Tagged 2018

Vita & Virginia (Button, 2018)

Virginia Woolf is one of the greatest writers of all time, and certainly one of my favourite authors. It was, then, with much anticipation that I waited for news about Vita & Virginia to arrive out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival—and I was disappointed when word of mouth wasn’t strong. But I had already made…

Knife+Heart (Gonzalez, 2018)

Yann Gonzalez wants the giallo to make a modern comeback, and honestly? I’m here for it. Knife+Heart revels in all the genre’s sleazy elements, including the impressionistic uses of vivid colour, ambient soundscapes (courtesy of synthpop band M83), and that irresistible slasher/stalker element that puts all the characters in vulnerable spots as a bloodthirsty killer lurks in…

Hotel by the River (Hong, 2018)

Hong Sang-soo continues to go from strength to strength as a filmmaker, with his latest offering, Hotel by the River, landing as one of his strongest achievements to date. It sees him testing the limits of his style and thematic proclivities in ways that still continually surprise. His camerawork, for instance, is more urgent and involved…

Greta (Jordan, 2018)

Grande Dame Guignol lives on! Maybe not with the same panache as the films from the ‘60s, or the same level of insanity, but a film like Greta is worth it for the camp spectacle alone. Here it is provided to us by an extremely game Isabelle Huppert, playing a spidery widow who leaves expensive-looking purses lying…

Black Mother (Allah, 2018)

Black Mother is filmmaker and photographer Khalik Allah’s benediction to his homeland of Jamaica. In his polyphonic and contrapuntal vision, it is a place of many faces and attitudes, with eyes that see the road ahead with sagacity, noses that revel in the scent of the country’s foods and recreations (marijuana included) and mouths that sing…

Hotel Mumbai (Maras, 2018)

I don’t want to write too much about Hotel Mumbai because I got my fill of it in the theatre and thinking about it after the fact is like a PTSD trigger. On one hand, one can commend Anthony Maras for trying to render the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks as authentically as he could, doing extensive research…

Giant Little Ones (Behrman, 2018)

Following on the heels of LGBTQ+ coming-of-age stories like Love, Simon from last year, Giant Little Ones is another film that highlights the struggles queer teenagers face in toxic environments like high school, where latent homophobia and bullying make coming out an almost Herculean task. And so some choose to hide in fear, pretending to be people they’re not…

Ready Player One (Spielberg, 2018)

Sorry Spielbergers. I’m not sure I’m the audience for this kind of stuff. I do admire the thoroughness of the VFX work and how wonderfully the different avatars are rendered, and the whole sequence inside The Shining was kind of mind-blowing in how accurately it was all reproduced. We’ve come so far technologically, and as long as…

Predicting the 91st Academy Awards: The Winners

Oh, reader, I am tired. Awards seasons are always draining, but this one has taken the cake. Most of the blame has to go to the Academy’s board and the producers of Sunday’s show for showering us with a wealth of hare-brained stupidity. Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson does a fantastic job of giving you a comprehensive rundown of…

Ralph Breaks the Internet (Moore & Johnston, 2018)

There is a lot going on in Ralph Breaks the Internet outside of its family-friendly messaging about learning to let go of your insecurities and, by extension, the people you’re close to when it’s time for them to move on. In and of itself, that messaging is astute and worth championing in a film like this. The fact that…

The 2019 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Live Action (Various, 2017-2018)

Detainment (Lambe, 2018) Good Lord, how am I supposed to review this thing? Tasteless as it is aesthetically, it also seems callous to force people to relive a national tragedy as the Jamie Bulger killing all over again. I get there are still unanswered questions and all, but is that really enough reason to reenact…

Border (Abbasi, 2018)

This is quite the mish-mash. A heaping of Scandinavian folklore here, a sprinkle of gritty police procedural there. It ping-pongs between the two genres with intriguing results. Its feet are firmly planted in reality, but the folklore elements give it a sense of atemporality. It seems to exist in one time and in no time,…

Free Solo (Vasarhelyi & Chin, 2018)

I spent a good portion of Free Solo loudly swearing at my walls. Not a heights guy, I’m afraid. Watching someone scale a rock formation without a rope or harness is the kind of cinematic event I can’t put myself through more than once, even if I know the outcome in advance. Not good for the blood…

The 2019 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Documentary (Various, 2017-2018)

Black Sheep (Perkins, 2018) I could definitely feel the Moonlight influences in this short documentary about a black boy’s desperate drive to survive after moving to a racist neighbourhood in Essex. The direct address to the camera, and the sustained close-up of his face is one noticeable feature, as is the shot of his younger self in…