethings into a remote rural part of the US for some hiking fun. Although none of it is very fun and absolutely no good times are had. As you might imagine, during the hiking trip, on the Appalachian trail, one of […]

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Film Review: Long Story Short expresses the importance of time and relationships without resorting to emotional manipulation

February 10, 2021

The tried and true formula of the “time loop” sub-genre in film has been adopted many a time; the Happy Death Day films, Edge of Tomorrow, the recent Palm Springs, and the seminal Groundhog Day being arguably the prototype for such offerings.  For Long Story Short, the sophomore effort from Australian writer/director/actor Josh Lawson (The […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: In the Earth is Ben Wheatley back on maverick, transgressive, genre-shifting form

February 8, 2021

Set in a tumultuous time in the world that is overtaken by a virus, Joel Fry stars as Martin Lowery, a doctor who is tasked on a mission to venture to reach test site ATU327A, a research area that is deep in the Arboreal forest; led by Dr. Wendle (Hayley Squires). Lowery is guided by […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Eight for Silver is an enjoyably gnarly time from director Sean Ellis

February 7, 2021

Set in the late 1800s, a pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) has been sent to a distant village that has been terrorized by a wild animal, resulting in numerous deaths. He has been sent there to find a missing child; whom the parents (Alistair Petrie and Mary Reilly) presume with utter conviction that he is […]

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Film Review: Bliss is heavy on ideas but light on execution

February 5, 2021

A science fiction film dealing with the powers of telekinesis and virtual reality, and starring Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek for good measure, Bliss is heavy on ideas but light on execution as Mike Cahill‘s ambitious outing takes only mere minutes to fall apart at its artificial seams. Wilson headlines as Greg, a supposed biggish […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: The Pink Cloud is more than just an eerie prophecy of the world today

February 5, 2021

One of the things that is very reflective about film is how cinematic storytelling can reflect the current condition of the world today. But it is that very same quality that can make the storytelling of said film feel dated. The main reason would be due to the time spent on development in getting the […]

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Film Review: Greenland is a surprisingly emotional and human tale for a disaster themed action film

February 5, 2021

When it was known that Gerard Butler would be reuniting with his Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh for a disaster movie, I think we all had an idea of what type of movie it could be.  Guaranteed, Greenland would not have been the outcome in anyone’s frontal cortex.  Shifting focus away from the […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Passing is a fantastic directorial debut from Rebecca Hall

February 3, 2021

Passing is the feature-length directorial debut from acclaimed actress Rebecca Hall. She is best known for her astounding performances in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and Christine; as well as her appearances in blockbusters like The Prestige and Iron Man 3. Her interest in adapting the source material of the same […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Judas and the Black Messiah is an impactful drama that’s all too aware of its topical relevance

February 2, 2021

After proving a formidable plot point in last year’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 – however secondary it may have been – the killing of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in 1969, at the age of only 21 years, is given the right, timely treatment in Shaka King‘s equally impactful (perhaps even more so) […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: The Blazing World is a tarnished world of immense beauty

February 2, 2021

The Blazing World is the type of film where the ideas of logic, plot or conventional storytelling need not apply; and that is absolutely fine with the story it is telling. Expanded from a short film of the same name, it is the feature-length directorial debut from established actress turned writer/director Carlson Young. The short […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Try Harder! is a delightful documentary about the high school experience and overcoming impossible expectations

February 2, 2021

Starting on a personal note, when I heard about the documentary Try Harder and its premise, I had traumatic flashbacks to my own time as a student. The relentless studying, the overbearing parenting, the exaggerated expectations, the regrettably embarrassing actions; it all came flooding back. That is when I knew that I had to watch […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Pleasure is a deliberately uncomfortable navigation of the boundaries of the sex industry

February 1, 2021

After introducing itself as a film that promises there’ll be no sugarcoating its subject matter – the first thing we hear are the audible moans and verbal berating from a pornographic film, and the first thing we see is the extremely graphic imagery of a young girl’s privates in the shower – Ninja Thyberg‘s confronting […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Robin Wright’s Land speaks to the love of the land and one’s own self

February 1, 2021

With Nomadland currently doing the rounds and collecting its share of awards in the lead-up to a presumed heft of Oscar nominations, a film like Land being release is curious timing.  It’ll inevitably be compared to Chloe Zhao’s inward masterpiece and, in its own way, it’s something of a more digestible, audience friendly take on […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Together Together amusingly explores the notion of a man’s desire to listen to his biological clock

February 1, 2021

The notion of a biological clock and its exclusivity to women is a road travelled many a time over the course of cinematic history.  Such an idea pertaining to men however is another story entirely, and one that has seldom been explored.  Enter, Together Together. Written and directed by Nicole Beckwith (returning to Sundance 6 […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Mayday is a wonderfully unique, genre-shifting ode to female resilience

February 1, 2021

Do you know how it feels to describe a dream? A moment where you are not really sure what you just witnessed and yet you remember seeing certain things and oddly enough, you remember feeling everything about it? That is basically how it feels like watching Mayday, the feature-length directorial debut by writer/director Karen Cinorre. […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Don’t ignore the Knocking! Go see it for the thrills and Cecilia Milocco’s performance!

February 1, 2021

Knocking follows the story of Molly (Cecilia Milocco), a woman who is returning to the outside world after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital after she was admitted due to her involvement in a past traumatic event. She moves into an apartment complex and is starting to experience things that she has not come into […]

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