International: US & Canada Reviews

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Review: PYEWACKET, Dark and Disturbing Horror

Long-time actor Adam MacDonald has already made exciting waves as a filmmaker with just two features under his belt. 2014's Backcountry was a masterfully suspenseful woods thriller, wherein he employed a restraint that served to punctuate the film's moments of...

SXSW 2018 Review: MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS, Discovering Hidden Worlds of Sight and Sound

Music documentaries usually fall into a few limited categories, including glowing hagiographies, concert films and rise-and-fall tragedies. These categories persist, at least in part, because they provide foolproof audience-friendly templates for filmmakers to follow. Milford Graves Full Mantis goes down...

SXSW 2018 Review: THUNDER ROAD Cares

Those fortunate enough to have seen Jim Cummings' Sundance winning short film, Thunder Road (2016), won't soon forget it. Some found it hilarious, some found it awkward, some found it hilariously awkward, perhaps in the vein of human train-wrecks like...

Review: 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE, Sympathy for the Terrorist(s)

Recognizable actors always help a film to secure financing and may increase the interest of potential audiences, but they often work against the aims of a film based on real-life events. That may be especially true for films that endeavor...

SXSW 2018 Review: FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL Explores The Universal Language Of Fear

This is a golden age for the horror anthology, and perhaps no single entity has been more responsible for the recent explosion more than the producing team of Ant Timpson and Tim League. Through their high concept omnibus packages, The...

SXSW 2018 Review: OUTSIDE IN, The Struggle to Find One's Self

The work of Seattle writer-director Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister's Sister) is becoming synonymous with a certain corner of Americana: geographically the northwest of the USA, but also with middle-class (admittedly mainly white) people and their daily struggles with love,...

SXSW 2018 Review: In OPERATION ODESSA, Gangsters, Narcos and Spies Spin True-Life Tales of Mayhem

Operation Odessa, the latest title from Showtime Documentary Films, is a jaw-dropping true-crime documentary that really must be seen to be believed. There have been many great docs about the Miami underworld but Operation Odessa is surely one of the very best....

Berlinale 2018 Review: FAKE TATTOOS, Bearing the Marks of a Great Teenage Drama

Whilst not Pascal Plante's first feature film, having previously made doc La génération porn in 2014, Fake Tattoos (Les faux tatouages) is the director's first step into feature-length drama. And it's quite the first step - one that definitely carries...

Review: BLACK PANTHER, The King Has Arrived

Many people like to think that blockbuster and/or superhero movies are little more than fluff, an excuse to tap into a ready-made fan base and have some cool action scenes and colourful costumes to grab a large demographic market. But...

Sundance 2018 Review: HAL, A Great Director of the 1970s Gets His Due

The so-called “New Hollywood” of the 1970s was driven by a number of filmmakers, many of them film school trained, who broke with many established modes of production and benefited from the opportunities afforded them by the collapse of the...

Sundance 2018 Review: KUSAMA - INFINITY, Inside the Life, Work, and Mind of a Legendary Artist

Now at the age of 88, legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is currently one of the most popular and successful artists in the world. Her recent New York gallery exhibition, "Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life" - featuring her signature "Infinity...

Slamdance 2018 Review: MAN ON FIRE, One Man's Ultimate Sacrifice and a Town's Reckoning With Its Racism

On June 23, 2014, a 79-year-old Methodist minister named Charles Moore drove to a nearly deserted shopping center parking lot in his former hometown of Grand Saline, Texas, poured gasoline on himself, and set himself on fire. The note Moore...

Sundance 2018 Review: WE THE ANIMALS Marks the Poetic Battle Cry of Childhood

At it's most visceral and true, Jeremiah Zagar's narrative feature debut is about the breath, blood and life of a child artist who is beginning to hone their passion in order to understand and survive, yes, but then also to heal, to grow, and to share.

Sundance 2018 Review: MADELINE'S MADELINE Dances in the Delight and Dread of the Feminine Intuitive

Madeline's Madeline is what we mean when we talk about authentic cinema; pure cinema, brimming over with euphoria and empathy and a direct perspective of a human, both inside and out, mental and physical, that feels so complete as to be dizzying. revelatory

Sundance 2018 Review: BISBEE '17 Looks at the Past and Present from All Sides

Known for his rigorous and radical deconstructions of performance, story and truth, documentary-tinkerer Robert Greene returns to Sundance with his most panoramic work yet, a wildly audacious de/reconstruction of the horrific -- and mostly forgotten -- deportation of striking immigrant miners from the town of Bisbee, Arizona in 1917.

Slamdance 2018 Review: INGRID, A Self-Fulfilling Life

Many of us have likely had the dream of packing it all in: the modern world, the rat race, the rampant consumerism, and heading to a cabin in the woods, to get as far away from civilization as is possible...

Slamdance 2018 Review: FISH BONES, The Moments Between

Do we know the important conversations in our lives when they are happening, or only afterwards? Do we contemplate what we need to understand when we're at the crossroads, or at more seemingly mundane moments? Can we only know ourselves...

Sundance 2018 Review: YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, Masculine Trauma and Violent Retribution

Lynne Ramsay's last two films (Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin) have focused on individuals (in these cases, women,) who must contend with being the odd-person-out, someone with a secret they fear so dark and disturbing that it...

Slamdance 2018 Review: HUMAN AFFAIRS, An Intimate Drama With Panoramic, Cosmic Scope

Human Affairs is nominally about the effect of an impending surrogate birth on the childless couple involved, but its title points to its far more panoramic scope. Bracketed by decades-spanning sequences of still photographs, Human Affairs visually and thematically places its three principal characters within...

ALTERED CARBON Review: Near Faithful Adaptation of Cyberpunk Novel Entertains With Violence And Sex

In the future no one need fear death. Human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded onto cortical stacks which are plugged into new bodies, called sleeves. Takeshi Kovacs, once an elite soldier called an Envoy, imprisoned for two hundred and...