Slamdance 2016 Review: EMBERS, Fresh And Fascinating Sci-Fi

When we talk about ourselves we are building the conversation off a varied, often strange and impressionistic collection of moments stored over the culminating years of our lives. When we talk about ourselves, we talk about our memories. The time... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: DARK NIGHT, Scenes From The New American Apocalypse

Close your eyes. Picture the scenes:

You gotta keep your head down. She runs hers hands through your hair; it must feel like walking barefoot on freshly cut grass, it's so short. The burnt orange dye bleeds into your scalp. You... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, An Adventure Worth Taking

Taika Waititi can do no wrong. From his wonderful short films to his features, and through his work on the hilarious TV show Flight of the Conchords, all of his efforts have been pitch perfect. Yet because of his last... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: NEWTOWN, A Simple Tale Of Universal Grief

The horror of what took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook elementary school captured the world's attention. A young man, armed with an assault rifle, handgun and plenty of ammunition, walked through his old school and butchered... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DRIFTWOOD, On The Strange Life Of Objects

Against the onslaught of the crashing surf we arise into a world of soft, foaming white. From a distance, we can make out an approaching figure. Soon we see it's a she, a young woman, soaked to the bone, shivering... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: CHRISTINE, A Report On The Art Of Self-Destruction

Performance>Perfection>Breakdown.

No. That's not right. Run the film again. What do we see: A woman in her late twenties, dark hair, big eyes, tall; walking down the halls of a TV station. Take the splicer to the footage. Chop it in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: EAT THAT QUESTION: FRANK ZAPPA IN HIS OWN WORDS, A Highly Entertaining Look

It was somewhat startling to me when I lived in Europe several decades ago that the catchy, upbeat tune "Bobby Brown" would be played regularly on radio. Sure, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it,... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: THE GREASY STRANGLER, Absolutely Disgusting, Yet Strangely Funny

The weird and disgusting genre has always had a home in the midnight film lineup. Enter Jim Hosking and his go at taking over the throne as weirdest and most disgusting midnighter with The Greasy Strangler. Well, good work, Mr.... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: SWISS ARMY MAN Is Surprisingly Glorious

What do you want from the world of independent cinema? Well, ideally you'd like a story told without the overt constraints of market, where filmmakers can tell a tale to a wide enough audience that appreciates without sacrificing to... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: OPERATION AVALANCHE, For The Love Of Cinema

There is a lure to the film camera that is almost primal. It draws you in, ever closer, a potent combo of machine and magic. Pressed against your ear, your cheek, the click-whir miracle of celluloid is god calling you... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DEAD HANDS DIG DEEP Only Scratches The Surface

There is much within Jai Love's Dead Hands Dig Deep (which premiered at Slamdance 2016 tonight) that is meant to shock us --- from footage of genitals and other body parts being pierced with screws and bolts, to a flap of skin... More »
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: MAD Finds The Humor In Sadness

Robert G. Putka has built up a smart and sharp filmography of shorts over the last half decade, emphasizing rich, rude and raw performances, deriving his drama and comedy with character first. MAD, his feature debut, is as charming as... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU, No Better Tribute

Few people have changed popular culture more than Norman Lear. When Television was at its height he provided a much needed jolt, giving audiences not what they asked for but what they required. His comedies were dramatic, crafting more... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: SKY LADDER: THE ART OF CAI GUO-QIANG Enthralls

Ever since I was a kid I was enthralled with fireworks. There's something completely primal about seeing fire at the best of times, but the kinetic, colourful explosions of a firework show tickles me on a deep and fundamental... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: DAWN, A Surreal Image Of Soviet Life

Tales of mythic figures, particularly those whose myth is perpetuated by governments, are ripe fodder for film. This can be especially interesting if someone like myself is ignorant of said mythic figure. Such is the case with Dawn, Laila Pakalnina's... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: THE AUTOMATIC HATE, Blood Is Not Thicker Than Water

Not all families are good or well-adjusted; there are often rifts (reasonable or not) between parents and children, siblings, cousins. Some of us might find out about skeletons in a closet, and sometimes those skeletons are best left undisturbed. In Justin... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: LOEV, Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Same-sex activity is illegal in India, punishable by imprisonment. The release there of Deepa Mehta's film Fire, about a love affair between two women, incited violent protests in 1998. So the fact that Sudhanshu Saria's debut feature Loev was made... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: THANK YOU FOR BOMBING Shines a Critical Light on War Reporting

War correspondants can be mythic figures, something of romantic heroes. They go to dangerous places in order to bring us the truth. It's been said that it was the reporter's stories that helped begin protests against the Vietnam War; although... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: BODY, The Connection Between Flesh and Spirit

Malgorzata Szumowska's previous films (Elles, In the Name Of) have looked at the conflict between mind and body, in a darkly serious tone. In her latest film Body (which won the Silver Bear for Best Director at Berlinale), she again... More »
  

Five Flavours 2015 Review: CROCODILE Drifts Through Arresting Yet Ponderous Poverty

Fable and reality mingle in Francis Xavier Pasion's Crocodile, a film riddled with beautiful imagery and terrible poverty. Based on real events and bookended by documentary footage of the story's real protagonists, the unique, swampy landscape of the Agusan Marsh... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  
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