La Sapienza 7


At once a history lesson via travelogue and a relationship drama of sorts, Eugène Green’s latest film, La Sapienza, oscillates between scholarly discourses on the subject of Roman Baroque architecture and the importance of remembering and incorporating elements of the past. What starts out as cold and mechanical slowly warms up, becoming enlivened from the same welcoming light that is discussed at length within.

Jauja 4.5

JAUJA Review

Towards the end of Alonso’s latest affair of sweeping ambiguity, Jauja, there resides a character explaining a condition currently effecting a canine; a nervous reaction of sorts, a hot spot, brought about from the animal’s inability to understand something causing him to scratch himself furiously, irritating himself, injuring himself. This canine could easily be a representation of my own attempts at interpreting the ambiguity-rich quasi-narrative of Jauja, if only there was enough substance to warrant such sustained contemplation.

a-woman-like-me 6.5


Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a devastating discovery, one that ignites a flurry of thoughts, a multitude of questions and concerns or it could elicit the opposite response - total shock shutdown. Either way, it’s an exhausting and emotionally draining existence in most cases as the person needs to deal with a number of issues that tag-along with a cancer diagnosis - questions regarding treatment options, medication and their side effects, surgeries, tests, work restrictions and so on. Now imagine during that initial flood of worries and what-ifs the first bit of follow-up news you receive is that the cancer has metastasized and it’s incurable.

Wild Canaries 8.5


Motives are mounting and blackmail abounds in writer/director Lawrence Michael Levine’s latest film, Wild Canaries, a modern update of the classic murder mystery that marries romantic entanglements and relationship drama along with the tension from anticipating the twists and turns of standard whodunit involving amateur sleuths.

AtW 4


Yet another trite configuration of the tired elements that always seem to make up these coming-of-age dramas. The only surprising and, perhaps, original aspect of writer/director Michael Johnson’s debut, All the Wilderness, is how uninspired it all feels. No one, on-screen, gives the impression that this is, in fact, a story that needs to be told; yet, told it is going through the motions with little to no passion.

Sabbatical 7.5


One might assume that a film revolving around a middle-aged man returning to his hometown in order to care for his ailing mother, recovering from a recent stroke, to be an emotionally-charged affair; complete with numerous breakdowns, tear-stained faces bursting with fear and uncertainty or passionate eruptions brought on by the overwhelming frustrations of the relentless responsibilities characteristic of care-taking. Writer/director Brandon Colvin, however, depicts that narrative in a much different style in his sophomore effort, Sabbatical, opting instead to reduce the emotional volume to near silent levels as the characters attempt to suppress confronting their feelings in a constant struggle to keep the ever-mounting emotions deep down inside.



Time for another foray into Finkle is Einhorn territory with writer/director Spike Lee, as his newest feature is a modern reinterpretation of the Bill Gunn cult classic Ganja & Hess. Normally in instances such as these you would find myself railing against the idea of remaking a film, especially a cult classic such as Gunn’s. However, in a case like this I find myself thoroughly intrigued by the prospect of Spike Lee reimagining an experimental horror film from the ‘70s. So, if the question is “Who better to remake Ganja & Hess?”, I would honestly have to say that Spike Lee would reside at the top of that list.

H. 6.5

Sundance 2015: H. Review

Strange things have been happening in and around the two Helen’s hometown in Attieh and Garcia's H.; everything is leaking, gravity is acting without any rhyme or reason and there may even be a black stallion roaming around the streets of Troy. The scope of these peculiar instances vary, ranging from fleeting moments of slight strangeness to the more panic-inducing occurrences of missing people and wall staring.

as 6.5

AMIRA & SAM Review

Writer/director Sean Mullin’s feature debut, Amira & Sam, is an interesting take on not only the romantic comedy genre, but also the returning vet genre. Centering around an Army veteran returning from his most recent tour overseas, Mullin’s film extends itself into a number of wide-ranging topics, proving helpful in some areas and detrimental in others.

Appropriate Behavior 7


While Appropriate Behavior is far from a perfect film, it still announces itself as a promising start for Akhavan, a multi-talented individual with a bright future; a wonderful mixture of humorous interactions (where buying underwear can quickly turn into a psychological evaluation), measured emotional drama set to a swift pace and an eclectic soundtrack, rounded out with a fantastic supporting cast.


2014 Performances Overview – Female (Lead/Supporting)

Since the cinematic year of 2014 is coming to a close, it’s about that time to highlight the best performances of the year - both lead and supporting. I have based these inclusions on any and all films released within the year whether it be theatrical or VOD. Some of these performances will be considered obvious, while the other less talked about roles I found to be quite profound and definitely worthy of any and all praise.

Leviathan 8


Zvyagintasev’s LEVIATHAN works on a number of levels due to the carefully-curated script (co-written with Oleg Negin), along with the universality of the film’s themes focusing on the helplessness of the less powerful in the face of corruption and abuses of power. A definite Russian film in the sense of its topics, yet approachable in its execution.


Adam’s 2015 Movie Challenge

Every year Editor-in-Chief Adam Patterson says he'll watch my film recommendations and every year he continues not to strike these films from his list of shame. Given his recent movie challenge proposal, I've decided that my move would consist of some of Adam's favorite types of films - thoughtful ruminations of the slow-burn foreign type. Although, the unveiling of my list will be more subdued in nature, given the fact that I lack the skill and abilities needed to cut 25 films together to a thumping soundtrack.

ButterontheLatch 5


Much of the occurrences in BUTTER ON THE LATCH, the debut feature from actress/performance artist Josephine Decker, are of the highly-ambiguous variety as the film refuses to follow any discernible path, narratively speaking. Think more along the lines of a free-form improvisation told in scattershot chronology, wafting between reality, daydreams and nightmares. As one can imagine, some of it works while some of it falls flat.

TheHomesman 8


In the more-than-capable hands of Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman elevates its straight-forward narrative on the hardships of pioneer life to become an expertly-executed Western. Thanks to a wide range of fantastic performances from the ensemble cast to the brilliant score of Beltrami to the beautiful visuals of Prieto.