Slamdance 2017 Review: CORTEZ, A Quietly Affecting and Beautifully Acted Debut

It's not easy to find cinema that transports the viewer into a place filled with people who genuinely seem to have existed before the film begins and long after it rolls credits. Cortez offers just that.

10+ Years Later: Would We Still Take THE MATRIX's Red Pill?

Have you ever found yourself defending a movie, going out of your way to articulate its many strengths, before gradually realizing that you haven't actually viewed it in a decade or more? Do you ever say “oh yeah, that movie...

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...

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...

Review: KICKS Bristles With Immediacy, Excitement and Urgency

Kicks, a film about a hapless teenager who finds himself launched into the Bay Area's violent underbelly after being jumped for his new sneakers, bristles with immediacy, excitement and urgency. It's a remarkably assured, confident movie for a debut feature...

Review: MIA MADRE, Saying Goodbye to Mother

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 Asian 2016 Review: CREEPY, A Master Heads in a New Direction

Creepy has been touted as Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "return" to horror, but it feels, in its own right, like a new departure for the director. Where vintage Kurosawa fare was vague, mysterious, and mournful, Creepy is bracing, black-humored, and overt. A...

Review: LES COWBOYS Wrestles With Complex Issues and Ideas

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...

Tribeca 2016 Review: THE LONER Journeys Through A Neon Dreamscape

The Loner sounds intriguing on paper: a former child soldier from Iran drifts through L.A.'s seedy underbelly and becomes entangled in a web of crime, violence, and drugs. Heavily influenced by films like Drive and David Lynch's oeuvre -- one...

Tribeca 2016 Review: ICAROS: A VISION Creates A Palpable Sense Of Place

Icaros: A Vision is about a white, American woman who -- confronted with a terminal illness -- embarks on a trip for a seemingly indefinite stay at a Shamanistic resort in the jungles of Peru. With a synopsis like this,...

Tribeca 2016 Review: KICKS, Announcing An Exciting New Talent

Kicks, a film about a hapless teenager who finds himself launched into the Bay Area's violent underbelly after being jumped for his new sneakers, bristles with immediacy, excitement and urgency. It's a remarkably assured, confident movie for a debut feature...

Review: ANGEL OF NANJING, A Portrait Of Urban Loneliness

Like Japan's Aokigahara (aka "Forest of Death,") and San Francisco's Golden Gate, Nanjing's Yangtze River Bridge is famous for being the site of a disproportionate number of suicides each year. Chen Si is a man who has taken it upon...

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: 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...

Review: WELCOME TO ME, Comedy That Bleeds Into Trauma

Kristen Wiig has been enjoying a lengthy run of success since leaving Saturday Night Live in 2012. Her humor is punctuated by awkward, uncomfortable stares, or lines delivered with more weight -- loneliness, sadness, regret -- than they seem to...

Opening: WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, Recurring Dreams And Shaky Memories

Gregg Araki's latest offering, White Bird In A Blizzard, is set during the time period when Araki first began making films (1988-1991). Because of this, the sets and costumes are rendered with a loving nostalgia that never feels overly novel....

Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his...

Vancouver 2014 Review: EXIT Feels Pretty But Shallow

Chienn Hsiang's second feature, Exit, is lovely to look at, and pleasant enough to watch, but ultimately feels inconsequential. Chen Shiang-chyi stars as Lingzi, a childlike middle-aged woman finds herself alone for a few weeks while her teenaged daughter visits...