LAFF Film Review: Missing People (★★★)

At what point during filming a documentary does it become unhealthy to dig up the past? Are shocking revelations really as therapeutic a discovery as promised, or are such findings just more nails in one’s coffin? For David Shapiro’s devastating Missing People, the answer lies somewhere in-between. If anything, this harrowing unraveling of curator Martina Batan’s gruesome […]

LAFF Review: Sin Alas (★★)

Sin Alas is a confounding film. On the one hand it’s a wonderful look into a culture that we don’t particularly see, at times searingly acted, and an admirable attempt at surrealism. On the other hand, it is an, at times, incomprehensible mixture of memory and modern day that goes off the rails. The movie, […]

LAFF Film Review: The Girl in the Book (★★★½)

While the premise of The Girl in the Book reads like an abandoned Lifetime movie script collecting dust in the writers room, the resulting film that director Marya Cohn has shared with the world is anything but absurd. This is primarily due to Cohn’s unapologetic direction and star Emily VanCamp’s equally unapologetic lead performance. Both women […]

LAFF Film Review: It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (★★★)

Charisma is an interesting power that actors have at their disposal. When used properly, an actor with charisma can render you completely unable to look away from the screen and elevate even the weakest material. Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg are two actors how have within them this kind of charisma. Both are incredibly likable […]

LAFF Review: Dude Bro Party Massacre III (★★★)

Although nobody asked for it, this icky, sticky, gross and stupidly entertaining slice of 80’s nostalgia might be one of the most biting indictments of chauvinistic “bro” culture in years. The directing trio consisting of Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet and Jon Salmon put their collective heads together and came up with Dude Bro Party Massacre […]

LAFF Review: Ayanda and the Mechanic (★★½)

Both deeply romantic and deeply frustrating, Sara Blecher’s Ayanda and the Mechanic is an invaluable portrait of the little-televised South African working class. Right from the beginning, the film stresses its desire to accurately depict a community that isn’t solely defined by politics, war, violence, or racial strife. Despite existing under the banner of fiction, […]

LAFF Film Review: Grandma (★★★)

2015 Los Angeles Film Festival: If trouble comes a-knockin’, call grandma. Or better yet, dial up Lily Tomlin to fix your accidental teenage mistake. Director Paul Weitz did just that with his appropriately titled film Grandma, a quick and fast-paced roadie of sorts that finds Lily Tomlin’s Elle Reid scouring Los Angeles to collect money […]