Even as someone who tries to follow as many of the big film festivals, it’s hard to keep track of every film that comes out. Between the mainstream and all the indies, films slip through my fingertips. It wasn’t until a month ago or so that all the hype of The Art of Self Defense reached my Twitter feed. That was just in time for me to realize I can not miss out on this film, and I am truly glad I didn’t let it slip. I’m also glad I opted for a second viewing, this time with an audience. This deserves to be watched in a theatre, and not at home.

When I turned on my laptop yesterday morning, I didn’t think that it was going to be another case of Trailer Week . We didn’t get around to writing about The King’s Man but our brief thoughts are that while Golden Circle didn’t meet expectations, the prequel looks like it’ll correct its wrongs. That’s why we didn’t do a write-up, we didn’t have more to say.

Recently, Arianne and I were having a conversation and we came to a realization. As if it really makes that much of a difference, but, some of her favourite films of the years always come out of SXSW. And for myself, it’s always Sundance. There’s obviously over-lap but this marks to be true. And this marks another movie that came out of Sundance that is now on my list.

Frankly, I have no idea where this review is going to go until I just dive right in, which to be fair, is exactly how everyone should go into Midsommar.

I can not be alone, but Ari Aster made a hell of a name for themselves last year with Hereditary. I gladly caught it in the theatres three times and have been anxiously anticipating for Midsommar (or a follow-up in general) ever since. He has a clear voice about these bonds that are astonishing to witness.

If you know me, you know that this article was coming. In fact, you all should be surprised it wasn’t already posted by the time this one will be.

Before we even talk about the trailer, let me educate the uninformed. Mike Flanagan is one of my favourite working filmmakers. He understands horror at a core level – and then allows you to empathize with his characters through proper drama. Why do horror films work better than others? Simple, because you care about the characters. The villain or our heroes. In some slasher series (take a stab at any really), by the end of their franchises, it becomes less and less about an on-going hero (with some exceptions), and more and more about a hero. We don’t go to see any Friday The 13th films except to see Jason kill some teenagers. We do go see any of the Scream films, or the recent sequel to 1978’s HalloweenHalloween. I know, names for movies are strange. But that’s what works best with Flanagan. You care about his characters.

With every year, there are always a handful of films that I try and champion. Films with little-to-no marketing. This is why I almost have a film end on my list of favourites at the end of the year that nobody has heard of before.

Knives and Skin is definitely one of those movies you’ll hear me rave about for the rest of the year. If you followed any outlets that have been at Tribeca, Overlook or even Fantasia later this year, I know you’re going to hear all about this film. And you very much should. You’re going to hear a lot of similarities to Twins Peaks – and rightfully so.

Another day, another write-up for a trailer for a movie you’ve never heard of from a writer who’s been waiting for this moment for months.

James Gray may not be a name you’re really aware of, and that’s fine, he wasn’t a recognizable name for me until recently.  But today, we’re going to change that. In 1994, he made his debut feature Little Odessa, and in 2000 he directed and co-wrote The Yards (with Matt Reeves, remember that name for a second).

While I didn’t see that many films for the festival, it felt good to agree with an award for once. Xiang Zi won an award for Best First Feature and it’s extremely worthy of its award.

The film is a wonderfully unique and exquisite story that with such control from the director. Never allowing you to get further than she wants you to get. On top of that, it’s edited in a very moving and swaying motion. It weaves in and out of everyone’s past, so you’re never aware of where you truly are.