I previously wrote some of this review a year and a half ago for The Film Queue. And for a million and one reasons, it feels like a lifetime ago. I was given the opportunity to watch it again in honour of it being released physically today, on September 22nd. So, please, go watch it. Rent it, buy it.

I also got to sit down (socially distanced of course) and talk with the Toronto-based director Zack Bernbaum. My interview will be posted soon.

Here is my updated review of The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova.

Going into a film not knowing much about it usually makes things more exciting. Not knowing exactly where the film is heading makes things more unpredictable; and we all know trailers spoil too much nowadays so I avoided the trailer for this movie. I soon realized that not knowing anything going into this film may have tainted my experience because the whole time I couldn’t help but wonder, do I care where this is going or is this even going anywhere for that matter?

From a young age, the horror genre has always stood out to me. It was the ultimate escape from reality and the pure adrenaline from being scared shitless was my go to for a good time. The more I got into film, I realized that a large part of why I enjoyed certain films came from whether or not I liked or could relate to the characters. I mean, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) is quite literally why it’s one of my favorite movies. But the older I got and the more I began to understand who I was, I started to notice that I wasn’t necessarily seeing someone like me in horror. There was never the gay friend in a slasher movie, the queer kid who’s part of a family living in a haunted house, or even a gay couple in a home invasion, etc. Thankfully that’s finally changing.

They say The Lord works in mysterious ways. He certainly does in Antonio Campos new Netflix film, The Devil All The Time. Based on the novel of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock, the film explores the vengeful life stories of several god-fearing Americans as they try to come to terms with a higher power, but truly attempt to come to terms with themselves. It is a dark window into a society where evil can be justified in simple terms and good can be difficult to distinguish from its more aggressive opposite. 

I first heard of Luca Guadagnino with 2016’s A Bigger Splash, a film that has been on my radar but still sadly hasn’t seen (will fix soon). His next two films hit me like bricks – Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria (the remake is the superior version, and I will die on this hill). Since Call Me By Your Name, Luca’s name has been everywhere including a Lord of The Flies adaptation, and also the Scarface film that the Coen Bros wrote. On top of that, he also co-wrote and directed 8 episodes for HBO. I’ve seen four of the eight episodes, and I am absolutely head over heels for his latest project.

Romantic comedies aren’t always my cup of tea. Too often they follow the same idea or story and it feels like they are just the same. But once a year, a little gem appears and takes me by storm. Last year, to me, that was the Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron lead Long Shot. This year, I am pretty sure that it will be The Broken Hearts Gallery. Is it perfect? No, but it just had so much heart and was hilarious. There’s something when you find a film that you go in thinking it will nothing more than a nice little comedy that will take your mind off your life but it becomes more and all of a sudden you find yourself dying of laughter one second and the next you are crying like a baby. That was The Broken Hearts Gallery for me.

Road trip movies are fun because it allows the filmmakers to explore their characters in situations that often we don’t find ourselves in. But they need to have interesting characters and relationships but also a premise that can be sustained. Summerland had potential and the acting and relationships are enough to make it something more, the problem is that Summerland can’t hit all the marks it needs too. It finds itself muddled into a story that never finds it’s footing and, quietly frankly, becomes boring when it should be entertaining.