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Fantasia 2018 Review: UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, Underwhelming Story, Overwhelming Cliches

David Robert Mitchell had a critical and audience hit with his second feature film, It Follows, in 2014; so much so that his third feature was readily accepted into the Cannes feature competition this year. Obstensibly a neo-noir thriller about...

Fantasia 2018 Review: MEGA TIME SQUAD, A Whipsmart Rush of Time Travel Tomfoolery

One fine day in his sleepy coastal New Zealand town, after being booted out of living in his mom's garage, petty criminal wannabe (in the local parlance, "Bogan") John, and his dopey pal Gaz, decide to screw over their boss,...

Fantasia 2018 Review: NEOMANILLA, A Ripped From The Headlines Neo-Realist Masterpiece

Young street kid Toto is in a very tough spot. His drug dealing brother is in jail, and the local meth pushers think Toto is ratting them out to get the police to secure his release. He spends the few...

Fantasia 2018 Review: PROFILE Plays A Horrific Game With Online Identity

"You would never lie to me," asks Abu Bilel Al-Britani, a hunkish and charming Jihadi recruiter for ISIS, as he skypes from with Amy Whittaker in her South London flat. But we are well into the age of online 'Catfishing,' and Amy...

Fantasia 2018 Review: COLD SKIN Never Quite Warms Up

A weather scientist, looking to escape his former life with twelve months of dutiful isolation to the Crown on the eve of World War I, is assigned to a small island in the South Atlantic, just inside the Antarctic circle....

Fantasia 2018 Review: PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE, A Disturbing Look at China's Ecosystem of Internet Celebrities

There are some frightening dynamics of China’s capital and technology sectors at play in People’s Republic Of Desire, a documentary on the YY Live streaming platform. Relatively unknown in the West (who have their own online addictions issues with Facebook,...

Fantasia 2018 Review: NIGHTMARE CINEMA, Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Grue

The time honoured Anthology film. There are no shortage of them on the festival circuit, particularly in horror-genre circles. Rarely, however, do they come with such pedigree as Nightmare Cinema. It seems Mick Garris has not entirely scratched the itch...

Fantasia 2018 Review: DANS LA BRUME Is A Crafty Survival Thriller

It is sometime in the very near future, and a strange but severe earthquake has not only knocked the power out across all of Paris. The tremor has also has released an ocean-sized toxic plume from under the city; a...

Karlovy Vary 2018 Review: DOMESTIQUE, Low-Key Chamber Drama, Spun Into Civilization Horror

An emerging Czech filmmaker displays talent and precision in claustrophobic social horror.

Karlovy Vary 2018 Review: Heartfelt Coming-of-Age JUMPMAN Collides With Political Criticism of Contemporary Russia

Russian filmmaker Ivan I. Tverdovsky criticizes the Russian system in a coming-of-age drama with a superhero bent.

Review: SIBERIA Stays Out in the Cold

Crime thrillers seem to have found new life in recent years, not least due to VOD and streaming channels needing content. Films such as I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore, Logan Lucky, Nightcrawler, and Small Crimes may...

Blu-ray Review: King Hu Makes Sword-Sharp Wuxia in DRAGON INN

Many of us approach our pop culture backwards, in a phenomenon we might well call the Simpsons effect: pop culture recycles and references older pop culture faster than we can fill in our experiences of the originals. (If you, like...

Review: SALVAGE, a Genre Exercise in Subversion

Warning: Full spoilers ahead.   “Te, kailangan ba kitang isama sa frame?” ["Sister, do I have to include you in the frame?"] Barbie (Barbie Capacio), the make-up artist, asks between screams, as she struggles to operate a camera while running...

Review: UNDER THE TREE, Where a Feud Begins

On the heels of Winter Brothers, a dramedy about alienation, brotherhood and "being loved and fucked" (read the review), comes yet another Icelandic dramedy, Under the Tree. Compared to the artist Hlynur Pálmason behind Winter Brothers, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson has...

Edinburgh 2018 Review: SAVING BRINTON Unearths Early Cinema Magic

“I like to save things, especially if it looks as if they’re too far gone,” says Michael Zars at the beginning of this documentary, and it’s soon apparent how true that statement is. Dogs, cats, plants, church steeples and ancient...

Review: SANJU, A Bollywood Bad Boy Hazy-ography

In 1993, a dozen bomb blasts rocked Bombay killing over 250 people and injuring scores of others. Over one hundred conspirators were arrested, many convicted, and some hanged in connection for this horrible tragedy, but one man's whose name came...

New York Asian 2018 Dispatch: Asian Noir in New York

Don’t tell the U.S. President, but if this edition of the NYAFF is any indication, his nation is probably running a massive trade deficit with Asia when it comes to film noir, China in particular. Here’s a quick look at...

Review: MARLINA THE MURDER IN FOUR ACTS, Come for the Feminism, Stay for the Cinematography

In making a film, any film, it is nearly essential to have an image or scene that the audience takes away with them. Think about a film you love, and get it in your mind's eye, and that is what...

Review: THE UNSEEN, a Gritty-Indie Take on the Invisible Man

In a cluttered single-wide trailer in a snow-covered, 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 live...

Blu-ray Review: EL SUR, Time, Memory, and Parents Confound in Victor Erice's Film

I last saw Spanish director Victor Erice's debut feature, The Spirit of the Beehive, about ten years ago, around the release of Pan's Labyrinth, of which it is a clear influence. I took another look at the film -- the...