top of page

Film Reviews

I worked at 7-24 Videos & More, in Parkdale, for seven years. I was also a clerk for two years at Big Daddy’s DVD Shop in the Junction. I loved recommending, discussing, and debating films with customers.

 

I was still renting DVDs, until my local variety store stopped during Covid.

 

Then I discovered the amazing DVD collection at the Toronto Public Library. In addition to DVDs, you can also stream films using Kanopy and Hoopla. During Covid, my man and I watched a lot of films.

 

Remember when you’d hold up a DVD case and ask, “How’s this?” In the spirit of an opinionated video store clerk, here are our answers.

 

Written by Peter Bird and Paul Hutcheson.

Film Reviews: January 1st, 2023

51qs9+GyFEL._AC_.jpg

GODZILLA VS. KONG  (DVD)

Expected this to be the same escapist fun as Kong: Skull Island.

Expectations not met. No fun. A bloated mess.

Terrific cast should be ashamed.

MV5BMWRhY2E0YWItZWE1Ni00MWQ5LTk3YjItNmU0NDYwYWY5Y2FhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU_._V1_.jpg

MAN PUSH CART  (DVD)

Depressing. Tragic. Repeat.

Depressing. Tragic. Repeat.

Depressing. Tragic. Repeat.

817PJtWqv6L._AC_SX342_.jpg

WAVES  (DVD)

Would have made a good limited series.

As a film…an exhausting onslaught of family tragedy.

Too much, too soon…I don’t know these people!

filters_quality(70).jpg

FREEWAY  (KANOPY)

Not for the faint of heart. Little Red Riding Hood retold as a nasty black comedy.

Reese Witherspoon chews up the scenery as our foul-mouthed heroine who goes head-to-head with the big bad wolf of Kiefer Sutherland.

download.jpg

STIR OF ECHOES  (DVD)

A decent way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Kevin Bacon looks great shirtless, playing a tortured hero amid suburban toxic masculinity.

MV5BZmIwNjJhOGYtNDcyNi00Yjc4LThiNTktMDM2ZjFhM2YxMTljXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODk4OTc3MTY_._V1_.jpg

THE NIGHT HOUSE  (DVD)

An effective ghost story.

Rebecca Hall carries the film.

A solid B.

Fast_Times_at_Ridgemont_High_film_poster.jpg

FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH  (DVD)

The classic high school ensemble comedy holds up.

Funny, real, heartwarming and made us miss the mall.

Spoiler Alert: The girl gets the abortion. Wouldn’t be made today.

71rUxXtVTRS._SL1500_.jpg

I CARE A LOT  (DVD)

Another victim of Hollywood’s hubris; a great premise that falls apart under the need for silly action. What could have been a ruthless satire of late capitalism, instead becomes a paean to horrible people. By the end, you don’t know who to root for or where to look, except away.

91ou0WyTuCL._AC_SY445_.jpg

CATTLE ANNIE & LITTLE BRITCHES  (DVD)

We were excited for a 1980 female-lead Western starring Amanda Plummer and Diane Lane. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to its promise. Overly long with obvious filler.

Plummer is typecast as crazy in her first film role—and it stuck.

0143042_the-father-dvd_500.jpeg

THE FATHER  (DVD)

Tour-de-force performance by Anthony Hopkins. A frightening portrait of dementia and aging.

It’s true success is that it never lapses into sentimentality or cliché.

A rare mainstream film that doesn’t assume its audience are morons.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: December 1st, 2022

51-Gj-EOACL._AC_SY580_.jpg

SMOOTH TALK  (DVD)

Joyce Chopra makes an impressive directorial debut with this adaptation of a Joyce Carol Oates short story.

Laura Dern captures the reality of adolescent sexuality, fluctuating between naive and empowered. The danger lies between the two.

joe-movie-poster-1970-1020253491.jpg

JOE  (DVD)

A 1972 film that deals with toxic masculinity and white privilege. It’s controversial, in-your-face, and would be rife with trigger warnings if screened today. It’s hard to believe white men have been angry this long about their “slipping” status.

