Category Archives: Leave it

Movies I wish I had skipped. This could be for any number of reasons: the film was made sloppily, the narrative didn’t engage me, or I simply could not connect with the film in any way for whatever reason.

Review: The Sadness — Fantasia Festival 2021

Robert Jabbaz’s debut feature film, The Sadness, takes place in the midst of a pandemic. In particular, it takes place during a point in a pandemic where people have stopped worrying about mutations and have largely gone back to their normal day-to-days. Against this backdrop, young couple Kat (Regina Lei) and Jim (Berant Zhu) have planned a vacation. They begin the movie arguing over Jim needing to take on a job during the same week Kat has taken time off of work. Given where this film eventually goes, it is a somewhat banal place to begin the film.

There are many who will turn on this movie. It certainly gives you plenty of chances to turn as events in this Taiwanese city shift from Continue reading Review: The Sadness — Fantasia Festival 2021

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

Glasshouse; The Last Thing Mary Saw; and Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Glasshouse

Glasshouse is an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller. It explores  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Glasshouse, Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, The Last Thing Mary Saw

NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — Three Sisters, Shadows, The Silent Forest

Shadows, Three Sisters, and The Silent Forest are screening as part of the 2021 New York Asian Film Festival that runs Aug. 6 to Aug. 22.

Three Sisters

Lee Seung-won’s Three Sisters is a meditative drama about the distant lives of three sisters leading up to their reunion at their father’s birthday party. Mi-yeon (Moon So-ri) is the mother of two in a religious household, and she discovers her husband is engaging in an affair with Continue reading NYAFF 2021 Movie Reviews — Three Sisters, Shadows, The Silent Forest

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Broadcast Signal Intrusion, Coming Home in the Dark

Broadcast Signal Intrustion and Coming Home in the Dark are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion

Jacob Gentry’s Broadcast Signal Intrusion has a few visible antecedents. The premise—a man hired to transfer VHS tapes to disc becomes haunted by the image of a hijacked broadcast feed featuring a figure wearing a strange mask—is clearly a play on  Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Broadcast Signal Intrusion, Coming Home in the Dark

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Tin Can and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival taking place Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Tin Can

Tin Can sets up a vaguely intriguing premise about a pandemic which is ravaging the population and a scientist working on the treatment. It appears like it may be a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — We’re All Going to The World’s Fair, Tin Can

Review: Dear Hacker — Fantasia Festival 2021

“To what extent is the computer a presence in itself?” Filmmaker Alice Lenay asks this near the midpoint of her documentary, Dear Hacker. She is on a webcam, interviewing people she knows (in some cases, it seems, people she knows solely from web-based interactions) about the possibility of a hacker hijacking her webcam. The film begins with her describing the blinking of the LED indicator light next to the webcam, which has made her fear that someone might be watching her. Although, fear may not be the most accurate word. More curious than afraid.

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Dear Hacker is not really a documentary about Continue reading Review: Dear Hacker — Fantasia Festival 2021

Review: Mother Schmuckers — Fantasia Festival 2021

“Are you stupid or what?” exclaims Zabulon (Harpo Guit) to his brother Issacher (Maxi Delmelle) about halfway into Mother Schmuckers, a crass, raucous comedy from Guit and his brother Lenny Guit. To his credit, Zabulon is quite right. Yes, they are both stupid, and yes, it is an unbearable experience watching them traipse around Brussels exhibiting their idiocy onto everyone that gets in their way for what amounts to 70 unending minutes of screentime.

The film doesn’t have a linear plot, per se. One could say it involves the brothers looking for a lost dog or fending off one of their mother’s lecherous suitors. But it is more rightly described as episodic, with each episode doubling down on the provocation of the film’s opening scene (in which the two brothers are introduced cooking human excrement and Continue reading Review: Mother Schmuckers — Fantasia Festival 2021

Review: Strawberry Mansion — Fantasia Festival 2021

James Preble (Kentucker Audley, who also co-directs) is a tax worker, but what he audits is out of the ordinary. In the near future of Strawberry Mansion, the state audits people’s dreams, taxing the objects which manifest within the sleeping unconscious. Preble finds himself working a job on a remote estate owned by an elderly artist, Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller).

Bella, an eccentric hobbyist of all things creative, has left her dreams on the outdated medium of VHS tapes, something which will take Preble many hours to sift through. With over 2,000 tapes lying around the large house, he spends multiple days Continue reading Review: Strawberry Mansion — Fantasia Festival 2021

Me You Madness (2021) Movie Review

You could call Me You Madness a “female-driven American Psycho.” In fact, the movie would likely be smugly pleased if you made such a comparison. It would happily do you one better. As the over-bearing, ludicrous voiceover from the film’s central figure, Catherine Black (Louis Linton, who also directs, produces, and co-writes), attests, this is a high concept film which is familiar yet oh so unique. That’s right, the film itself tells you how special and great it is going to be. Right off the bat. (It will later explicitly refer to the screenwriters as geniuses, just because they understand how to implement a comedic callback).

Black is a self-described beautiful genius. She runs a massively successful hedge fund. She is a stock market guru. She literally gets off on watching stock market numbers move in her favor. She lives in the lap of luxury in an isolated Malibu estate. Her IQ is 173. And she is a serial killer.

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When Tyler, a thief and con man (Ed Westwick), answers her call for a “roommate,” the game is afoot. After giving Tyler a grand tour, Black drugs him, sleeps with him, butters him up in the morning, and then Continue reading Me You Madness (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) Movie Review

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 marks the conclusion of Leigh Janiak’s trilogy of horror pastiche films, which have been releasing weekly on Netflix. The trilogy’s release strategy has perhaps received as much attention as the films. Netflix adopts the weekly programming schedule that it actively helped to dissemble with its OTT service which gave rise to the binge-watching model. It’s not so much an innovation as a throwback, just like the movies themselves.

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Part One: 1994 was a broad throwback to the slasher, specifically taking cards from the self-aware era popularized by Scream. Part Two: 1978 was a pure Continue reading Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) Movie Review