Japan Cuts 2015 Review: PIETA IN THE TOILET, A Cancer Story Told With Poetic Artistry

Pieta in the Toilet, the first fictional feature by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matsunaga Daishi, is a two-hour drama about a young man who's dying of cancer. But fortunately, this film proves to not be nearly as depressing as that description... More »
  

Review: ASSASSINATION Shoots Up A Storm With Stuffed To The Gills Spy Yarn

What has so far been a slow year for Korean cinema is about to get a huge shot of adrenaline as Assassination, the latest from Choi Dong-hoon, is set to storm the stage and usher in the high season at... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: NORTHERN LIMIT LINE Mistakes Nationalism For Narrative

Last summer gave us the nationalist call-to-arms Roaring Currents and, following its record-breaking run, this year unsurprisingly treats us to its own entree of patriotic balderdash, the melee of melodrama and jingoism that is Northern Limit Line. Going right for... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Scandinavian 2015 Review: SILENT HEART, A Tragic Chamber Piece

Silent Heart is a fast-moving character drama that all takes place over a weekend in a country home in Denmark. The home belongs to elderly couple Poul (Morten Grunwald) and Esther (Ghita Nørby), who is dying. She plans to... More »
  

Review: INTIMATE ENEMIES Marks Low-Point For Im Sang-soo

In a bid to branch out to a wider audience following the tepid critical and commercial response to 2012's The Taste of Money, director Im Sang-soo returns with the spirited but borderline incoherent action-comedy Intimate Enemies. Though desperately trying to... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE GALLOWS, Screaming, Crying, And Dying, Yet Still Recording

The latest offering from the Blumhouse Productions factory, The Gallows comes up with two new angles to explore otherwise familiar found-footage territory. First, a good portion of the footage is presented from the point of view of a very unlikable... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: THREE SUMMER NIGHT Strips Down To Bikinis And Cheap Jokes

Bikini bods, thugs and knuckleheads cross paths under the summer sun in the latest from Korean comedy maestro Kim Sang-jin. Just as chaotic as his earlier output but with less of an edge, Kim brings his trademark cause-and-effect comedy brand... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Scandinavian 2015 Review: In HERE IS HAROLD, Ikea Looms Over Blackly Comic Trauma

Here Is Harold kicked off the Scandinavian Film Festival last night in typically dour, dark and chillingly humorous style; muted comedy peaked through a very basic tale of revenge stemming from the wrong place.Harold (Bjørn Sundquist) has lost everything;... More »
  

Review: THE SILENCED Charms With Slick Thrills

Following last year's slew of male-driven thrillers, 2015 has so far been a good year for actresses in Korean cinema. Kim Hye-soo and Kim Go-eun went head to head in gangster thriller Coin Locker Girl, Seo Young-hee and Kwon So-hyun... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: SS Rajamouli's BAAHUBALI - THE BEGINNING Is A World Class Epic

The word epic gets thrown around a lot these days. Thanks to meme culture, the word has been misused and overused so often that it has lost much of its meaning. However, for a film experience like S.S. Rajamouli's Baahubali... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: THE PIPER, A Satisfyingly Grimm Fairy Tale

Step away from the city and it isn't long before you fall in with bad company or into a mystery in Korean cinema, with remote islands and mountains being among the favored haunts of the country's more macabre filmmakers. Taking... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: AMY, A Beautiful And Tragic True Story

Every so often a film will come along that redefines an entire genre of cinema. A film that excels so completely the result is any similar film gets compared to it for years to come. In 2010, Asif Kapadia did... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Review: TANGERINE Pops With Verve And Vérité

On the streets of Los Angeles sunlight seems to move differently than in most places. It blazes, arching across the sky, like a banshee spreading its wings. From behind the wheel of your car, inching forward in the hellion-marked traffic... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON Delivers More Rock, Les Blank

Although I watched the whole of A Poem is a Naked Person, I have no recollection of of that phrase being uttered. Which is unexpected, considering it's an oddly specific phrase. The keyword here is "unexpected". As a piece of... More »
By Jim Tudor   
  

Review: SELF/LESS Wants To Be Something More, Whatever That Means

No one in sound mind and body wants to die, and that includes Ben Kingsley in the new film by Tarsem Singh. The director made his feature debut with the visually-striking The Cell in 2000, which raised expectations for bizarre... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Scandinavian 2015 Review: YOUNG SOPHIE BELL, A Beguiling, Sublime Mystery

Obsession, mystery, murder and betrayal culminate in a fragile coming-of-age story unlike any other in Amanda Adolfsson's stunning Swedish debut feature Young Sophie Bell.The titular Sophie (the radiant Felice Jankell) has just graduated high school and celebrates with her 'bestie'... More »
  

New York Asian 2015 Review: IT'S ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, A Charming Romantic Travelogue

Here's the basic plotline of producer and now first-time writer-director Emily Ting's immensely charming romance It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, boiled down to its basic essence. A man and a woman meet, and (spoiler alert) fall in love over... More »
  

Munich 2015 Review: CIVIL SERVANTS Gazes Behind The Scenes Of German Police

It is the doubt we even face when we are totally committed and the way we have to erase some of your principles to find a world we can live in. Civil Servants, the first feature-length documentary by Maria Wilke... More »
  

Review: CLOSER TO GOD, Cloning With A Conscience

Turning a hot-button issue into a dramatic soap opera would be the easy way out. Skipping over the procedures and processes that would be involved, Closer to God goes directly to the creation of a clone and then asks, "What... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: CARTEL LAND, Mexico, Drugs, And The U.S. Battle

An astonishing journalistic achievement, Cartel Land captures in unprecedented ways the moral quagmire that inexorably links the consumers of drugs in the U.S. with the suppliers south of the border. What sets this film apart is the unique way... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  
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