MV5BNTkxYzUxMDQtZWRiNy00ZWUwLWIxYjMtNWExODBmMzRkZGVmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU1NzU3MzE_._V1_.jpg

KAJILLIONAIRE  (DVD)

Another off-beat, original film by visionary artist, Miranda July.

The story is weird yet fully realized. The cast is fantastic, and Gina Rodriguez is stellar.

download.jpg

ZOLA  (DVD)

Based on a series of real-life tweets, the story is fascinating because it is true.

An impressive directorial debut that captures the intersection of social media and sex work.

A road trip with a pimp and new friend: exciting, terrifying, and ultimately unsatisfying.

MV5BMTE2ODU4NDEtNmRjNS00OTk1LTg4NmMtNTAzYzVlNzJmYjgzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODk4OTc3MTY_._V1_.jpg

A QUIET PLACE II  (DVD)

The original was great. This sequel is a nonsensical mess.

Ended up rooting for the monsters.

We’re still angry they didn’t get the whole family. (Yes, including the baby.)

download (1).jpg

THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

Even though we were independent-video store enthusiasts (Blockbuster was a last resort); this doc is like a warm hug. It reminds us of video stores, and this Blockbuster in particular, were so much more: community centers, date-night pitstops, and receptacles for our nostalgia.

MV5BOGJhNjZjMTUtZjgyMi00YWZlLTgwMjEtYWMyMDE0ZjQ3N2U4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDUwMTUxMDU_._V1_.jpg

A BOY AND HIS DOG  (DVD)

This film, an inspiration for Mad Max, has got to be one of the oddest films of the 70’s.

A young Don Johnson learns that post-apocalyptic society will be built on the commodification of women. Sounds about right.

MV5BMTk3ODgxODgwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTg5OTg4NDM_._V1_FMjpg_UX1000_.jpg

PYEWACKET  (DVD)

A strong premise that gets nothing else right.

Plot holes, terrible script and pacing issues are anger inducing.

Who greenlit this?

MV5BMjY4ODVmN2QtNGY1YS00NGUyLTljZWYtMGVkYzA2OTMxZWYxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ__._V1_FMjpg

SCARE ME  (DVD)

This film felt like an improv game.

Improvisation can be great or terrible.

This film falls into the latter.

MV5BYjNlZDcyMjQtMjk0Mi00Y2EzLWE3ZjMtMGE1MDZmMjJiMzY2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA3MDk2NDg2._V1_.jpg

SUMMER OF ’85  (SUBTITLED, DVD)

A queer coming-of-age that starts out lovely then betrays its characters.

It outstays its welcome and becomes disingenuousness.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: November 1st, 2022

MV5BN2Y0ZjE4NzAtZWJhNy00MGI1LWIwNmQtMGM3NGY5NjVkYTNhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ__._V1_.jpg

JIMMY CARTER, ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

A moving tribute to Jimmy Carter.

An uplifting portrait of at an exemplary leader: non-violent, humanitarian, artistic, ethical, and compassionate, whose love of music propelled him to the presidency.

download.jpg

RENT-A-PAL  (DVD)

90’s computer dating agency nightmare.

Great premise and cast. Would have been better as a short.

MV5BMTFjM2QyNGEtMzU5OS00M2VhLWEzMGUtODQ3OGE4NmUzMDYyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxMTY0OTQ_._V1_.jpg

PETER ‘N’ TILLIE  (DVD)

Uneven, but watchable comedic drama about an independent woman and a lothario finding love.

Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau are easy, and Geraldine Page received an Oscar nod.

Great art direction and fashion.

MV5BZTI0NDBhMjUtMTgzYS00ZjhiLWI0MjMtMmM1NGNjZjIwMGQwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA3MDk2NDg2._V1_.jpg

THE MOLE AGENT  (DVD, KANOPY, HOOPLA)

Recently widowed Sergio goes undercover in a home for the aged to investigate possible abuse. Documentary or dramatic film? Lines get blurred.

However, we are safe in the hands of Sergio. Highly recommended.

