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Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: DEAREST SISTER, In Touch With Inner Demons

With only her second film as director, Mattie Do takes a big step forward, both for herself as an artist and for Laos as a filmmaking community. Do broke ground with Chantaly, her debut as a filmmaker and also the...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: FAULTLESS, The Sting of a Woman

What do men know about women? According to Faultless (original title: Irréprochable), some women are beyond understanding. Directed by Sébastien Marnier, the film follows Constance (Marina Foïs) as she slinks back to her hometown in rural France after losing her...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE INVISIBLE GUEST (CONTRATIEMPO) Locks In Emotional Thrills

Locked-room mysteries don't get much more fiendish than the one at the heart of The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo), the new film by Spanish writer/director Oriol Paulo (The Body). Even better, that's just the starting point for an increasingly potent thriller....

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: RE: BORN Hails the Bloody Return of Tak Sukiguchi

Japanese action star Tak Sakiguchi makes a welcome return to the screen in this stripped-down action thriller that sees a deadly super soldier forced out of seclusion and back to his old ways of precision destruction. After a somewhat sluggish...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: BOYKA: UNDISPUTED Brings the Pain, In and Outside the Ring

Scott Adkins brings redeemed Russian MMA fighter Yuri Boyka back to the screen for the third time, delivering another helping of blistering bloody bouts of carefully choreographed carnage. Outside the ring, director Todor Chapkanov fails to complement the action with...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: The Unbearable Lightness of TONI ERDMANN

German filmmaker Maren Ade's third feature, Toni Erdmann, about an estranged father connecting with his adult daughter in increasingly unorthodox and aggravating ways, garnered glowing critical praise when it premiered in competition at Cannes this past spring. While there is...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE YOUNG OFFENDERS Elevates a Comic Tale With Fresh Honesty

Rowdy, raucous, and rude, The Young Offenders is a blast of adolescence without angst, a juvenile movie that is surprisingly cheerful, even as its young heroes straddle the thin line between criminality and, well, not being a straight-up criminal. Conor...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: A DARK SONG: The Dark, Hard Labour of Forgiveness

All deaths are hard to deal with, but I would argue there is nothing worse than losing your child (after all, a parent is not supposed to outlive their children). Certainly, when we lose a loved one of any kind,...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: ZOOLOGY, How Natasha's Tail Set Her Free

Everyone hopes that they are special and unique in some way. Whether it's a subtle uniqueness that only presents itself in being exceptional within our own little circle, or the kind of superhuman abilities that we attribute to those who...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE HIGH FRONTIER Tests the Borders of Tension

Baby, it's cold outside. The family at the heart of The High Frontier (original title: Na granicy) doesn't feel very warm toward each other, though. As the movie begins and a father and his two sons drive deeper and deeper...

Review: In BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Looks Aren't Everything

In the 21st century, how is one to present a fairy tale? There are stories ripe with opportunity to create great visual, frequently with lots of action, but the stereotyping, themes, and gender representation can be a bit tricky in...

Review: In THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Truth is stranger than fiction. In 1978, famous South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his ex-wife, actress Choi Eun-hee were kidnapped in Hong Kong by North Korean agents under order of Kim Jung-il, the future leader of North Korea. While...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, A Giallo-Infused Theatre of Bedlam

We might think that in the 21st century, with social media platforms or instant video uploads, we are at the apex of what might be called the theatricality of life in the public eye. But even if Twitter didn't exist,...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE UNTAMED: Sex and Monsters and Mexico

One of the reasons that I love fantastic genre film is that it can often find the most relevant and interesting metaphors for dealing with issues of social life, be they cultural, political, or sexual. The Untamed, which recently won...

Springbok Cinema Review: Homeward Bound With THE BOERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Richard Finn Gregory's The Boers At The End Of The World (in its native Afrikaans: Boere Op Die Aardsdrempel) was the finest South African documentary of 2015, and easily made my Springbok Cinema list of the country's best work. Following a...

Review: OPERATION AVALANCHE, Reel Emotion and the Faking of the Moon Landing

There is a lure to the film camera that is almost primal. It draws you in, ever closer, a potent combo of machine and magic. Pressed against your ear and cheek, the click-whir miracle of celluloid is god calling you...

Toronto 2016 Review: THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS Delivers All The Goods

Opening with the eponymous girl locked in a cell and counting upwards to a thousand, The Girl With All The Gifts may as well be ticking off the sheer number of zombie films that a fan of the genre is...

Toronto 2016 Review: ASURA: THE CITY OF MADNESS Unleashes Unbridled Machismo in Brooding Noir

It's a man's world in Asura: The City of Madness, and a rotten one at that. Cops, prosecutors and politicians jostle about with unbridled machismo in a noirish caricature of corruption in the latest thriller to balk at the irresponsible...

Toronto 2016 Review: YOURSELF AND YOURS Finds Hong Sang-soo in Wry and Perplexing Mood

Celebrated indie auteur Hong Sang-soo returns to Toronto with his 18th film Yourself and Yours. Once again featuring artists boozing their way through a series of eateries as they lament over their personal woes, his latest work echoes the themes...

Toronto 2016 Review: Bulgarian Drama GODLESS Depicts Moral Decay in an Eastern European Dystopia

Ralitza Petrova, an emerging filmmaker from Bulgaria, unveiled her powerful debut outing Godless recently at the Locarno Film Festival, where she ended up standing in the spotlight and holding the Golden Leopard award. She thus joined the ranks of talented...