Review: ‘Akilla’s Escape’ examines cycles of crime

Akilla's Escape

Crime doesn’t pay unless you’re really good at it. Akilla is really good at it. He has a marijuana farm, distribution network, men in his employ, and a friendly relationship with the local crime lord, The Greek. Weed has been made legal though, and rather than continue the cycles of his life Akilla wants out.

After putting all his affairs in order, he goes to inform The Greek, but when he arrives, he’s greeted by the barrel of a gun. That gun is in the hands of 15-year-old Sheppard, who is in the middle of robbing the crime lord with some friends. The friends escape, but Akilla subdues Sheppard and is now faced with a choice: turn him over to The Greek or disrupt the same cycle of crime he got caught in some 20 years before.

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Review: ‘Trigger Point’ is a knockoff of better movies.

Trigger Point

You’ve seen this before. The normal small-town man with a hilariously comprehensive home security system (which he uses to save stray cats) and excellent hacker skills (which he uses to help kids advance in video games), whose quiet life is disrupted when his history as an elite assassin catches up to him. It’s a classic setup and one that has worked to great effect many times. Unfortunately, this is not one of those times.

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Review: ‘Sugar Daddy’; Kelly McCormack is one to watch in this excellent indie feature

Sugar Daddy

What are you willing to do to make it? Will it be worth it if you do? These are two of the questions at the heart of Sugar Daddy. The story follows Darren (writer and star Kelly McCormack), a young woman who moved to the city to work on her music. She has multiple part-time jobs, none of which pay enough on their own for her to survive, and all of which don’t allow enough free time for her to work on said music until she stumbles into a website where older men pay young women to go on dates with them.

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VIFF Review: ‘My Salinger Year’ is a fine coming of age tale

Margaret Qualley / My Salinger Year

You have seen this story before. A young, bright-eyed person has to New York City to pursue their artistic dreams and gets waylaid in a job adjacent to their dreams in the meantime. It has been told so many times before that I doubt you could count them, so it takes a lot to stand out.

My Salinger Year, based on the memoir of the same name by Joanna Rakoff, has everything going for it. An up and comer in Margaret Qualley in the lead role. A major star in Sigourney Weaver in the main supporting role. It is set in a nostalgic period, recreated in exquisite detail. What a film like this needs to become truly great is that certain extra something, the Je ne sais quois that can make something add up to more than the sum of its parts.

This film does not have that. But that’s not an indictment because the film is perfectly lovely as it is, adding up to exactly what it is.

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