MV5BYTNlNzAxMjktZmViZi00ZmU4LWJjNTYtMzhlZmQzY2FhYzgxL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNz

REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES  (DVD)

America Ferreira proves she’s a star in her first film.

A feminist coming-of-age story with a happy ending--the protagonist gets what she wants without a makeover or cliché romance. As the mother, Lupe Ontiveros is wonderful.

4x4_Argentine_poster.jpg

4X4  (DVD, HOOPLA)

A car thief gets locked in a booby-trapped vehicle he intends to steal.

The first 45 min are claustrophobic and tense. Remaining 45? Ridiculous and heavy-handed.

We heard it was based on a short film. I bet it’s terrific.

513NAqojokL._AC_.jpg

LOVE AND HUMAN REMAINS  (DVD)

A strong film with great direction and a script that is decidedly 90’s.

Thomas Gibson as David & Ruth Marshall as Candy are brilliant.

Mathew Ferguson as Kane & Mia Kirschner as Benita? Not so much.

p11643523_p_v8_ae.jpg

COP CAR  (DVD)

A unique premise with strong performances makes this a solid B thriller.

Who can blame the kids for wanting to go on a joy ride? Kevin Bacon is a terrifying villain.

MV5BZDBkOGY2NzAtODE0Mi00ODkyLWI5NTctYWNlYWFiZmU4YTg2L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5Mj

THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS  (DVD)

Never accept invitations from strangers you are wary of. Christopher Walken & Helen Mirren play a psychotic game in Venice with the beautiful Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson.

Beautiful scenery and gorgeous people compensate for the slow pace.

download (1).jpg

LITTLE MONSTERS  (DVD, HOOPLA)

An original zombie thriller anchored by likeable leads and a kindergarten class.

A decent black comedy-zombie film that could have used more scares and chases.

Lupita Nyong’o is a star.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: October 1st, 2022

download.jpg

THE NEW MUTANTS  (DVD)

A dark, twisted origin tale from Marvel comics.

A flawed script mars an otherwise entertaining movie about battling one’s inner demons.

For comic lovers only.

MV5BMjZjNzRjNmQtOGJlMS00NzVkLWFmYWQtYjIxMzJmYTkwMjhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODE5NzE3OTE_._V1_.jpg

YES, GOD, YES  (DVD, HOOPLA)

A tight, fun, sex-positive independent film about teenage female desire.

Slut shaming, religious repression and sexual hypocrisy are all dealt with admirably.

Natalia Dwyer shines in the lead role.

MV5BMjA2ODMwMTQ4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjYxOTUyNzM_._V1_.jpg

MARKIE IN MILWAUKEE  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD, KANOPY)

Fascinating documentary about gender identity and fundamentalist Christianity.

Watching Markie Wenzel’s ten-year journey of acceptance, denial, and confusion is uplifting, harrowing, and depressing.

MV5BNTJhMGM4ODItNzk3MS00MmMxLTgyZmEtNGEwNDNhOTAwYzc0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxMTY0OTQ_._V1_.jpg

THE DAYTRIPPERS  (DVD)

A talented ensemble centering on 24hrs in the lives of the Malone family.

Terrific script allows for fully realized characters and laugh out loud moments.

Confirms that all relationships are weird and complicated.

download (1).jpg

JASPER MALL  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD, HOOPLA)

A documentary centered on the long-time caretaker of Jasper Mall in Alabama.

The final community of occupants and patrons are the heart of the film, reminding us of how mall culture used to sustain us, beyond material consumption.

MV5BODE3OWNmNTQtNDQ1MS00YzFlLTg4MzAtYjE0M2I1MmRjZWNmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI3NDAyNg__._V1_.jpg

CHAINED FOR LIFE  (DVD, KANOPY)

A challenging experimental film that addresses film making, beauty and the nature of performance. Well cast and acted, the film compels viewers to question reality.

A true original.

MV5BNTQ2OGU1OTgtYmVhYi00MGIxLTg4MzQtYWFlZjIxYTViOTc4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjY1MTg4Mzc_._V1_FMjpg

BARB & STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR  (DVD)

We really wanted to go on a vacation with Barb and Starr.

