December 2016


Under the Shadow

Horror cinema is often limited to its wheelhouse of established fears – ghosts, demons, strangers, monsters, or disturbing details.  Horror hounds are always looking for different scares though, and are always welcoming of a filmmaker’s ambition.  Failure is still an option, but the best case scenario is that these directorial risks pay off and make lasting provocative impressions – much like Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow.  It’s an incredible horror film that deals with not just the supernatural, but also…



I appreciate movies like Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown.  As someone who is asked on a daily basis for movie recommendations, Tumbledown provides me with a safe, warm suggestion for easygoing audiences.



It’s pointless to review Solace.  How do you sum up a crime drama that you’ve reviewed so many times before?  What else can you say about the lack of ambition in Anthony Hopkins’ recent roles?  I’m at a loss with Solace, a new whodunit from director Afonso Poyart starring Hopkins as a psychic who assists two FBI agents (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish) track down a serial killer.  Imagine a very serious reenactment of that Saturday Night…


Office Christmas Party

It’s business as usual for Office Christmas Party, the latest exercise in R-rated edginess being applied to an otherwise toothless situation.  Audiences may have been given a dose of this same seasonal comedy in Bad Santa 2, but a more relevant comparison is between Office Christmas Party and 2011’s A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.


La La Land

In this age of postmodernism, filmmakers are always willing to go back to the well and make films which are heavy on pastiche from an earlier Hollywood – these tributes are very hit-or-miss.  Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is a strange film that succeeds at its recreations, but fails at everything else.


Blood Empires

Peter Rajesh Joachim, a graduate of Sheridan College’s advanced television and film program, makes his feature-length directorial debut with the shoestring crime drama Blood Empires.  It’s adequate and exactly what you would expect from a new filmmaker tackling a genre that’s known for obvious clichés, but thankfully Joachim is aware enough to somewhat withhold his cast from sleepwalking through tiresome territory.