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Slamdance 2017 Review: Laugh At Awful People in NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVE

Neighborhood Food Drive’s synopsis should be a clue as to what kind of film it is: “Awful idiots fail at throwing a party over and over”. Director Jerzy Rose definitely wasn’t out to make a feel-good comedy with those emotional...

Slamdance 2017: WEXFORD PLAZA, A Small Slice Of Real Life

Wexford Plaza plays out its story on a small and intimate scale, a picture of suburban life which probably repeats itself in many an abandoned strip mall. Joyce Wong didn't feel the need to go big, and this affecting little slice of life is all the better for it.

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.

Review: DETOUR, Christopher Smith's Mind and Time-Bending Neo Noir

Christopher Smith's neo-noir thriller, Detour, should keep audiences guessing until the end

Review: THE RED TURTLE, Gorgeous and Seriously Emotional

Human emotions can be fragile, unpredictable things. However, they can sometimes also be pretty damned predictable. Show someone a kitten and they'll feel an emotional pang. Show a human going through the stages of life from youth to life's logical...

Review: XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE Is Legitimately Expendable

Vin Diesel resurrects extreme sports secret agent Xander Cage for this belated third entry in the xXx franchise, 12 years after Ice Cube last carried the torch for counter-culture covert operatives. Boasting a large international ensemble and a globe-trotting espionage...

Review: In SPLIT, M. Night Channels His Best Uncanny Work Through James McAvoy

Split has it both ways; it is a film that creatively capitalizes on the thriller genre, and an excellent example of the quality and innovation the much-maligned director was initially lauded for. Through directing epic-scale flops (The Last Airbender), smaller...

Blu-ray Review: Fassbinder's FOX AND HIS FRIENDS Cuts Just As Deep 40 Years Later

Rainer Wener Fassbinder has always been an artist I've respected by reputation, rather than through a deep knowledge or understanding of his work. In fact, I've only see a handful of Fassbinder films and I will admit to tapping out...

Review: WE ARE THE FLESH, A Paean to Liberty, Designed as a Fairy-tale for Adults

Emiliano Rocha Minter, a 26-year-old budding filmmaker from Mexico, emerged with his feature debut at International Film Festival Rotterdam early in 2016, finished only a couple of days before landing in Netherlands. It wasn't his first visit to Rotterdam, though....

Review: RAILROAD TIGERS, Jackie Chan vs. Japanese Invaders

Jackie Chan last found success in Hollywood by mentoring young Jaden Smith in a remake of the surprisingly decent The Karate Kid. That was more than six years ago. Since then, Chan has rarely been seen in North American theaters....

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Enshrines Ousmane Sembène's BLACK GIRL

After years of having it on my watchlist, I caught up with Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène's Moolaadé last year and enjoyed it a great deal, leaving me hungry for more. The Criterion Collection has conveniently sailed in to quench the...

Blu-ray Review: A MAN CALLED OVE, A Grumpy Old Man Who's More Than That

I laughed, I cried, I cheered. Granted, I'm just an old sap, and Hannes Holmes' big- screen adaptation of Fredrik Backman's popular novel En man som heter Ove -- out today on Blu-ray and DVD from Music Box Films --...

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Goes Far With FEDERICO FELLINI'S ROMA

When it comes to Federico Fellini's Roma, it's difficult to determine what's more self-indulgent, the act of appropriating by name a vital, ancient city that's been on the global forefront of politics, religion and culture, or this entire film in...

Review: DANGAL, A Familiar Tale, Told With Bollywood Flair

I've been interrogated about my love-stroke-obsession with Indian cinema ever since I began writing about it on these pages a little over six years ago. I'm not Indian, before this summer I had never been to India, and I didn't...

Review: TONI ERDMANN, Truly Fascinating, Immersive and Undoubtedly Great

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

Review: A MONSTER CALLS Goes Through the Motions

You might be able to argue that J.A. Bayona is not the most original filmmaker currently working today, but there is no denying that he has a masterful understanding of how to direct a film that will grab (almost) all...

Review: JULIETA Abandons the Drama for the Mellow

Alfred Hitchcock once said, 'Drama is life with the dull bits cut out'. To twist that a bit, Pedro Almodóvar's new feature film Julieta is a slice of life with the drama cut out. The story of one woman's journey...

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...

Review: NERUDA, Playful, Poetic Filmmaking

Treading boundaries of reality in a free form that is unquestionably cinematic, director Pablo Larrain achieves something very special with Neruda. It's a beautifully crafted film that feels completely effortless and airy. It is clever, playful and fluid yet not too showy, emotionally resonant yet not corny. It's a political treatise, yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. But it doesn't make light of the persecution and people's suffering either. Neruda is a great achievement in the cinematic art form.

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...