¼ of this film is amazing, ¼ is lazy, and ½ is failed Austin Powers pointlessness.

MV5BNmE4ZmNkNmEtMWQ0OC00YzU2LWJjZDctYjlhZWFiOTYxYzYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTY3Mjk0NjE_._V1_.jpg

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SEASAME STREET  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

A look at the individuals responsible for the creation of a beloved institution.

Diversity, honesty, compassion, and respect for children were prioritized.

A wonderful examination of society’s potential.

krYPZfP7VVBB2wRzYqXJaw2tJtzPR4_large.jpg

MCCABE & MRS MILLER  (DVD)

A fascinating look at building a town in the American frontier.

The entrepreneurial spirit in conflict with corporate interest.

Bleak, but beautiful depiction of settlers’ suffering.

MV5BMTE0YWFmOTMtYTU2ZS00ZTIxLWE3OTEtYTNiYzBkZjViZThiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODMzMzQ4OTI_._V1_FMjpg

CAPTAIN MARVEL  (DVD)

Captain Marvel is the kick ass super-hero we needed, with no bull-shit love interest.

Brie Larson is great as Marvel and has terrific chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson as Fury.

The script was infused with humour and a great supporting cast.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: September 1st, 2022

MV5BOTNjM2Y2ZjgtMDc5NS00MDQ1LTgyNGYtYzYwMTAyNWQwYTMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjE4NzUxNDA_._V1_.jpg

ANOTHER ROUND  (SUBTITLED, HOOPLA)

Strange and challenging look at alcohol and masculinity.

Comedy, drama, and dance add up to a truly original film.

Why is Mads Mikkelsen’s face so compelling?

MV5BMDEwMWU5ZjQtMjgyYS00M2RmLWEyYzYtMDM1ZmYzNWM3MTRjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU4MTQ0Ng__._V1_.jpg

CODE OF FREAKS  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD, KANOPY)

An interesting overview of depictions of disabled characters in mainstream films.

Could have been shorter and some of its over generalizations undermine the message.

78484.jpg

AN UNMARRIED WOMAN  (DVD)

A prescient depiction of fragile masculinity before the term existed.

Jill Clayburgh gives a multi-faceted portrayal of a woman’s struggle for independence.

The reason why 70’s films are lauded.

MV5BZjkyMjljOWUtNjAyMS00MDE2LTliYjUtY2VhYjNhYjhkMGQ4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI5OTk3NDY5._V1_.jpg

KEITH HARING: STREET ART BOY  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

What’s not to love? A brilliant, prolific artist who took the world by storm.

His milieu and influences were diverse and inspirational; consequently, his impact remains relevant. A charming portrait of an artist lost too soon.

711l5664AcL._RI_.jpg

BECOMING LESLIE  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

A fixture of Austin, Texas, Leslie was a cross dressing, homeless activist who ran for mayor numerous times and was instrumental in the “Keep Austin Weird” movement.

A testament to how abuse and neglect shape a lifetime.

MV5BMjcwZTc1MTctYWY4Yy00YTFhLWJjY2EtNTE5NzFiMjY3MTZmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI4MTQzNDQ_._V1_FMjpg

PROUD  (SUBTITLED, DVD, KANOPY)

An engaging, multi-generational saga that addresses coming out, AIDS and queer adoption.

Treats the viewers with respect, not succumbing to generalizations and pat endings.

MV5BMGUzMGEzM2UtMDg2Ny00Yjk1LTgxMTctMWI1ZGM0ZDBiYjgxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA4NjE0NjEy._V1_.jpg

FIRST COW  (SUBTITLED, DVD)

Kelly Reichardt is a great filmmaker.

The film is a quiet meditation on friendship and fortune seeking in the late 1800’s.

MV5BZjU0Yzk2MzEtMjAzYy00MzY0LTg2YmItM2RkNzdkY2ZhN2JkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg4NjY5OTQ_._V1_.jpg

JOJO RABBITT  (DVD)

Initially resistant to a WWII film with comedic portrayal of Hitler.

