WD-6-19-15-111.CR2

Film Review: Misanthropy and a “Wiener-Dog” make unexpected pair

Before the screening of Todd Solondz’s latest film, “Wiener-Dog,” the filmmaker classified the film as a “comedy about despair.” No one could have summed up the film in such an apt manner. Who would’ve thought to pair an adorable dog with a series of misanthropes on their worst days? On many occasions it works, although […]

J26 cow-boys

Film Review: Thomas Bidegain’s ‘Les Cowboys’ is a timely, suspenseful debut

As America reels from its latest terrorist attack in Orlando, many are left searching for answers and solutions to the ongoing problem. Tensions between contrasting ideologies have rarely been more fraught, making films like Thomas Bidegain’s Les Cowboys all the more timely. In this suspenseful debut feature, a father goes on a perilous search for […]

Sisterhood cannot be denied! (Image courtesy of Wolfe Video))

Film Review: Indian drama ‘Parched’ provides a necessary feminist voice for the oppressed

Leena Yadav’s international drama Parched is a blistering exposé of the violent repression women endure in rural India. There is no sugercoating this daily abuse, as is evident through the eyes of four women who band together because of this tragic commonality. Ensnared by tradition and misogyny, Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), Lajjo (Radhika Apte), Bijli (Surveen Chawla) […]

tikkun-landscape

Film Review: Fate and faith are heavy burdens in uncompromising drama ‘Tikkun’

Avishai Sivan’s Tikkun – winner of several festival awards last year – opens with a slaughter. Not a vindictive homicide however, but the traditional practice of kosher slaughter of meat, accompanied by prayer. As customary of Hasidic Jews, this is just one of the many religious observances we’ll witness being carried out by the film’s […]

BEYONDTHEGATES_3

LA Film Festival Review: “Beyond the Gates” is where nostalgia effectively slays

There are some genres of films that get me instantly excited. Horror comedies just make my heart soar. It’s where the tortured comedic souls go to turn their twisted nightmares into almost farcical magical little films that the public hates because genre mashups “confuse them.” “Beyond the Gates” had all the makings of being a sinful […]

conjuring2-625x350

Film Review: ‘The Conjuring 2’ uses the familiar to its advantage and its detriment

LAFF: Several years after helping the Perron family in Rhode Island, Ed and Lorraine Warren became household names when they investigated a haunting in Amityville, New York. It is through those familiar quarter round windows that The Conjuring 2 begins, in the house the Lutz family fled in 1976. Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) attempts to make contact […]

PA-Flag

LA Film Festival Review: ‘Political Animals’ gives a focused look at political LGBT strides

Everyone deserves a seat at the political table. That was the philosophy of the subjects of “Political Animals,” an engrossing new documentary about the four pioneering women who became the first openly gay elected state politicians – Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe. The chronological tale seemed to naturally unfold as it […]

CHEEANDT_6

LA Film Festival Review: ‘Chee and T’ come up bust

How many times have you seen “The Hangover?” The 2009 modern comedy classic seemed to have perfected the comedy subgenre of “taking care of your shit-show best friend.” As original a perspective as “Chee and T” wants to believe it has, the bromance comedy fails to be anything but a cheaply made, watered down version […]

THEFITS_STILL_03

Film Review: ‘The Fits’ puts a rapturous new spin on the dance movie

For as long as civilization has existed and into the foreseeable future, there will always be pressure on individuals to “fit in”. Particularly among younger generations, the expectations of “coolness” can be overwhelming. In her captivating debut feature The Fits, Anna Rose Holmer explores this desire for belonging with a fresh, vibrant and triumphantly female […]

Laverne-Interviewing-CeCe

LA Film Festival Review: ‘Free Cece’ powerfully chronicles transgender movement

It’s been a very long road, but with trailblazers such as Laverne Cox (a producer and figure in this documentary) and Caitlin Jenner, the transgender movement is at a point where it is part of the public consciousness. Change doesn’t happen overnight though, and thus is the plight of Chrishaun “Cece” McDonald, a transgender woman of […]

the-do-over-adam-sandler

Film Review: ‘The Do-Over’ from Netflix Is as Bad as a TV/Movie Gets

Netflix did not wait long to try to recapture the unprecedented success of Adam Sandler’s “The Ridiculous 6,” which premiered in December and quickly became the streaming service’s most viewed film in 30 days of release. With only five months apart, Netflix has already dumped the second of four (hang in there) Netflix/Sandler collaborations, the […]

DSC_6168

Film Review: ‘The Idol’ falls short of expectations

Earlier this year, American Idol aired its final episode after years of dominating the TV ratings. The phenomenon was the most successful of the Idols franchise, which included many iterations of the format around the world. One of those was Arab Idol, the Middle Eastern version of the competition which forms the basis for Hany […]