Film Review: ‘Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation’ Reclaims the Image of Lacrosse

Though the term “cultural appropriation” has only recently become a widespread trigger word in public discourse, the practice has been a part of society for centuries. A perfect example is lacrosse, which usually brings to mind elitist images of private school-educated WASPs. To make matters worse, this relatively niche sport received perhaps its most prominent […]

Film Review: ‘The Commune’ Depicts an Imperfect 1970s Bohemia

In his new film “The Commune“, Thomas Vinterberg directs Trine Dyrholm in an award-winning role that should delight fans of this Danish thespian. Dyrholm plays Anna, a dutiful wife and well-known TV news reporter, who lives with her architect/professor husband Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) and daughter Freya (Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen). They live in a large […]

the last shaman

Film Review: ‘The Last Shaman’ Is a Mystifying Exploration of Alternative Medicine

It’s no secret that America is overmedicated. As persons seek a quick fix for their problems, drugs like Xanax have proliferated throughout society. But is there a more natural alternative? One young American searches for these answers in the jungles of Peru, embarking on the strange, spiritual journey documented in “The Last Shaman,” written and […]

Film Review: ‘The Lovers’ Chooses Comfort Over Spark

Nothing puts a spark back into a marriage quite like dual affairs. That’s the central premise behind the new independent film “The Lovers.” That title, and the infidelities at the center, might imply either a raunchy comedy or an over-the-top Lifetime movie. However, the film could not be farther from that. In fact, much like […]

Film Review: Stéphane Brizé Elegantly Portrays ‘A Woman’s Life’

Late in the award-winning drama “A Woman’s Life,” the titular protagonist is informed that her properties now amount to only six of her family’s original 22 farms. In most other films, this scene might have been the last eye-rolling blow in a “rich people problems” story. But Stéphane Brizé is no ordinary filmmaker and Judith […]

Tribeca Film Review: ‘Saturday Church’ Sings More Than Just Its Music

2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: The power of the musical knows no boundaries but so seldom explored as we get to witness in début director Damon Cardasis’ invigorating film “Saturday Church.”  Capturing the spirit of youth and imagination, Cardasis taps into a subject that is all too familar in today’s cultural climate.  This is all brought […]

Film Review: ‘Sleight’ Conjures Up An Unconvincing Mix of Crime and Magic

Everyone knows that for much of fictional cinema, suspension of disbelief is an essential factor in your overall enjoyment of a film. You should be so invested in the story that even the most implausible situations are accepted without much second thought. This concept is especially true of films like J.D. Dillard’s “Sleight“, which tests […]

SFIFF Review: ‘Infinity Baby’ Is a Hilarious and Absurdist Allegory Grounded by Pressing Sociopolitical Issues

2017 San Francisco International Film Festival: “Infinity Baby” is writer Onur Tukel and director Bob Byington’s vision of a “not-so-distant” Orwellian future in which abortion is illegal and stem cell research on fetuses has no government regulation. The title has several meanings: it refers to the company within the story that ties each character together, the […]

Film Review: Medical Drama ‘Heal the Living’ Is a Half-Hearted Tearjerker

Images of a heart provide a pivotal moment in the narrative of “Heal the Living,” a tragic drama from director Katell Quillévéré. And indeed, the film’s “heart is in the right place,” showcasing the perseverance of humanity in the aftermath of an accident. But despite its best intentions, there’s something lacking in this wandering multi-narrative […]

SFIFF Review: ‘Landline’ Is Another Gem From Auteur Gillian Robespierre

2017 San Francisco International Film Festival: “Landline” is writer and director Gillian Robespierre’s highly anticipated follow-up to her critically well-received directorial debut, “Obvious Child.” Robespierre keeps the artistic integrity of her first feature with the same creative team behind “Obvious Child,” with Elisabeth Holm returning as a co-screenwriter and Jenny Slate (who burst onto the silver […]

Film Review: ‘Truman’ Is an Underwhelming Contemplation of Mortality

Winner of five Goya Awards in 2016 (including the trifecta of Best Film, Director and Screenplay) Cesc Gay‘s “Truman” confronts one of the most difficult facts of life. Namely, death becomes the central theme throughout this gentle drama, which stars Ricardo Darin in a role that will feel familiar to any audience. “Truman” bears witness […]