Completely won over by its imaginative take on a child’s view of war.

Script and performances are superlative. Deserved all the recognition it received.

cEac5pom1SJmO4sZhfHbov6yajejbK_large.jpg

SHORT CUTS  (DVD)

A star-packed, rambling film based on Raymond Carver short stories.

Great elements throughout; however, excessive length compromises enjoyment.

Recorder_The_Marion_Stokes_Project_poster.jpg

RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD, KANOPY)

Marion Stokes was a brilliant woman: a mother, a librarian, a commentator, a civil rights activist, a television host, and a successful investor. She also recorded the news every day for over 30 years, on numerous channels, using VHS. The archival footage is astounding.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: August 1st, 2022

MV5BODQ0NzY5NGEtYTc5NC00Yjg4LTg4Y2QtZjE2MTkyYTNmNmU2L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc1NT

LA DOLCE VITA  (SUBTITLED, DVD)

Set in Rome, the gorgeous visuals never disappoint.

A week in the life of a philandering paparazzo romanticizes the infection that has come to dominate our culture.

MV5BOWQ4OWUxN2UtNTVhMy00Y2E3LTk0NTYtMjRiNzZjYjc1OTUxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0NTI0Nw__._V1_QL75_

THE BEDROOM WINDOW  (KANOPY)

Great cast in a mediocre thriller.

Steve Guttenberg is gorgeous and often shirtless which made for easy viewing.

You_Don't_Nomi.jpg

YOU DON’T NOMI  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

An examination of the cult appeal of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls.

Interesting for thirty minutes. It was ninety-two.

MV5BZjE2OWM4N2QtZTUzYy00NDQ1LTkxNTUtMWY3NDQ0YWZjNzcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTE5NzM1MTU2._V1_.jpg

THE RENTAL  (DVD)

Two couples rent a property. But are they alone?

A great cast delivers on a creepy premise.

A solid B horror film.

MV5BZmYwYWRhY2MtNTU3NS00M2E0LWI5YjUtY2M1NGJkM2Y4NTdmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0NTI0Nw__._V1_.jpg

THE LAST SEDUCTION  (HOOPLA)

Linda Fiorentino won acclaim for her role as femme fatale Bridget Gregory.

Commanding every scene, she makes this dated thriller worth a watch.

MV5BOTRiNzFhNjAtNTdhMS00ZjViLWFhNTUtMWJlMTJkMGM1YzM4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ__._V1_.jpg

BILL & TED’S FACE THE MUSIC  (HOOPLA)

A pleasant surprise. We should know not to underestimate Keanu.

71KPOvu-hOL._AC_SL1351_.jpg

THE JOKER  (DVD)

Assumed a glorification of uber-violence; viewed with reluctance.

Reality: amazing direction, cinematography, and performances.

A great film.

download.jpg

GRETA  (DVD)

A terrible thriller not even Isabelle Huppert can save.

Watch The Piano Teacher if you really want to be disturbed.

MV5BMTY5NjM3ODI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzcyMDM1MzI_._V1_.jpg

TOM OF FINLAND  (SUBTITLED, KANOPY)

An eye-opening look at gay identity before WWII.

How a gay artist shaped queer desire.

Lots of eye candy, but not enough hot sex for a film about Tom of Finland.

download (1).jpg

FAMILY  (DVD)

A workaholic and her niece bond during a week of baby-sitting.

The premise is tired but is bolstered by strong performances.

A funny and realistic depiction of family that avoids sentimentality.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: July 1st, 2022

Prevenge.jpg

PREVENGE  (DVD)

Widowed Ruth is directed by her in-utero fetus to seek revenge for her husband’s death.

What begins as a great black comedy runs out of steam in the final quarter.

It required accepting too many plot holes.

last exit to brooklyn.jpg

LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN  (DVD)

An adaptation of Herbert Selby Jr.’s disturbing novel set in 1950s New York.

This is NOT West Side Story; a jarringly violent film that depicts a host of working-class struggles related to employment, gender, and sexuality.

