July 15, 2019

SCREEN | Jesse Eisenberg Learns 'The Art of Self-Defense' x Rupture

"Never hold back. Not ever."
Jesse Eisenberg Imogen Poots Riley Stearns | The Art of Self-Defense | VIFF Rupture 2019

Indie filmmaker Riley Stearns' bizarrely offbeat, pitch-black comedy, starring Jesse Eisenberg as a meek accountant looking to unlock his inner toxic masculine confidence and defend himself, is such an incisive dark satire. The Art of Self-Defense really commits to its wildly twisted deadpan comic premise set mostly in a 1990s karate dojo.

July 11, 2019

CINEMA | Call Your Grandma – Awkwafina Bids 'The Farewell'

"It's a good lie."

Adapted from her own real-life family experience "based on an actual lie", sophomore filmmaker Lulu Wang brilliantly dramatizes the bizarre Chinese tradition of lying to elderly terminal cancer patients about their impending deaths. Starring comedian/rapper Awkwafina as Billi in a fine dramatic turn, The Farewell tells a uniquely emotional Chinese-American cross-cultural story of family obligation and love.

July 10, 2019

CINEMA | 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Goes Home

"People aren't just one thing."
Jimmie Fails Jonathan Majors Joe Talbot | The Last Black Man in San Francisco

First-time filmmaker Joe Talbot has made such a deeply soulful family drama about a man's place in a world he no longer feels he belongs to in loosely fictionalizing a version of star and real-life childhood friend Jimmie H. Fails IV's personal history. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a beautiful story Talbot and Fails have been trying to make for years about Fails (who plays himself) and his attachment to his childhood home.

July 8, 2019

WANDER | Vikky Alexander x 'Extreme Beauty' x VAG

"My job as an artist is to figure out how things work."
Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty | Vancouver Art Gallery

Downtown—(July 3, 2019) The Vancouver Art Gallery's latest curated exhibition Extreme Beauty is renowned photo-based contemporary artist Vikky Alexander's first retrospective following her prolific forty-year career. It features more than eighty of her works recontextualizing the appropriation of imagery and mechanisms of display that shape meaning, beauty, and desire.

July 4, 2019

CINEMA | Nanjiani and Bautista Drive Hard – 'Stuber'

"You've messed with the wrong Uber driver."
Kumail Nanjiani Dave Bautista Michael Dowse | Stuber

Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista team up for a fairly basic twenty-first century riff on the 1980-90s era throwback cop action genre of buddy comedies in Stuber. The mismatched duo consists of a part-time Uber driver (Stu, thus the title) and the temporarily blind detective (Vic) who hires him as they're tasked with tracking down a violent criminal across Los Angeles.

July 1, 2019

CINEMA | A Fun Illusion – 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Travels

"Bitch please, you've been to space!"
Tom Holland Jon Watts | Spider-Man: Far From Home

Since 2002, there have been a whopping ten studio films to feature the character of Spider-Man in a significant role. The recent string of Marvel Studios fare, including the Avengers series, has mostly brought new life to the webhead. However, even with last year's stunning animated Into the Spider-Verse, it just simply feels like too much. As such, Homecoming director Jon Watts returns for this version of Spidey's first proper standalone sequel in the otherwise very fun Spider-Man: Far From Home.

June 27, 2019

FEAST | Rabbit Food x Đồ Chay Saigon Vegetarian x Kingsway

Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian Restaurant | Kingsway, Vancouver
vegan bánh bột lọc (rice flour "glass" dumplings stuffed with mushrooms wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf)
Kingsway—(May 25, 2019) The brand new, plant-based Đồ Chay Saigon Vegetarian Restaurant opened recently in Kensington–Cedar Cottage. From the well-known Đỗ family—most notably behind House Special in Yaletown among other local eateries they've opened (Green Lemongrass and Broken Rice) over the years—the restaurant debuted to high expectations for its anticipated vegan and vegetarian Vietnamese fare.

June 26, 2019

CINEMA | Breaking Up – 'Midsommar' Shines A Light on Folk Horror

"Is it tomorrow?"
Florence Pugh Jack Reynor Ari Aster | Midsommar

Needless to say, Hereditary filmmaker Ari Aster's second genre feature is another unsettling piece of truly disturbing folk horror. Midsommar is also, however, shockingly hilarious. Set mostly in a remote northern Sweden village during a pagan festival, the film uses the guise of (what I'm hoping are highly fictionalized) escalating cultural midsummer traditions to dissect the nature of broken relationships and grief.

June 25, 2019

CINEMA | Top 10 Films of 2019 So Far

Elisabeth Moss Alex Ross Perry | Her Smell
Each film reviewed where linked below:
1) Her Smell (dir. Alex Ross Perry)
2) Us (dir. Jordan Peele)
3) Booksmart (dir. Olivia Wilde)
4) Teen Spirit (dir. Max Minghella)
5) The Souvenir (dir. Joanna Hogg)
6) Toy Story 4 (dir. Josh Cooley)
7) Apollo 11 (dir. Todd Douglas Miller)
8) Plus One (dir. Jeff Chan & Andrew Rhymer)
9) High Flying Bird (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
10) High Life (dir. Claire Denis)