Author's posts

The Photograph

“I wish I was as good at love as I am at working. I wish I didn’t leave people behind so often.” A young woman speaks those words of regret from the past. The camcorder information on the bottom left corner lets the audience know she’s speaking to us from 1989. As to why she …

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The Lodge

In movies, stepmothers always seem to have a rough go at joining a new family. They tend to be the villains of a story, arbiters of cruelty and unwanted change, a character perhaps best personified by Disney’s “Cinderella.” Should the poor soul actually want to connect with her new family, she has the impossible task …

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Sundance 2020: Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia, La Leyenda Negra, Beast Beast, I Carry You With Me

Sundance Film Festival’s eclectic NEXT section is proof that a story can come from anywhere and be told in many different ways. No two movies are quite alike in this section, which sometimes feels like a catch-all for gems that were either too risky to run against likely crowd-pleasers, or are passion projects that make giant leaps …

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A Roller Coaster in the Dark: Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham on Promising Young Woman

Emerald Fennell’s biting dark comedy “Promising Young Woman” serves up a new take on old revenge narratives. In the movie, Cassie (Carey Mulligan) spends her days working at a coffee shop and her nights playing intoxicated so she could trap then scare predatory men from harming other women. When she reconnects with a former college …

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The Host

If you’re going to shamelessly rip-off from a classic most of us have seen, at least make it interesting. Andy Newbery’s “The Host” riffs off of two horror movies many might recognize, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and to a lesser extent, Eli Roth’s “Hostel.” However, the unholy mix of the two did not pack enough suspense …

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Afterward

In Ofra Bloch’s “Afterward,” the director connects current and past traumas by reflecting on her childhood memories, her beloved uncle’s experience of the Holocaust, and how she learned to fear her Palestinian neighbors in Israel. Yet while Bloch’s emotions and thoughts about the Holocaust and the Israeli occupation are deeply felt, the documentary’s finer points are a little …

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Seberg

Like many an actress before her, Jean Seberg headed to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but once the talent contest winner of Marshalltown, Iowa, arrived in Tinseltown, it was anything but a dream. An accident on the set of her first movie scarred her. At first, success eluded her. Eventually, she headed to France to …

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The Death & Life of John F. Donovan

Xavier Dolan’s English language debut “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” is a confounding movie about our relationship to celebrities and the effect they have on us. Jumping back and forth between two stories, one that’s at least semi-interesting and the other an anemic framing device, the movie follows an actor and author, …

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The Aeronauts

Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts” begins just as Amelia (Felicity Jones), a balloon pilot, and James (Eddie Redmayne), a scientist desperate to prove his theories about the weather, take off on their 19th century vertical adventure in front of a large crowd to much fanfare. In flashbacks, “The Aeronauts” explains more about their tenuous relationship beyond …

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

“Though of all races, the schoolchildren were mostly black and Latino, and they didn’t even approach Mister Rogers and ask him for his autograph. They just sang.” If you’ve seen an ad or trailer for Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” perhaps you noticed the scene above. At first, even I thought this …

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Atlantics

In watching so many films in a given week, month, or year, it’s rare to find one that sustains its thrills throughout its runtime, matches its gorgeous imagery with a compelling story, and defies easy categorization. Mati Diop’s haunting narrative feature debut “Atlantics” is one such movie. It’s unlike few other movies you’ll see this …

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Lady and the Tramp

The march of Disney’s live-action remakes continues, but this time, its latest reimagining of a beloved classic will not open in a theater near you. Instead, “Lady and the Tramp” will only be available on Disney+, the company’s new digital streaming platform launching Nov. 12. The situation may become an interesting case study on audience …

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The Best Films of the 2010s: Roma

This feature is a part of a series on the best films of the 2010s, resulting from our ranked top 25, which you can read here. This is #8.  “Roma” is a movie with its heart in the past and present. Although each frame is a meticulously recreated memory from director, writer and cinematographer Alfonso Cuarón’s …

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Light from Light

There’s no right way to grieve the death of a loved one. Some of us chose to keep the sadness to ourselves, others talk through it or express it in creative ways. We move on, or we don’t. We take comfort in the small signs that they might somehow still be with us or we …

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Paradise Hills

When done well, sci-fi movies give filmmakers the chance to explore the world’s earthly problems through fantastical situations. The setting can be a futuristic world or in space, the villains perhaps benevolent machines went bad or a society that has turned technology against itself. The costumes can be over the top like in “The Fifth …

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The Cave

There are few moments of calm in a movie like Feras Fayyad’s follow-up documentary to “Last Men in Aleppo,” “The Cave.” Throughout Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, a spidery web of tunnels and escape passage give evacuees claustrophobically close but safe quarters. It’s the last chance for survival for many driven under the buildings they once …

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TIFF 2019: The Kingmaker, Desert One, Collective

Unless you’re at a festival where documentaries are the focus, it’s not uncommon to see these titles pushed to the ends of must-see lists for big festivals—if they’re even listed at all. Fortunately, the Toronto International Film Festival had no shortages of movies where facts won out over fictional narratives.  “The Queen of Versailles” filmmaker …

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Jexi

What the hell is a Jexi? Unless you looked it up, you could stare at the movie showtimes for ages and not come up with the right answer. Unless you snuck a peek at the trailer, you might wonder why there’s a movie poster of Adam Devine looking lovingly at his phone with the word …

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Corporate Animals

Patrick Brice’s “Corporate Animals” is one of those comedies that never moves beyond its premise. It starts and ends with a company retreat that goes horribly awry. The only difference from the start of the movie to its credits is that this motley crew of misfits learns to stand up to their nightmare boss. So, …

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TIFF 2019: 1982, Ordinary Love, Blackbird

Romantic movies can be just as full of tension as any thriller, keep viewers on the edge of their seats like a horror movie or earn cheers from its audiences like an action-packed blockbuster. Much like these genres, they don’t always get the respect they deserve. While these three stories of love that recently screened …

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