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Tra La La is fearless.

queerama.jpg

QUEERAMA  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

An interesting look at queer representation in cinema over the last 100 years.

Lots you’ll recognize and even more clips you’ll see for the first time.

At a tight 70 minutes and organized by themes, it redresses historical oversights effectively.

maurice.jpg

MAURICE  (DVD, KANOPY)

Merchant and Ivory’s effective adaptation of E.M. Forrester’s novel is one of the few gay films of the 80’s with a happy ending.

James Wilby (as Maurice) does NOT end up with Hugh Grant—Rupert Graves is way hotter.

papi chulo.jpg

PAPI CHULO  (DVD, HOOPLA)

A sweet-natured and surprising film about loss and acceptance.

Matt Bomer surprises in a nuanced role as a gay man coming to terms with a life unexpected.

Night_of_the_Living_Dead_(1968)_poster.jpg

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD  (KANOPY)

A masterpiece. George A. Romero was a genius. That is all.

alone.jpg

ALONE  (HOOPLA)

A terrifying film about a woman’s kidnapping and escape.

Although marred by plot holes it’s still an exciting ride.

Teach young women they don’t have to be polite to strangers.

pornstar pandemic.jpg

PORNSTAR PANDEMIC  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

What do pornstars do during a pandemic?

Apparently work out and make boring documentaries.

Edgeofseventeenposter.jpg

EDGE OF SEVENTEEN  (DVD)

A layered portrayal of a queer teen and his best girlfriend coming-of-age in the 80’s.

Lovely performances anchored by a terrific soundtrack.

golden door.jpg

GOLDEN DOOR  (SUBTITLED, DVD)

A technically and visually stunning film about nineteenth century immigration to America.

Treats its viewers as thoughtful adults, able to arrive at their own conclusions.

A beautiful ending.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: June 1st, 2022

MV5BMTQzMzk1Njg1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTE5MTQwMTE_._V1_.jpg

ANITA  (DOCUMENTARY, HOOPLA)

It was me-too before #MeToo.

Sad commentary on what little progress we’ve made since 1991.

We still don’t believe women. Anita Hill should be on the Supreme Court.

MV5BMTNjZDc5YWYtNjc0NC00MzhlLWJkZTAtODQwNGYyYjM0MTEwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUxMjc1OTM_._V1_.jpg

SCREAM QUEEN  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

A layered documentary on the undoing of a career in Hollywood due to homophobia.

Mark Patton gets his first starring role in A Nightmare on Elm St 2.

The public was not ready for a man to play a scream queen. Worth watching.

freddy.jpg

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE  (DVD)

After Scream Queen, we had to watch this.

The film went on to be a queer cult film.

However, the documentary is enough.

49ab6b62-7ac0-47ce-a0ea-8f84f5dbfba9.jpg

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET  (DVD)

After watching #2 we needed a palate cleanser.

The original holds up. Parents burning a pedophile? The 80’s were perverse.

Suburban secrets come back to haunt in the form of a terrifying Freddy Krueger.

It’s a laugh watching Johnny Depp turn into a blood fountain.

MV5BMjFkYTEwNjAtYWU1YS00NTMyLTkwYmUtZjEyMjZjMDg5Njc5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI_._V1_.jpg

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS  (DVD)

Freddy’s back to fuck-up some teens in a mental institution.

Interesting power struggles amongst the adults as the teens must fend for themselves.

Patricia Arquette rocks. Much better than #2.

MV5BMTMyN2Q5ODYtMWI3OC00NjBjLWIyYTItNGE5NGJiYzI4NjNjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDc3MzM3MQ__._V1_.jpg

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID  (SUBTITLED, DVD)

Heartbreaking film about orphaned children surviving drug cartel violence.

Original and imaginative elements lift it out of the darkness.

The child performers are amazing.

download.jpg

LITTLE WOMEN  (DVD)

A fun adaptation that deserved recognition-for the first 120 minutes.

We really hated the last 15.

MV5BMDNkZmY4NzQtZDYwOS00YWFiLWIxMDEtYTBmZDRjNjU1MzAxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI3NDAyNg__._V1_.jpg

THE PROJECTIONIST  (DOCUMENTARY, KANOPY)

A revealing look at the volatile business of owning cinemas.

