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Review: In Zhang Yimou's THE GREAT WALL, Matt Damon Saves the World

I've seen sillier attempts at blockbuster fantasy films than Zhang Yimou's latest, The Great Wall, but I must admit it's been a while. The director, one of China's most respected visual artists after his stunning work on crossover hit wu...

Review: THE COMEDIAN, Not Very Funny Despite Its Title

There is a very fine performance embedded in Taylor Hackford’s otherwise enervating, overlong, patience-trying, and not very funny film The Comedian. However, that performance is not delivered by the putative headliner, Robert De Niro. He plays Jackie Burke, a comic who once starred in a...

Review: THE TAKE, Terrorism As Background for a Buddy Action Movie

British filmmaker James Watkins previously helmed Eden Lake and The Woman in Black, horror thrillers that may not have been completely successful but were certainly above average accomplishments. So the idea of him directing a straight action flick sounded intriguing....

Review: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE Just Might Save the DC Cinematic Universe

Following a string of direct-to-video animated outings for DC characters in LEGO form, themselves spawned from a series of successful video games, Batman appeared in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 2014 smash hit The LEGO Movie and promptly stole the show....

Rotterdam 2017 Review: STILL NIGHT, STILL LIGHT (MES NUITS FERONT ÉCHO), A Dreamy, Daring Debut

One of the reasons we watch films is to see if we can unearth something of ourselves in others' work. In this way it is a search for kindred spirits across strange and distant lands that fall so close to...

Slamdance 2017 Review: Psychedelic Fun and Cosmic Questions Abound in AUTOMATIC AT SEA

After his satire on the utopia of Gen Y, The Woods, Matthew Lessner returns with a new feature, Automatic at Sea, a psychedelic chamber piece with flair.   A boy meets a girl. The boy invites the girl to his...

Slamdance 2017 Review: DIM THE FLUORESCENTS, Work is Theater

In the tradition of films that pull back the curtain on the inner workings of showbiz, writer/director Daniel Warth’s Dim The Fluorescents shows us the ins and outs of… corporate training seminars. It’s not the most exciting place to be,...

Slamdance 2017 Review: DAVE MADE A MAZE With Entertaining Traps

With its explosion of creativity, its thrilling concept and its lovely characters, Dave Made A Maze is a fine example of how a creative team can overcome the restrains of a tight budget to offer a fun ride.

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 Review: 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: 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...

Review: SILENCE Demands Respect and Inspires Debate

An impressively devout expression of religious faith that seeks to answer some of mankind's most pressing questions, Silence demands respect and inspires debate, all while displaying the absolute command of master filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Now 74, Scorsese has reportedly desired...

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...