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Cannes 2017 Review: THE MERCILESS Punches Up Familiar Gangster Tale

After helming a low-key music drama (The Beat Goes On) and a romantic comedy (Whatcha Wearin'?), director Byun Sung-hyun finally shows off what may be his true colors in the brash and confident half gangster thriller, half prison drama The...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE BEGUILED, A Campy Anatomy of Lust

Sofia Coppola is a filmmaker whose work I've appreciated from a distance. I know she's a great director, but apart from Marie Antoinette, her stories of rich white people and their troubles has held little interest for me. But as...

Now on Blu-ray: Open Your Mind, Step Into THE VOID

Today marks the Blu-ray release of Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie's new horror film, The Void. Regular Screen Anarchy readers will recognize the co-directors as members of the renegade Winnipeg cinema collective Astron-6, but The Void is their first feature...

Cannes 2017 Dispatch: A Strong Year for the Sidebars

The main attraction at what might be the world's most bifurcated film festival is certainly the Palme d'Or competition. But there is always a film or two that finds a fair amount of buzz out of one of the primary...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, Love Can Make Us Cruel

Human beings can be kind, generous, and loving. But they can also be self-indulgent, vicious, and cruel. We all want to believe that, under certain circumstances, we would sacrifice and fight for the lives of our loved ones. But would...

Review: TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, First 4 Episodes Dazzle, Confound, Delight

Gorgeous to behold and wonderfully idiosyncratic, Twin Peaks: The Return is nothing like I expected and everything I wanted. The first four episodes were unveiled last night on the Showtime premium network in the U.S. As I recently explained, I...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE DAY AFTER Offers Bitter Portrait of Infidelity

Returning to black and white for the first time since The Day He Arrives (which screened in Un Certain Regard in 2011), Hong Sangsoo returns to the Cannes competition section with The Day After, a focused rumination on love and...

Cannes 2017 Review: FACES PLACES, A Delightful and Poignant Capture of Working Life

The Grand Dame of French cinema, Agnès Varda's work has ranged from the New Wave in Cleo from 5 to 7, to feminism and friendship in One Sings, The Other Doesn't, to documenting the life of the poor in The...

Cannes 2017 Review: THE VILLAINESS Shoots and Chops Her Way to Bloody Revenge

Korean action cinema bursts through to new horizons in the hyperkinetic pulp blade and bullet ballet The Villainess. Equal parts Kill Bill, Nikita, John Wick, Hardcore Henry and HK-era John Woo, the second film from Confession of Murder director Jung...

Cannes 2017 Review: CLAIRE'S CAMERA, Hong Sangsoo's Low-Key Cannes Holiday

Love him or hate him, Hong Sangsoo has been remarkably consistent with his films, which both offer viewers a familiar framework and new variations on his favorite themes. His 20th work Claire's Camera debuts this weekend as a Special Screening...

Cannes 2017 Dispatch: Competition Embraces the Weird

For a festival notorious for taking itself way too seriously, the opening salvo of the Palme d'Or competition has been filled with movies that are actually pretty weird. Of course, that's incredibly refreshing. Not to say that it isn't nice...

Cannes 2017 Review: OKJA Will Make You Jump for Joy and Burst into Tears

An endearing family adventure, a bitter ecological plea and a rousing action film all rolled into one, Okja proves once more that Bong Joon Ho is a master of twisting something new out of the familiar. While Netflix's gamble screams...

Review: Guy Ritchie's KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, Very, Very Familiar

There are countless films about the legend of King Arthur, from a Disney animation (The Sword in the Stone) to a hilarious satire (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) to a romance with Richard Gere (First Knight) to the epic...

Streaming Reviews: I LOVE DICK, Season 1; MASTER OF NONE, Season 2

Over the weekend, two notable series made their full-season debuts on competing streaming services. Each confounds, to a degree, assumptions I'd made about the relative strengths (and weaknesses) of those services. Both are definitely worth sampling. A prickly, confrontational affair...

Review: ALIEN: COVENANT Uses Horror to Mask Its Shortcomings

Ridley Scott returns to fill in the blanks of the maligned horrors of space, with plenty of screaming and more than enough people around to hear it in Alien: Covenant. His familiar fated take on the Alien genesis, however, sticks more...

Blu-ray Review: WILLARD and BEN Scurry out of Scream Factory's Cellar

I recently received Blu-ray copies of both Willard and Ben, both out on May 16 from Scream Factory. I feel that these releases would have been better as a pair released in the same package, but I'm not not a distributor and can't...

Blu-ray Review: JEANNE DIELMAN, Criterion's Three-Hour Slog To Pure Cinematic Perfection

Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles was released by the Criterion Collection a few years ago in a standard-definition DVD, but gets upgraded to Blu-ray this week, which finally gave me the chance to catch up...

Review: LOWRIDERS, Battling for the Soul of an Artist

Self-righteous certitude, seething resentment, and taciturn parental authority collide repeatedly in Lowriders, an exploration of a nuclear family and Mexican-American culture. Directed with conviction by Ricardo de Montreuil and bathed in amber by cinematographer Andrés Sánchez, the film is similar...

Review: FOLK HERO & FUNNY GUY, Great Performances Mark the Arrival of a Remarkable Filmmaking Talent

One of the key ingredients for a successful film is a good title. And one thing that makes for a good title is one that is perfectly descriptive of the movie within.   Jeff Grace's witty, diverting feature debut Folk...

Review: HOUNDS OF LOVE Never Shies Away From Shock

Serial killer thrillers that deal with the dark subject matter of abuse and sexual victimization are the cinematic equivalent of playing with fire. Especially if your film is based loosely on real life crimes, as is the case with Hounds...