A sympathetic portrait of entrepreneur and projectionist Nicolas Nicolaou.

Archival footage of New York never ceases to amaze. A good edit would have improved it.

51F-rgYJvAL._SY445_.jpg

JOHAN  (SUBTITLED, HOOPLA)

An experimental 70’s French film that follows a man waiting for his lover to get out of jail. Everyone is liberated, sexy and quick to fuck.

Don’t expect a coherent plot—it is the 70’s.

MV5BOGU5YzRmMDctODIxZi00OGEzLWE4ZDYtOTRlMTNiZjlhMDA5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODk4OTc3MTY_._V1_.jpg

SHIRLEY  (DVD)

If Shirley Jackson was truly as nasty as the film suggests, she should have won “The Lottery.” Interesting experimental elements anchored by the reliable Elizabeth Moss.

A dire portrait of alcoholism, mental health, and academic snobbery.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: May 1st, 2022

MV5BNzE4OTkwNjA5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDcwNTMwMDI_._V1_.jpg

BEING 17  (SUBTITLED, DVD, KANOPY)

French coming of age film dealing with sexuality, race, gender, and class.

A homo-bullying film, with a happy ending set in the French Alps.

What’s not to love?

MV5BNDA2Yzg3ZGUtMmJlOC00NzY2LWIxMDYtODcwOTM0ZWZhNWQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjExODE1MDc_._V1_FMjpg

THE REF  (DVD, HOOPLA)

A Christmas film we both enjoyed when it came out in 1994.

Hard to look at Kevin Spacey, but Denis Leary, Judy Davis and a strong supporting cast carry it.

If National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is an ‘A’ Christmas film, The Ref is a solid B.

download.jpg

DEAD PRESIDENTS  (HOOPLA)

We were onboard for the excellent character development and soundtrack.

Unfortunately, a rushed, nonsensical, hyper-violent heist upsets the mood of the film and it never gets back on track. A great first hour that ends in a hot steaming pile of gun violence.

Come_to_Daddy_poster.jpg

COME TO DADDY  (HOOPLA)

Elijah Wood, a status obsessed hipster, seeks out his absent father in a remote, seaside setting. Huge mistake.

If your dad doesn’t want to be found, you shouldn’t go looking for him. Terrifying. Great premise. Excellent start, then it becomes an unbelievable mess. Sad.

MV5BMjU0YmE5YzYtZjc0ZC00ZDZhLWFiYTctZTg3MjlkMjMxYTI3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc3MjE2MTY_._V1_.jpg

LAZY SUSAN  (HOOPLA)

A surprisingly candid and nuanced performance by Sean Hayes in the titular role of Susan.

This is not a drag performance, but rather an embodiment of middle-class entitlement.

Susan wants what Susan wants, but don’t expect her to work for it.

Supporting cast is effective and diverse.

WrinklestheClownPoster.jpg

WRINKLES THE CLOWN  (DOCUMENTARY, HOOPLA)

A documentary about a scary clown hired to frighten bad children.

It’s a great premise but quickly loses steam.

Could have worked much better as a short. (Not enough wrinkles to keep us interested)

MV5BMDNhYzllZTItNGRjMi00ZWUzLTlmNTktOGM5ZDc5MmM3YWU4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjMwMjk0MTQ_._V1_.jpg

INDIAN SUMMER  (HOOPLA)

A decent but dated look at middle-age nostalgia for summers past.

A great ensemble cast raises it above mediocre.

Too bad about the title.

theteacher.poster.ws_.jpg

THE TEACHER  (SUBTITLED, HOOPLA)

A corrupt Slovakian teacher with connections to the Communist party’s higher-ups emotionally manipulates and abuses students and their families for personal gain.

If only teachers had this much sway.

MV5BMjg0NTc2MTM4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIyMjc4ODE_._V1_.jpg

AQUARIUS  (SUBTITLED, KANOPY)

Clara, played by the luminous Sonia Braga, is the last tenant in a building slated for demolition.

