Tag Archives: 2016

November 04

Black Star: Jean of the Joneses

Do not be fooled by the jazzy New York vibe of Stella Meghie’s multigenerational comedy Jean of the Joneses. While it is reminiscent of the works of Woody Allen and Whit Stillman, Meghie’s film has its own wonderfully distinct voice. The film follows the mishaps of Jean (Taylour Paige), a promising young writer who is […]

February 24

I Am Not Your Negro

“What is going to happen to this country?” Novelist James Baldwin believes this the real question that should be considered, while appearing on The Dick Cavett Show, rather than the one he has been asked regarding why black people are not jovial about their better life. Of course Baldwin, and those taking in Raoul Peck’s […]

February 18

TIFF Next Wave: 2 Fists Up

“They were trying to police how we fight for liberation” states Ayanna Poole, a University of Missouri student and founding member of the school’s Concerned Student 1950 activism group, recounting one particular protest that was designed to get a face-to-face meeting with university president Tim Wolfe. Despite being told to move their protest to the […]

January 17

New on Blu-ray: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher does not go looking for trouble, but trouble always seems to find him. If you have ever read one of Lee Child’s novels starring his iconic Jack Reacher character, then it is easy to understand why Tom Cruise would want to portray the character onscreen. A former military officer turned drifter, Reacher leads […]

January 15

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival: Angry Inuk

An Inuit community in Canada’s northern territories faces an interesting challenge. How can a culture, that prides itself on a patient and understated expression of anger, make themselves heard when their opponents are famous for a more aggressive approach? Canadian seal hunting has gotten a lot of media attention since the late 1970s thanks to […]

January 09

Fences

“You’ve got to take the crooked with the straights” barks Troy Maxson to his son Cory while instructing the young man to quit the football team. The line is not meant to comfort Cory, whose hope of earning a scholarship will be killed as a result of his father’s demands, but rather to remind him […]

January 05

La La Land

Every few years a movie comes along that tries to reinvent something in Hollywood. The last big reinvention was The Artist, which tried to revive silent films, or at least the concept of silent films and old Hollywood. These novelty films are often lauded for simply that, their novelty. While I HUGELY value originality, I […]

December 28

Tower

  On August 1 1966, Charles Whitman, a student at the University of Texas, barricaded himself in the tower of the main building on campus and opened fire on unsuspecting civilians. Armed with a sniper rifle, among other weapon, Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 36 others before he was taken out by police officers. […]

December 25

Hidden Figures

History is often shaped by those who tell it. This is why many will know the tale of John Glen’s historic journey that made him the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, but few will have heard of some of the people that helped him get there. Theodore Melfi’s latest film Hidden Figures aims […]

December 23

Reset

According to famed dancer Benjamin Millepied, ballet is all about, at its core, the relationship between music and movement. It is when these two elements are working in unison that the art form is most powerful. As directors Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai show in their documentary Reset, achieving this harmony, and making it look […]

December 21

The Thoughts That Once We Had

Though ostensibly a documentary, it is disingenuous to cast director Thom Andersen’s The Thoughts That Once We Had as anything but a spruced-up video essay.  It is a YouTube video stretched to nearly two hours, with a more-practiced hand at the helm.  Andersen is unabashed about his love of cinema, and clearly states that this […]

December 20

Sing

It is easy to dismiss a film like Sing if one was to merely judge it by its marketing. By all accounts the popularity of singing competitions has run its course. Sure, shows like The Voice are still on the air, but they lack the national obsession that American Idol first garnered when it began […]

December 19

Kaili Blues

Kaili Blues is a gorgeous film that interlaces realism and fantasy with the same grace as a Gabriel García Márquez novel.  The film is the feature debut of Bi Gan, a Chinese director born in Kaili, Guizhou, and it certainly announces him as a burgeoning talent. The story has a wandering and quixotic nature to […]

December 18

Kate Plays Christine

Kate Plays Christine is a confusing commentary on the public’s obsession with true crime drama.  The film is structured as a kind of documentary, focusing on an actress named Kate Lyn Sheil as she is preparing to play the role of Christine Chubbuck.  Chubbuck was a news anchor in Sarasota, Florida who infamously committed suicide […]

December 17

Hooligan Sparrow

In Hooligan Sparrow, director Nanfu Wang take great risks with her camera, and not just artistic ones.  Her film focuses on a woman named Ye Haiyan, also known as “Sparrow”, an infamous women’s rights activist who is known for viral stunts and art projects that shine a light on the abuse of women in China.  […]

December 13

Life, Animated

One of the remarkable things about Roger Ross Williams’ Life, Animated is the way it celebrates the power of film without feeling like a promotional tool for that which it praises. Disney movies have been leaving lasting impressions on generations of film lovers both young and old for many years. While their best films can […]

December 11

The Academy of Muses

Trying to review The Academy of Muses feels a lot like faking my way through an essay question on an exam for which I’ve barely studied. A professor of philology, which apparently is a thing, teaches an advanced course in Barcelona for which we get a front row seat. Professor Pinto’s class seems to offer […]

December 10

Right Now, Wrong Then

Right Now, Wrong Then is the kind of movie that bores you to tears and then makes you feel like a dummy for it. I hate to write off moves as “boring” or “slow”. I pride myself on my sophisticated tastes and patience with deliberating pacing. The latest feature from Hong Sang-Soo is the kind […]

December 09

Jackie

Death is something, no matter how often it may occur, that we never seem ready for. Dealing with the grief it causes and the burden of responsibility that comes with organizing the funeral, so family and friends can say there official goodbyes, are not things we are taught to do. It is this period of […]

December 07

Christine

When reporter Christine Chubbuck shot herself during a live broadcast on July 15, 1974 it was to make a point, a gruesome and horrifying statement. Television news had lost its way and became too obsessed with providing sensationalism rather than the truth. Her deadly action was meant to be a wake-up call to society; a […]