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New York 2016 Review: James Gray's THE LOST CITY OF Z, A Well-Meaning But Lackluster Adventure Film

There is nothing particularly wrong with The Lost City of Z. I buy that one man's obsession- 'a man's reach should exceed his grasp', is worthy subject for a movie. Obviously, it's much less offensive than that last Indiana Jones film or Apocalypto when the depiction of natives are concerned. But do we need another film about a white man's journey to validate another culture's worth in this day and age?

New York 2016 Review: With CERTAIN WOMEN, Kelly Reichardt's Back in Form

If her newly restored/rediscovered debut film Rivers of Grass gave a nod to Bonnie and Clyde and old noir films, with Certain Women, Reichardt does Altman-- an ensemble cast and loosely connected stories structure based on short stories (by a Montana Native, Maile Meloy). But it's still very much Reichardt film: with muted tones, sense of melancholy and loneliness, Certain Women excels at being small, minimalistic character studies that are distinctly a small town Americana. Also, many of her films placed women in precarious situations to observe, but I think this is the first time that she is forefront about exclusively telling women's stories.

New York 2016 Review: In Albert Serra's THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV, Irony is Not Lost

The irony of the king's death is heightened by it's straightforward presentation and procedural approach. The Death of Louis XIV is a very singular formalist filmmaking in its highest order.

New York 2016 Review: HERMIA & HELENA, Matías Piñeiro's New Offering is Slow in Tempo But Just as Beguiling

Just like his other films, H & H is extremely talky, but the feel of the film is much slower even languid at times. It's not more contemplative, per se. Perhaps it's New York's snowy winter landscape that's bringing out certain melancholy to the film. Because of Camila's journey takes unexpected turns (in romance or otherwise) and because of the people she meets and we get to see her (sort of) motives, the film comes closer to a character study and feels more personal than any other Piñeiro films I've seen.

New York 2016 Review: AQUARIUS Explores Indiscreet Charm of Brazilian Bourgeoisie

With Braga's commanding performance and the quite explosive ending, Aquarius goes down as one of the finest films of 2016.

New York 2016 Review: FIRE AT SEA, Juxtaposition of the Refugee Crisis and Old Europe

Fire at Sea refuses to be a rhetorical documentary. There are no narrations nor sit down interviews with locals or 'experts' about how they feel about the tides of Immigrants coming ashore or what could be done about it. It is more of a straight up reportage on the ground, simply showing the magnitude of the crisis that begs your attention and understanding.

Toronto 2016 Review: THINGS TO COME Ponders the Wilderness of Self with Supreme Gentleness

French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve teams up with iconic actress Isabelle Huppert for a quietly affecting story about a bourgeois middle-aged philosophy teacher and the big changes in her life.

New York 2015 Review: BRIDGE OF SPIES, A Thrilling Throwback To An Earlier Era

The New York Film Festival's transition in the past few years from being more or less purely a showcase for the crème-de-la-crème of world cinema (which it still largely is) to being an increasingly prominent stop on the way to...

New York 2015 Interview: Todd Haynes On Falling For CAROL

In Todd Haynes' new film, Cate Blanchett plays Carol, the object of uncharted desire for Therese (Rooney Mara), a young girl ill-equipped to handle this foreign attraction. Since the film exists in the closed-minded postwar years, circa late 40s, the courtship...

New York 2015 Review: Getting To Know DE PALMA's Rabbit

Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's documentary, De Palma, begins with its beloved subject discussing the first time he ever saw Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and the profound impact it had on his sense of storytelling and general cinematic philosophy. In discussing...

New York 2015 Review: The Tranquil Insanity of JUNUN

Paul Thomas Anderson has finally given the world a film that won't send its audiences into fits of over-thought analysis. By no means is this meant to imply that ruminating on PTA films isn't a source of great cinematic joy,...

New York 2015 Review: MIA MADRE Is An Elegant And Deeply Personal Film

Nanni Moretti's latest film, Mia Madre, is elegant, understated, and discreetly moving. A personal, if not autobiographical film, Mia Madre chronicles the slow death of a filmmaker's mother as the director struggles to complete her movie. Moretti experienced the hospitalization...

New York 2015 Review: STEVE JOBS Is A Dud

The first question is: do we really need another Steve Jobs movie? Then, what merits does the life of the billionaire co-founder of Apple have, to prompt three movies (Jobs, Steve Jobs: the Man in the Machine, and now Steve...

New York 2015 Interview: Miguel Gomes On The Epic ARABIAN NIGHTS

It was 3 years ago when I first met Miguel Gomes in a cramped office of New York's Film Forum. His third feature Tabu was a big international success and I was just discovering his fantastic films. But it was...

New York 2015 Review: Miguel Gomes' ARABIAN NIGHTS, Cinematic Highlight Of The Year

The last time I talked with Miguel Gomes, the subject of our conversation was not about his latest film, Tabu, but almost exclusively about the impact of the devastating austerity measure by the Portuguese government on the Portuguese film community...

New York 2015 Review: LES COWBOYS, Wild West Tensions In Modern France

Thomas Bidegain's film, Les Cowboys, begins in a strange key, with a nuclear French family spending the day at an American Western-themed rodeo (not that there's any other real kind). It's clearly no casual affair for them, but a practiced...

New York 2015 Review: CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, A Beautiful and Beguiling Waking Dream

The Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in his body of work consisting of six features, plus a number of short and medium length films, and also art installations, illuminates the landscapes of his native country in ways that often approximate trance-like...

Spielberg's BRIDGE OF SPIES Leads The 2015 New York Film Festival's Main Slate

The 53rd New York Film Festival starts September 25 - October 11 at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center, and boy are they packing a punch this year.Their Main Slate was announced today, leading with the world premiere of Steven...

New York 2014 Review: BIRDMAN, A Visual and Comedic Feast For The Eyes and Mind

This year's New York Film Festival came to a satisfying conclusion with one of its best selections, Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the oddly titled (and punctuated) fifth feature by acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Returning in...

New York 2014 Review: CITIZENFOUR, The Chilling Story Behind Edward Snowden's Explosive Revelations

In this year's New York Film Festival there were two gripping thrillers, both receiving their world premieres at the festival, and, intriguingly enough, both featuring moodily effective scores by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. One was David Fincher's novel adaptation...