• Wildland

    Wildland

    ★★★★

    AFI 2020: film #16

    “but for some people things go wrong before they even begin”

    finished the fest with less films than planned but glad to be ending on this, bleak as it is. a subtle examination of complex family dynamics, the loyalty we’re born with even when it’s not familiar, even when it’s wrong. i was always invested in it here, the push and pull of the family business intertwined with their personal lives and driving their every move,…

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    ★★½

    when laura dern facetimes into the academy awards livestream on april 25th, removing her mask to tenderly announce "and the oscar goes to... jeanise jones in borat 2"

  • She Paradise

    She Paradise

    ★★★½

    AFI 2020: film #15

    “this? is for me”

    makes quick work of the breezy runtime it has to offer, our protagonist growing more with every passing minute. a lot of this is captivating (the dancing!!!) but the dynamics between the girls is most intriguing to me, a tightrope of generosity, selfishness and sometimes even borderline cruelty. it’s a harsh world and they can only be so kind, even if they want to, even if they sometimes try. by the final shot it feels right, however melancholy it may be, reminding me that not all coming of age stories have a storybook ending

  • Apples

    Apples

    ★★★½

    AFI 2020: film #14

    “a lot of people have forgotten”

    i thought i was ready for whatever this threw at me, but somehow wasn’t expecting a subtle character study. it feels like a yorgos, but with a much lighter touch, more reminiscent of alps than anything else. i was fully engaged with it all, but it still didn’t give me enough, ending as simply as it began. i dig this concept more than i love the outcome

    (i do have…

  • Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds

    Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds

    ★★★

    AFI 2020: film #13

    “so, yeah. we’re all stardust”

    thought provoking and miraculous, though a little too slow for my taste in docs. one of the biggest takeaways is learning just how much werner herzog loves the movie deep impact

  • Out of the Blue

    Out of the Blue

    ★★★

    AFI 2020: film #12

    “it’s my life, i can do what i want with it”

    throwing in a restored revival to spice up the fest. linda manz was incredible here, her performance both fearless and poignant. i just wish it had been centered fully on her instead of her parents, but her scenes alone and in the city are magical. i can’t stop thinking about the final line of dialogue

  • The Father

    The Father

    ★★★½

    AFI 2020: film #11

    “what about me? who exactly am i?”

    feels like still alice infused with charlie kaufman, where time is skipped and looped and often a terrifyingly immersive look into the protagonist’s psyche. definitely more creative than the oscar bait i was expecting, but still performance driven and quite heartbreaking

  • Wolfwalkers

    Wolfwalkers

    ★★★★

    AFI 2020: film #10

    “there’s two of us now”

    absolutely delightful. some of the plot points can easily be guessed just like most family films, but the animation is gorgeous and the loving warmth radiates off every frame like the sun

  • Sleep

    Sleep

    ★★½

    CIFF 2020: film #2

    “you know when you wake up and your dream is still there?”

    i was very on board with this for about the first half, and then it kinda stalls out. with more clarity i might have liked it a lot more, but i get what it was going for

  • The Columnist

    The Columnist

    ★★★★

    CIFF 2020: film #1

    “you know what? it isn’t hard to be kind”

    oh this was FUN and probably the best portrayal of social media paranoia (and anger) that i’ve seen. i feel like i say this a lot now but i’m gonna say it again, this would have been a blast with a festival audience

  • Shadow in the Cloud

    Shadow in the Cloud

    ½

    AFI 2020: film #9

    “you have no idea how far i’ll go”

    yeah just kidding i can’t actually review this hfkshfksh

  • There Is No Evil

    There Is No Evil

    ★★★★

    AFI 2020: film #8

    “your power is in saying no”

    had to wait for the right mood to attempt this, and that decision really paid off. every one of the four short stories here are told slowly, but fiercely. after the first reveal (a particularly brutal - but brilliant - choice of editing) i was hanging on every word. each tale has stronger storytelling than most feature films i encounter, and the themes that weave them together are chilling and universal