With quiet intensity she resists developers as we learn her life story.

A feminist film that celebrates an autonomous woman’s fight against capitalism and racism.

MV5BYjc1N2M1YjMtYzBiNi00NGFiLThkN2QtY2EwZGU5MDRkODAzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkzODUwNzk_._V1_.jpg

BACURAU  (SUBTITLED, KANOPY)

Set in the near future, a small village disappears from online maps.

Invading forces want Bacurau, but they underestimate the citizens.

A great film of under-dog resistance, starring the terrific Sonia Braga.

New reviews added monthly!

Film Reviews: April 1st, 2022

MV5BNDQ2YWVmZjEtMTE1ZS00MDk1LTg5ODUtMDVlODk0OTM2ODMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ__._V1_.jpg

THE LODGE  (DVD, HOOPLA)

Impressive Christmas horror film.

A widowed, selfish father takes ‘new’ girlfriend to the isolated family lodge. He leaves her to supervise. His grieving children are less than thrilled.
Horror ensues.

download.jpg

YOU WERE NEARLY REALLY HERE  (DVD)

Brutal but ethical assassin-for-hire (Joaquin Phoenix) haunts the city of washed-out colours.

Feeds a real part of us that wants horrible people to get theirs.

Lynn Ramsay films get under your skin and stay for a few days, festering.

download.jpg

WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD, KANOPY)

Portrait of a woman driven to write.

An artist who changed the tenor of the conversation about film.

You won’t agree with everything, but she was a thinker worth listening to.

MV5BMzJhYTBkMDktY2Q5Yy00M2MwLTg2MzQtZjFlMmRmMTc5OGMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODAzODU1NDQ_._V1_.jpg

WOMAN AT WAR  (DVD, SUBTITLED)

A brilliant Icelandic film, until it stumbles tragically in the final quarter.

Halldora Geirharosdottir’s performance is flawless and deserved better.

Hopefully, a re-cut will be released.

MV5BZDE0ZWJiODQtYTY5My00NDJiLWI2NmUtN2FiODNmYzIxYTQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU_._V1_.jpg

SORRY ANGEL  (DVD, SUBTITLED)

French film that looks at evolving queer identities amidst the Aids epidemic.

One, a teen coming to terms with sexuality and another middle aged, dealing with mortality.

Although a racially homogenous cast, the film does bear witness to a variety of queer lives.

MV5BNTYzMDYzMzA1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUzODg2NDM_._V1_.jpg

UNSANE  (DVD)

Great performances anchor a truly frightening scenario, a violent Kafkaesque trip into the bureaucratic nightmare of health insurance and mental illness.

Throw in a stalker and it’s a trap you’ll never escape.

Moments of unnecessary violence mar an otherwise effective thriller.

download (1).jpg

THE ASSISTANT  (DVD)

A timely indictment of the ‘Weinstein’ era.

Jane, the ‘assistant’ (played to perfection by Julia Garner) tries navigating the insidious abuse by men within the film industry.

A quiet, devastating film.

MV5BODgwNDc1YmMtZDVmZi00NzMxLThmNzItMmQyZDc5NjFmZGYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg0ODE1ODE_._V1_.jpg

THIRSTY  (DOCUMENTARY, DVD)

A bio pic of drag artist Thirsty by Thirsty.

You can’t help but wonder, who paid for Thirsty?

Did not watch to completion.

Weren’t that thirsty.

MV5BZGE3MTA3OWQtYzVjYi00MjkwLThlZTQtNWUzOGVlYjEwMzBhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ__._V1_.jpg

GREMLINS 2  (DVD)

A strangely prescient film about corporate greed.

It is a cult favourite, and we understand why.

Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates are immensely watchable.

e5374983b3823f7f9744e979ebd6c8bae76c736db819f4aa986faedb10ffe3ec._RI_V_TTW_.jpg

DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT  (DVD)

This shouldn’t have gotten this far on film.

Contrived, terrible storytelling. Garbage.

This from the director of My Own Private Idaho?

New reviews added monthly!

bottom of page