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ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: BLACK, Award-winning Japanese Animation From Poland

There is something remarkably spellbinding about Tomasz Popakul's Polish-Japanese co-production Black, which won the award for Best Animation at this year's ŻubrOFFka Film Festival. It's unmistakably Japanese in style, and clearly a really passionate homage to the manga art so...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: A NIGHT IN TOKORIKI Is Like Mixing QUADROPHENIA with BORAT

There's been a handful of shorts at ŻubrOFFka that have opened by filming horses, like a symbolic statement of intent about the pace they intend to continue at. Few do it quite as well as Roxana Stroe's A Night in...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: In DEBUT, Katarzyna Kijek Makes Procrasturbation an Artistic Joy

Amidst the growing excitement surrounding Klara Kochańska’s Tenants, now seems an exciting time for female Polish filmmakers, and Katarzyna Kijek is no exception with her gorgeously surreal animation Debut, located in ŻubrOFFka’s Independent Competition selection. What a film it is...

Macau 2016 Review: THE MOLE SONG: HONG KONG CAPRICCIO Sees Miike Find His Sweet Spot

Bursting with anarchic energy and awash with lurid colours, The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio surpasses its 2013 predecessor in sheer entertainment value as a consistently ridiculous crime caper.    Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike again takes the helm, with...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: In BALCONY, Toby Fell-Holden Puts His Finger on the Pulse of Brexit

Small film festivals really are the best, both in terms of vibe and the sense of inclusion they give. Short film festivals are particularly cool too, either because they're having to fight so damn hard for attention or simply because...

Other Worlds Austin 2016 Review: DOMAIN, Great Visual Style and an Intriguing Puzzle Narrative

An intriguing Twilight Zone premise gives way to a deadly mystery in Nathaniel Atcheson's fascinating new sci-fi indie, Domain, which just had its world premier at the Austin Other Worlds Film Festival.   In the film, more than half a million survivors...

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...