Review: Disappearance at Clifton Hill

The third feature from writer/director Albert Shin, “Disappearance on Clifton Hill”, takes viewers on a moody Niagara Falls mystery that offers a great atmosphere, but a lacklustre conspiracy story. The film follows Abby (Tuppence Middleton), a woman returning to her hometown of Niagara Falls to settle an inheritance she gains from her late mother. Although she’s been away for quite some time, Abby is still haunted by a memory from her childhood of her seeing a young boy with one eye being kidnapped. So, when she makes new connections to the boy’s disappearance, she begins to investigate the town’s history and meets some interesting discoveries that unveil an elaborate conspiracy. With her checkered past rearing its ugly head and her investigation gaining some unwanted attention, Abby must uncover the truth before she’s completely silenced.

Review: Here Comes Hell

A weekend in the country can be a nightmare, if the right combination of people are thrown together. Writer-director Jack McHenry and co-writer Alice Sidgwick have taken this thought and run with it for their feature debut “Here Comes Hell”: a horror-comedy of the same gore-fest breed as Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” films, with the action instead taking place in an English country estate in the 1930s rather than in a cabin in the woods. The estate in question is Westwood Manor, recently acquired by the heir of a vast family fortune who has invited his friends to a dinner party at his new home. Naturally, post-dinner entertainment includes a seance - complete with an eccentric medium - which goes just as well as any cinematic encounter with the hereafter has done previously (with the exception of “Ghost”, of course).

Review: A Good Woman Is Hard To Find

Over the years, genre cinema has had a lot of examples of crime dramas from the female perspective. We have had stellar examples further in the past like Kathryn Bigelow's sharp "Blue Steel" (1990) and F. Gary Gray's "Set It Off" (1996) and just recently, we had Lorene Scarafia's vibrant "Hustlers" (2019) and Andrea Berloff's problematic "The Kitchen" (2019). On the more ambitious side, we have had crime films that meld with other genres like Park Chan-wook's artistic "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (2005), Carol Morley's "Out of Blue" (2018) and Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" (2012). In the case of Abner Pastoll's "A Good Woman Is Hard To Find" (2019), we have that perspective alongside other promising notions that make the film look great on paper. Firstly, it is a British film; and British cinema is well-known for their intensity within crime stories like James Watkins' "Eden Lake" (2008) and Daniel Barber's "Harry Brown" (2009).

Review: Midway

Year: 2019 Runtime: 138 Minutes Director: Roland Emmerich Writer: Wes Tooke Stars: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore By Caelyn O'Reilly Roland Emmerich makes two kinds of movies; films that are utterly stupid but buckets of fun (“Independence Day” and “White House Down”), and films that are just as stupid but... Continue Reading →

Review: Love is Blind

“I really don’t know what’s real anymore,” Bess says in “Love is Blind” (2019). Much of this film revolves around the audience figuring out what is real rather than in Bess's head. Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom direct this quirky romantic dramedy about loneliness, grief, and healing. It has a solid cast and is an imaginative film, making it always engaging despite its wacky and sometimes hard-to-follow plot. “Love is Blind,” written by Jennifer Schuur, is about a girl named Bess (Shannon Tarbet) who cannot see her mother (Chloe Sevigny) and believes that she passed away a decade ago. Through the course of the film, the audience realizes that her mother is very much alive but that her ‘selective blindness’ is Bess’s way of coping with a traumatic event in the past.

“Wounds” Analysis: Attempting to Find Meaning in Filth

“Wounds” is Babak Anvari’s latest film--he is a British-Iranian filmmaker best known for his directorial debut in 2017 with the brilliant “Under the Shadow”. Here, he takes the same cultural critique approach of that film and uses that framework to critique millennials. “Wounds” is based on Nathan Ballingrud’s novella, “The Visible Filth”--which I haven’t read, but if the conclusions this film draws are similar to those of the source material, then by god, I want it on my kindle NOW.

LFF Exclusive Review: Waves

“Waves” (2019) is the third film by writer-director Trey Edward Shults. It is a powerful drama about the ripple effects of violent acts and their impact on many different lives. High school athlete Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr) struggles to keep up with intense wrestling training, his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie), and his family's expectations. His father (Sterling K Brown) pushes him to the limits of his physical and academic ability and is a strict disciplinarian despite providing a luxurious family home. All this pressure comes to a head and a violent act occurs. As the family comes to terms with their own guilt about the situation his sister Emily (Taylor Russell) tries to hold multiple relationships together, as well as her own emotions.

Review: Out of Blue

Carol Morley's "Out of Blue" is a hypnotic puzzle piece which is so much more than just another whoddunit crime drama. A somewhat overlooked film, "Out of Blue" deserves to be sought out, and experienced in all of its surreal beauty.

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