International: US & Canada Reviews

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Review: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, Lonergan's Latest is Earnest if Predictable

The structural adventurousness of Kenneth Lonergan's film about an emotionally numb man learning to open his heart to others again is admirable. But we're too busy wading through the narrative thickets to entirely access the raw beating heart at its core.

Black Nights 2016 Review: PORTO, Love Does Not Conquer All

Call me a cynic, but I've always been skeptical of anyone who's in the first few months of dating who says that they and their partner were 'meant to be together' (maybe because at least half of those relationships end...

Black Nights 2016 Review: ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE, The Pain of a Terrible Crime

In 2012, a young medical student, Jyoti Singh, was gang-raped and brutally beaten by six men on a bus in New Delhi, later dying of her injuries. This sparked a nation-wide protest, with thousands calling on the government, and Indian...

Black Nights 2016 Review: A MONSTER CALLS, Emotional Manipulation at its Finest

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

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...

DVD Review: PHOBE: THE XENOPHOBIC EXPERIMENTS Is The Canadian Sci-Fi Classic You Never Knew You Couldn't Live Without

Erica Benedikty's Phobe: The Xenophobic Experiments is the kind of film that should not work. A high concept science-fiction action film made on a $250 budget in 1994, Phobe is a marvel of the DIY spirit that astonishingly built itself...

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...

Sitges 2016 Review: THE TRANSFIGURATION. Vampirism, Youth, and Isolation

Vampires seem uniquely suited, as a mythological figure, to examining issues of isolation and loneliness. Whether it be in the cold winters of Sweden or the sunny streets of California, the monster, with its dietary needs, limited daytime movement, and...

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

Matt Johnson's sophmore feature is a bold and inventive love letter to cinema via faux-documentary, tomfoolery and the faking of the moon landing.

Toronto 2016 Review: I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE Leaves A Ghostly Impression

When Lily, an extended care nurse in white pumps and a mustard cardigan, arrives at this grand old country house to look after its aging and infirm owner, she chides herself on the first night, 'No snooping!' However, that discipline...

Review: CAMERAPERSON, A Moving Self-Portrait Of A Veteran Cinematographer

Kirsten Johnson's career as a cinematographer is a long and accomplished one in the documentary field. She is responsible for images of countless documentaries by filmmakers such as Laura Poitras, Michael Moore, Kirby Dick and many more. Her work took...

Review: Hanks Sticks the Landing, But SULLY Fails to Soar

Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood helms this big screen reenactment of the “Miracle on the Hudson", when US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River in January 2009. Tom Hanks plays Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who...

Blu-ray Review: BLUE SUNSHINE Rises on Blu-ray from Filmcentrix

Jeff Lieberman's Blue Sunshine is a fascinating bit of drug paranoia horror from the end of the era of free love. The film has recently been recovered and restored from the original 35mm negatives discovered in 2014. It's been on...

Review: EMBERS, Fresh and Fascinating Sci-fi

When we talk about ourselves with others we often talk about impressions we have of the world, our opinions of it. But more often than not we talk about our memories. The time you fell off your bike and scrapped...

Review: INTO THE FOREST Focuses on Individuals to Superb Effect

What will we all do when the lights turn off? Wait impatiently for them to come back on, trying to maintain a normal existence and the planned future? Begin raiding other people's homes? Go off in search of some semblance...

BiFan 2016 Review: CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Takes Quirky Journey to Known Destination

There's a certain type of film that'e become prominent and popular among a lot of American indie filmmakers in recent years; I like to call it the Sundance Film (though not all have played at that festival). It's a social...

Fantasia 2016 Review: IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE Is A Talky If Slight Examination Of Western Tropes

In Sergio Leone's classic The Good The Bad And The Ugly, one of many iconic scenes involves a gunfighter sneaking up to murder Eli Wallach's Tuco in the bath-tub. The anonymous heavy lost his arm in a shootout with Tuco...

Fantasia 2016 Review: THE UNSEEN, An Exceptional Observation of Disappearance

In a cluttered single-wide trailer in a snowcovered, and anonymously dreary logging town in northern British Columbia, Bob Langmore finds himself disappearing. That it not to say that running away from his wife and daughter almost a decade ago to...

Neuchâtel 2016 Review: Jonas Cuarón Crafts a Savage Manhunt in DESIERTO

Having learned a few tricks working on his father’s multi-award winning space thriller Gravity, Jonas Cuarón brings the action down to earth to craft a similarly intense tale of human survival. The idea of putting up a wall between Mexico...

Review: HOW TO BUILD A TIME MACHINE Is A Graceful Look At Two Interesting Men And What Inspires Them

The famous Serenity Prayer of american theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is as follows:  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Jay...