Festivals Reviews

Sort By

South Asian 2016 Review: MAROON, A Tale of a Man Trapped With His Worst Fears

In Maroon, veteran character actor Manav Kaul plays an associate college professor whose wife goes missing, and it's not too long before his sanity goes along with her. Manav Kaul plays Saurabh, an associate professor of literature at a liberal...

Los Cabos 2016 Review: LION Is Sickly Sweet Awards Bait

On its surface Lion is little more than awards bait, the kind of saccharine, melodramatic mess that gets trotted out to garner attention and weepy audiences. With the powerhouse Weinsteins behind the project, along with a retinue of actors such...

Los Cabos 2016 Review: THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES Takes A Fascinating Look At A Remote Community

The notion of cultural relativism is one that goes back to the late 19th century and is one that’s often simply conflated to mean “you have your way, I have mine”. It was an attempt, through its sister moral relativism,...

Morbido Fest 2016 Review: ARE WE NOT CATS Purrs

I didn't get to see as many films as I would have liked to at Morbido 2016, but Are We Not Cats was one of them. I'm glad to have seen this surprising and bold piece of filmmaking. Directed by...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Paints A Dark Portrait Of Migration

We've all heard, or read, an innumerable amount of horror stories about immigrants from third-world countries coming to North America and Europe. The Road to Mandalay shows us that even the seemingly small hop from Myanmar to Thailand can feel...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE LOCK PICKER Features Very Promising Talent

Randall Okita's debut feature, The Lockpicker, screened as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival's new Future // Present series, which showcases emerging directorial talent in Canadian film. The film is a claustrophobic -- mainly shot in tightly held closeups...

Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET Frustrates As It Keeps Its Distance

Four kidnappers get more than they bargained for when they kidnap Katherine, the daughter of a diamond broker. They take her to an abandoned factory and prepare to hold her for a ransom. However, trouble starts brewing when they cannot...

Kyoto 2016 Review: TOMODACHI, A Personal and Touching Cross-Cultural Love Story

Having its official Japanese premiere in the Special Invitation section of this year's Kyoto International Film and Art Festival last week was Joel Ramagan’s Tomodachi (which literally translates as "friend"), an affecting and compelling cross-cultural love story set against the...

Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: Does BLOOD FATHER Mark The Return of Mel Gibson?

John Link (Mel Gibson) is living out his probation in a trailer park on a desolate park in California, running a tattoo parlour out of his trailer. Having recently served a multi year prison sentence he desperately tries to keep...

Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: KILL COMMAND, A Promising Debut From FX Supervisor Steven Gomez

An elite squad is sent to a remote island for a dull and routine training session. A techie, a cyber enhanced human, Mills, is assigned to the group to monitor the team and investigate mysterious line of code in the...

Busan 2016 Review: HOTEL SALVATION Finds Rebirth in the Pursuit of Death

Daya is ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. The 77-year old patriarch of a middle class Indian family suffers from recurring nightmares. After one such episode, he bluntly declares to his family that he is ready to die. His...

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?

Vancouver 2016 Review: MALIGLUTIT, A Spiritual Remake of John Ford's Western Classic THE SEARCHERS

Maliglutit, the latest film by Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner), is essentially a spiritual remake of John Ford's seminal Western classic, The Searchers. This time, the action is set entirely in Nunavut, Canada's most sparsely populated territory and home to...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE UNKNOWN GIRL, All Quiet Revelations, Resignation and Modest Hope

While its central conceit is decidedly sensational in nature, The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) unfolds at a mundanely methodical trot that has come to be expected of the Dardenne brothers. Their latest film revolves around a confident and talented...

Kyoto 2016 Review: MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI: A Fascinating Tribute To A Great Actor

Undeniably the most recognizable and prominent actor in the history of Japanese cinema, Mifune Toshiro has not only influenced generations of young performers, who passionately aspire to follow in his footsteps even nowadays, but also forever changed the perception of...

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.

Sitges 2016 Review: LAKE BODOM Twists A Few Too Many Times

Horror films often retread old tropes and themes; sometimes this is paired with a new perspective or aesthetic changes that can make these tropes seem fresh. Other times, some of these films can just seem tired. Taneli Mustonen's Lake Bodom...