Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: OTTAAL, A Boy Trapped In The Cage Of Destiny

  Jayaraj's Malayalam language feature Ottaal (The Trap) begins with a boy writing a Christmas letter to his grandfather. Kuttappayi, the boy in question, writes this letter in the dark, obviously past his own bedtime and in secret. His miserable... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Diagonale Review 2016: THE DREAMED ONES, A Film Of Gently Brutal Nuances

As fragile and trembling as it is delicately clear, Ruth Beckermann's The Dreamed Ones revolves around a young woman (musical artist Anja Plaschg) and a young man (Laurence Rupp) reading part of the nearly two decades lasting correspondence between the... More »
By Ioana Florescu   
  

Review: AN Advises Everyone A Hearty Carpe Diem

(When life hands you lemons, make sweet red bean paste!) Japanese director Kawase Naomi's film An (also known in some territories as Sweet Red Bean Paste) played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam this February, where it turned out to... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: PET Stirs Up Emotions That Are Not Easily Caged

A woman is locked in a cage by a man who wants to change her. That's both a metaphor for too many modern relationships and the premise of a new film by director Carles Torrens (Apartment 143). Seth (Dominic Monaghan),... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, He Doth Protest Too Much

"There is a savage beast in every man," wrote George R.R. Martin in A Storm of Swords, and American teenager John Wayne Cleaver has taken those words to heart. John (Max Records) lives in a small, cold town in the... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: WAR ON EVERYONE, Glorious, Riotous Fun

Within its first 10 minutes, War on Everyone smashes at least two dozen stereotypes familiar to anyone who has ever watched a cop movie made by a Hollywood studio, doing so in a rollicking and hilarious fashion. It's a barrage... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: GOODNIGHT BROOKLYN - THE STORY OF DEATH BY AUDIO, Bittersweet And Rightfully Angry

A bittersweet memoir of a independent music venue that proved to be much more than a place for bands to play their music as loudly as possible, Goodnight Brookyn - The Story of Death By Audio is also a screed... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: AMERICAN FABLE Teems With Brilliance

In 1982, Reagan's America looked pretty darn convincing ... on television ... if you were 11 years old. But for hundreds of farmers across the heartland of the U.S.A., times were desperate. They were losing their farms, their homes, their... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: JOHNNY FRANK GARRETT'S LAST WORD, When Capital Punishment Is Not Enough

In October 1981, Sister Tadea Benz, a 76-year-old nun, was raped, strangled, beaten and stabbed to death. Johnny Frank Garrett, age 17 at the time the crimes were committed, was later convicted. He was executed in February 1992, one of... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: In A STRAY, Refugees Are Not Left Behind

"You don't have to live like a refugee," Tom Petty sang in 1979. The musician was reacting to the pressures of the music business when he wrote the lyrics, he said later, but the song has resonated for years because... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: TEENAGE COCKTAIL, A Potent Mix Of Love, Lust, And Something More

Ah, young love! Unexplored emotions come tumbling together, and every thought feels awkward. The gestures are fumbling, tentative, and clumsy: Where do I put my hand? Is it OK if I do ... that? Far more than a straightforward teen... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: DON'T BREATHE, A Home Invasion With Wild Abandon

A muscular thriller, Don't Breathe manhandles a vaguely familiar premise into a fresh, frenzied experience. Directed by Fede Alvarez (2013's Evil Dead, pictured above), the setup is brisk. Three Detroit teenagers (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette, Daniel Zovatto) have made an... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: KARAOKE CRAZIES Kills It

In Korea, few things are more important than karaoke. With thousands of karaoke bars, open all hours, littering every corner of the country, it's an activity that reaches every part of society, servicing hoards of stressed salary workers, bored teenagers... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: BANG! THE BERT BERNS STORY Remembers A Forgotten Legend

In recent years, several documentaries have explored the mythical world of popular music in the 1960s, including Morgan Neville's Twenty Feet From Stardom (about backup singers) and Denny Tedesco's The Wrecking Crew (about session musicians). Now comes Bang: The Bert... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2016 Review: THE SLIPPERS Reveals Unexpected Hollywood Treasures

The shoes in questions were made for Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, but the true, fascinating, ever more complex world of The Slippers begins in earnest after she took them off. Granted, the new documentary by Morgan White... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: ALTES GELD Is Deliciously Devious

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section dedicated to television series. In it, you could see episode-collections shown as films, and films that are soon to become adapted as television series. But one of the most spectacular... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: AAAAAAAAH! Makes You Go Eeeeeeeeh!

(Or: welcome to the planet of the apes, where the apes are us.) Ben Wheatley's film High Rise is currently making waves and shocking people in its theatrical run, with its bleak story of societies happily degenerating into animal behavior.... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Glasgow FrightFest 2016 Review: PANDEMIC, A Bleak If Derivative Viral Apocalypse

"Just try to think of it as a game. It'll help." This is the unnamed Gunner (Mekhi Phifer) speaking to his unit's new doctor Lauren Chase (Rachel Nichols), as he describes the best mental attitude to adopt while beating people from their moving... More »
By Anton Bitel   
  

Glasgow FrightFest 2016 Review: ANGUISH Is Two Films In One Body

A mother Sarah (Karina Logue) and her teenaged daughter Lucy (Amberley Gridley) are out driving. "It's not fair!" complains Lucy, upset about the boundaries being imposed on her adolescent conduct. This leads Sarah to cite the traditional saying amongst the... More »
By Anton Bitel   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: CHEVALIER Shows The Ultimate Dick-measuring Contest

Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari is seen as an important part of the current Greek "Weird Wave" of cinema. She produced several of Yorgos Lanthimos' films like Dogtooth, and he helped produce (and acted in) her previous film Attenberg. But... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  
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