Vancouver 2017 Review: BLACK COP Does Its Concept Justice

Between its success at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this year, and here at VIFF, where it won the Canadian Feature award, Black Cop has become something of a sensation. Its concept is an undeniably timely,...

Vancouver 2017 Review: MAISON DU BONHEUR, a Lovely Portrait

Filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz's 2016 film, Never Eat Alone, won her VIFF's Emerging Canadian Director prize for that year. Now, she returns to the festival with her newest feature, Maison du bonheur. How the film came to be is a charming...

Vancouver 2017 Review: GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN, a Haunting Debut

Gukoroku: Traces of Sin, a moody Japanese mystery based on Nukui Tokuro's novel, feels like a pristine, preserved relic from the golden age of Japanese horror (think late 1990's, early 2000's). A self-assured and masterfully shot feature-length debut, the film...

Vancouver 2017 Review: THE SQUARE, An Uncomfortable Delight

Ruben Östlund is proving himself to be a keen observer of the human (specifically, male) condition, and one who can draw humor from its depths without losing any empathy along the way.

10+ Years Later: Is David Lynch's DUNE Really So Awful?

The whole concept behind 10+ Years Later is to revisit films about which time has potentially changed your opinion. When perusing David Lynch's filmography, I found myself routinely thinking, “Of course Dune is terrible,” and ignoring it to the extent...

Review: DEVIL IN THE DARK, Ultimately Scary and Admirably Evocative

British Columbia, my home province, is a wild and mysterious place. There's Vancouver, its largest and best-known city; its capital, Victoria; and a smattering of mid-size to small towns scattered here and there. Beyond that, the entire massive thing is...

Review: LAVENDER, Secrets Are Revealed in a Haunted House

Like many gothic ghost stories, Lavender centers around a woman with a vulnerable psyche and a shadowy past. In this case, the woman is Jane (Abbie Cornish), a young mother and wife who may have butchered her parents and sister...

10+ Years Later: Beyond AUDITION's Infamy

Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999) is a film whose memory has been all but condensed into a single image: a young Asian woman, soft-featured but wearing an unmistakably sinister side-long glance, holding up a syringe. This image was used for the...

Slamdance 2017 Review: CORTEZ, A Quietly Affecting and Beautifully Acted Debut

It's not easy to find cinema that transports the viewer into a place filled with people who genuinely seem to have existed before the film begins and long after it rolls credits. Cortez offers just that.

10+ Years Later: Would We Still Take THE MATRIX's Red Pill?

Have you ever found yourself defending a movie, going out of your way to articulate its many strengths, before gradually realizing that you haven't actually viewed it in a decade or more? Do you ever say “oh yeah, that movie...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Paints A Dark Portrait Of Migration

We've all heard, or read, an innumerable amount of horror stories about immigrants from third-world countries coming to North America and Europe. The Road to Mandalay shows us that even the seemingly small hop from Myanmar to Thailand can feel...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE LOCK PICKER Features Very Promising Talent

Randall Okita's debut feature, The Lockpicker, screened as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival's new Future // Present series, which showcases emerging directorial talent in Canadian film. The film is a claustrophobic -- mainly shot in tightly held closeups...

Vancouver 2016 Review: MALIGLUTIT, A Spiritual Remake of John Ford's Western Classic THE SEARCHERS

Maliglutit, the latest film by Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner), is essentially a spiritual remake of John Ford's seminal Western classic, The Searchers. This time, the action is set entirely in Nunavut, Canada's most sparsely populated territory and home to...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE UNKNOWN GIRL, All Quiet Revelations, Resignation and Modest Hope

While its central conceit is decidedly sensational in nature, The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) unfolds at a mundanely methodical trot that has come to be expected of the Dardenne brothers. Their latest film revolves around a confident and talented...

Review: KICKS Bristles With Immediacy, Excitement and Urgency

Kicks, a film about a hapless teenager who finds himself launched into the Bay Area's violent underbelly after being jumped for his new sneakers, bristles with immediacy, excitement and urgency. It's a remarkably assured, confident movie for a debut feature...

Review: MIA MADRE, Saying Goodbye to Mother

Nanni Moretti's latest film, Mia Madre, is elegant, understated, and discreetly moving. A personal, if not autobiographical film, Mia Madre chronicles the slow death of a filmmaker's mother as the director struggles to complete her movie. Moretti experienced the hospitalization...

New York Asian 2016 Review: CREEPY, A Master Heads in a New Direction

Creepy has been touted as Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "return" to horror, but it feels, in its own right, like a new departure for the director. Where vintage Kurosawa fare was vague, mysterious, and mournful, Creepy is bracing, black-humored, and overt. A...

Review: LES COWBOYS Wrestles With Complex Issues and Ideas

Thomas Bidegain's film, Les Cowboys, begins in a strange key, with a nuclear French family spending the day at an American Western-themed rodeo (not that there's any other real kind). It's clearly no casual affair for them, but a practiced...

Tribeca 2016 Review: THE LONER Journeys Through A Neon Dreamscape

The Loner sounds intriguing on paper: a former child soldier from Iran drifts through L.A.'s seedy underbelly and becomes entangled in a web of crime, violence, and drugs. Heavily influenced by films like Drive and David Lynch's oeuvre -- one...

Tribeca 2016 Review: ICAROS: A VISION Creates A Palpable Sense Of Place

Icaros: A Vision is about a white, American woman who -- confronted with a terminal illness -- embarks on a trip for a seemingly indefinite stay at a Shamanistic resort in the jungles of Peru. With a synopsis like this,...