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AFI Fest 2017 Review: NEWTON Welcomes Sharp Political Satire To The Jungle

Director Amit V Marsurkar burst onto the filmmaking scene in India back in 2013 with his debut feature, Sulemani Keeda (Writers). That film, the story of a pair of nobodies trying to break into Bollywood as screenwriters was regarded as...

Camera Japan 2017 Review: In BEFORE WE VANISH, Kurosawa Kiyoshi Gets Emotional

An alien invasion film, made by Kurosawa Kiyoshi? That almost sounds too good to be true. And it is, kind-of. Yes, there is an alien invasion, but not surprisingly, Kurosawa is not much interested in displays of grand destruction, monsters...

Busan 2017 Review: PARK HWA-YOUNG Lashes Out with Foul and Excessive Misery

Among the dozens of local indie films that wind up at the Busan International Film Festival every year, a number tend to be dark social dramas that explore the worst aspects of society. Often set in winter (likely due to...

Busan 2017 Review: HOME Settles in for Pleasant if Predictable Family Drama

Busan-set family melodrama Home doesn't stray from stock themes of Korean dramas yet its endearing young cast and genuine feelings make it a pleasant debut from newcomer Kim Jong-woo. Jun-ho is a middle school student who lives with half-brother Seong-ho...

Camera Japan 2017 Review: KODOKU MEATBALL MACHINE Minces A Lot Of Meat

Twelve years ago, a small film called Meatball Machine by directors Yamaguchi Yudai and Yamamoto Yun'ichi made a bloody splash in the festival circuit. In it, you could see two star-crossed loners falling in love with each other, only for...

Busan 2017 Review: BLOCKAGE Chronicles the Hard Times of a Desperate Man

Faced with losing his job and his family on the same day, a shady municipal officer in contemporay Tehran is forced to make some difficult choices in Blockage, Mohsen Gharaie’s gripping social drama.   Qasem (Hamed Behdad) is tasked with...

Review: THE EMPTY HANDS Sees Chapman To and Stephy Tang Reborn

Chapman To writes, directs and stars in this Hong Kong-based karate drama that transforms Stephy Tang from a frivolous starlet into a legitimate martial arts performer. Tang plays the half-Chinese, half-Japanese daughter of a karate master, who discovers upon her...

Busan 2017 Review: ECOLOGY IN CONCRETE Explores the Heart of Modern Seoul

Following her Talking Architect films, director Jeong Jae-eun once again explores the complicated systems behind Seoul's urban planning, a field which encompasses both fascinating sociological insights and frustrating political obstacles. In Jeong's hands, this exploration of the growth of Seoul's...

Busan 2017 Review: HIT THE NIGHT Flips Genders in Talky Game of Cat and Mouse

Following quickly on the heels of her surprising debut Bitch on the Beach, which bowed at the Seoul Independent Film Festival last year, Jeong Ga-young gets her first Busan berth with Hit the Night, which once again features the director...

Busan 2017 Review: METHOD Gets Booed Off the Stage

Bang Eun-jin scales things down significantly for her fourth work, the theater world forbidden love story Method. Lacking any chemistry between its leads, this facile mirrored narrative proves to be Bang's least impressive work as it trudges through thinly drawn...

Busan 2017 Review: THE THIRD MURDER Ponders the Unknowable in Quiet and Electric Mystery

Known for his controlled and humanistic family dramas, acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda tries his hand at the bread and butter of the Japanese mainstream, the murder mystery. The result, which he directed from his own script, is the ruminative and...

Busan 2017 Review: AFTER MY DEATH Breathlessly Ponders High School Suicide

The New Currents competition gets a jolt of energy with Kim Ui-seok's livewire debut After My Death. Much like fellow competition title Last Child, the grief and guilt surrounding a high schooler's death also forms the crux of this film,...

Busan 2017 Review: MICROHABITAT, a Poignant and Lively Debut

Perhaps the most impressive Korean debut at Busan this year, the thoughtful and entertaining Microhabitat is a convincing showcase for star Esom and and an even more impressive calling card for director Jeon Go-woon, who becomes the first woman in...

Warsaw 2017 Review: SO HELP ME GOD, a Wild True/False Search for Justice

Perplexing stranger-than-fiction pic So Help Me God captures the formalist zeitgeist in a highly watchable outcome

Vancouver 2017 Review: BLACK COP Does Its Concept Justice

Between its success at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this year, and here at VIFF, where it won the Canadian Feature award, Black Cop has become something of a sensation. Its concept is an undeniably timely,...

Busan 2017 Review: LAST CHILD, a Powerful Tale of Guilt and Grief

Grief and guilt get a thorough review in Shin Dong-seok's debut film Last Child, one of three Korean films competing in this year's New Currents competition in Busan. A trio of powerful performances ground this emotionally gritty tale and lure...

Warsaw 2017 Review: A BALKAN NOIR Delivers What It Promises

Bosnian-born and Swedish-based filmmaker Dra┼żen Kuljanin delivers exactly what the title promises.

Busan 2017 Review: THE WORK, an Essential Exploration into Masculine Fragility

There are few places in the world more terrifying than prison. For most of us, it is an environment we will never have to experience first hand, but for those who are incarcerated, it is a community of division, hostility...

Busan 2017 Review: A TIGER IN WINTER Hunts Our Individual Fears

Following his wonderfully droll indies Romance Joe and A Matter of Interpretation, both of which also debuted at Busan, director Lee Kwang-kuk is back with A Tiger in Winter. Though it employs a similarly low-key but careful aesthetic and continues...

Vancouver 2017 Review: MAISON DU BONHEUR, a Lovely Portrait

Filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz's 2016 film, Never Eat Alone, won her VIFF's Emerging Canadian Director prize for that year. Now, she returns to the festival with her newest feature, Maison du bonheur. How the film came to be is a charming...