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 […]

Film Review: French Dirty (★★★½)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: The joy of film festivals are their personal ventures you won’t see in the multiplex. Here, filmmakers weave home video footage into their fiction as if it was all part of the plan. It’s fitting that a film about brotherly love is made by two siblings. Writer, director and star Wade Allain-Marcus shares […]

Film Review: In The Treetops (★★★)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: Teenage ennui is frequently a risky move for compelling cinema. Written, directed and starring Matthew Brown, not far from his teenage years at 24 (and a dead ringer for Billy Boyd), he depicts an insignificant chilly night with his real school pals. It’s DIY filmmaking, embracing a rugged documentary-like style. Brown is not interested […]

Film Review: Stealing Cars (★★½)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: Winner of the new Zeitgeist Award at the L.A. Film Festival, Stealing Cars feels like if Starred Up wanted to be Cool Hand Luke featuring Antoine-Olivier Pilon from Mommy. Both Stealing Cars and Mommy think their lead is hilarious, tragic and charming, and many of the latter’s fans agree, but I found Pilon unbearable. […]

Film Review: Frank & Cindy (★★★)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: I’m never one to mind a self-indulgent film. A personal touch usually resonates with me more than something written as an assignment. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more self-indulgent film this year than Frank and Cindy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though it may be for some, and it […]

Film Review: The Confines (★★½)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: It takes a lot for a horror film to win me over unless it’s infused with a satirical streak of comedy. Great stories are hard to find, and a rich creepy atmosphere isn’t enough, they have to have depth but it can’t be too contrived to fit their symbolism. The last horror […]

Film Review: People Places Things (★★★)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: People Places Things isn’t really about people, places or things. That’s a grand statement. It’s much more specific. It’s about the romantic relationships of a 40 year old divorced father of two little girls, Will Henry played by Jemaine Clement. Writer and director James C. Strouse’s autobiographical touch brings a freshness to […]

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 […]

Earth to Echo (★★½)

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL 2014: It’s a rare occasion for me to sit down for a film geared towards family entertainment (discounting animated films), which made Earth to Echo an interesting change of pace for me at the Los Angeles Film Festival this year. While I was engaged for much of the film, there was […]