Berlinale 2015 Review: QUEEN OF EARTH Proves How Great Faces Look On Film

Alex Ross Perry is a more than promising young director. He courageously combines intimacy, humor and a sense for cinematic language and form. Nevertheless, his latest, Queen of Earth, is a step back for the young director in terms of maturity... More »
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: SET ME FREE Impressively Keeps It Real

(Here's someone literally begging to be taken to church...) In Kim Tae-yong's debut film Set Me Free (original Korean title Geo-in), he deals with the memories he has about one of the darkest moments in his own childhood. His parents... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: MAR Fails To Capitalize On Its Great Actors And Their Improvisational Skills

Chilean cinema, more than in any other year in the history of the Berlin Film Festival, is present and with the greatest odds to win one or two awards once the fest comes to an end. There are new films by... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: NOBODY WANTS THE NIGHT: A Beautiful But Flawed Epic

Spanish auteur Isabel Coixet (Elegy, My Life Without Me) opened Berlinale with her latest and most ambitious film to date, Nobody Wants the Night. Based on real life persons (though it was unclear whether the events actually occurred), it is... More »
  

Sundance 2015 Review: CALL ME LUCKY, Bobcat Goldthwait Documents His Mentor

I admit that when I first saw Bobcat Goldthwait on screen sometime in the 1980s, he of the Grover voice making me laugh in the second Police Academy movie, it never occurred to me that he'd be helming one... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?

She approaches the piano with a regality that's startling, her eyes piercing the crowd and her shoulders locked in an almost feline repose. She places a hand on the grand piano sat in front of her and looks out,... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: THE VISIT, A Speculative Documentary

So, the aliens have landed. Well, not really. But let's for a moment say they have. E.T.s are in town, and they're ready to talk. To whom do they converse? Who do we, collectively, send out to initiate the... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: WAR BOOK Makes For A Compelling Chamber Piece

(Thankfully a nuclear war isn't our biggest fear any more these days... or is it?) This year, the opening film of the International Film Festival Rotterdam was Tom Harper's War Book, a British drama about a governmental brainstorm session. It... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Göteborg 2015 Review: LUCIFER, An Intriguing Reimagination Of A Classic Tale

Belgian director Gust Van den Berghe concludes his triptych on the emergence of human consciousness that began with Little Baby Jesus of Flandr and continued with Blue Bird, the enticingly titled Lucifer. Speaking of consciousness, a better-suited mythological figure in the Western... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: SLOW WEST, A Deeply-Reflective Action Movie

The fact that the Western is a troubled genre is hardly news. It's gone from the most prevalent narrative film style to a far more niche set of works. Some neo-Westerns, like Star Wars or Serenity, go operatic, taking... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, Perfectly Pleasant

People, Places, Things - a dry, almost forgettable title that refers to a film much better than those adjectives strung together by commas. It's a quotidian moniker for a film that's kind of exceptional, celebrated not only because of... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: GLUCKAUF Combines Gritty Drama With Fantastic Acting

(What went down, must someday come up... right?) Looking at the map of the Netherlands, a few things stand out. The West and North are completely coastal, meaning the province of Limburg in the South-East is the most inland bit... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: The Holy Fools Are DRUNK, STONED, BRILLIANT, DEAD

To those not fortunate enough to have come of age in the 60s heyday of revolutionary freethinking, it may come as a surprise to learn that the story of National Lampoon, in many ways, is the story of the birth... More »
By Zach Gayne   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: HOMESICK Charts A Tender Symmetry Of Yearning

Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky made waves at Sundance in 2011 when her feature debut Happy Happy won the Grand Jury World Dramatic Prize. Sewitsky returned to the festival this year with her third feature, Homesick, a deconstructionist family drama which... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: THE INSEMINATOR, Banned But Not Forgotten

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section on surrealism, and one of the films playing in it was Bui Kim Quy's The Inseminator. And it took the festival a lot of trouble to get the film, as... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: Invaluable Happenings From STATION TO STATION

It consists of countless bands, playing on and off a polychromatic train as it passes through innumerable cities. But Station To Station is no rockumentary. That it often features brilliant bands playing live on a train will perhaps evoke, for some, the choo... More »
By Zach Gayne   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: THINGS OF THE AIMLESS WANDERER, A World-Class Stunner

To be absolutely mesmerized by a film, totally transfixed, is a rare happening in cinema, but should be the norm, right? Rwanda director Kivu Ruhorahoza's Things Of The Aimless Wanderer is just such a film, spectacular and ambitious in all... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: CARTEL LAND Documents A Moral Quagmire

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   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, More Clever Than You Think

The title for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is kind of appalling, a sing-song rhyming cadence that reminds of Lobo's buttery 1971 pop hit "Me And You and a Dog Named Boo". Its premise -- a young... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: ENTERTAINMENT, Seeking The Legendary Laugh To Masterful Effect

Many would say there are two distinct poles to cinema-going. There are those times when you want something warm and familiar. It's comfort food you can share with your family. Not too sweet or sour, not too heavy. And then... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  
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