Bad Genius (Chalard Games Goeng) (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A straight A+ student, Lynn sells the right to cheat of off her for money which her family desperately needs so she can maintain going to private school where she has a better chance at a better education. As the stakes go up, she gets involved in a plan to cheat on an international university entry classification test. From there on, things become stressful and nerve-wracking for her group of friends and herself.

Continue reading

A Ghost Story (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

After his death, a man goes home dressed in a white sheet to try to reconnect with his grieving wife.

A Ghost Story an intimate haunting film by David Lowery that explores themes of grieving, remembering, being remembered, learning to let go, and ultimately love.  Here Lowery creates an intimate look on a couple in a short time before killing the husband, leaving his wife in shock and trying to figure life out for herself.  He also explores this death from the deceased side of things without ever going in the cheesy or creepy worlds many ghost story films go to in order to do this.  Here he creates 2 strong leads that have very few lines, yet manage to pass emotions and feelings through watching these two people interact before the husband’s death and how they are after it.

Continue reading

Tilt (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Kasra Farahani’s “Tiltis a compelling and sometimes spellbinding dramatic thriller about the American dream and the ideas about fulfillment and freedom. Set amongst the backdrop of the turbulent election that gave the Presidential seat to a wealthy and very loud mogul, “Tiltis a sharp and often disturbing look at the disintegration of a man. “Tiltis fairly simplistic but rich in substance as it depicts America as something of a stagnant pool where freedom reigns but nothing ever changes. Joseph Cross’s performance as a self important filmmaker and struggling artist is astounding, as he injects layers of frustration and anger at a world that he never fully comprehends.

Continue reading

Pickup (2016)

Jeremiah Kipp and Jessica Blank’s “Pickup” is the incredibly uncomfortable portrait of an uneasy relationship where a woman is stuck in a perpetual cycle of self-destruction that promises to become very dangerous, if she isn’t careful. Director Kipp is very wise to lead us in to a final scene that is very ambiguous and leaves the audience wondering what will happen next, and I appreciated that. “Pickup” involves a horrendous situation where once it explodes, everyone will feel the pain. And it likely involves two people that know the explosion is coming and both of them are doing everything in their power to prevent it before they have no choice but to face it.

Continue reading

Ghost World (2001): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Daniel Clowe’s iconic coming of age tale “Ghost World” gets its due from Criterion for hardcore fans alike. Criterion tastefully disregards Scarlett Johansson’s mega star status in favor of advertising the essence of the very weird and unusual tale of a young girl learning about growing up and moving on. In one of her finest roles, Thora Birch stars as the odd Enid, a girl with peculiar taste for Bollywood musicals and off beat culture who is experiencing the end of high school with her best friend Rebecca (Johansson). Enid finds solace with her life through her unusual art where she draws colorful locals in her town.

Continue reading