Busan 2014 Review: WILD FLOWERS Wilts After A Bristling Start

The lives of aimless youths at the bottom of the social ladder are the focus of Wild Flowers, a bleak look into teenage destitution in the streets and back alleys of Seoul. Uncompromising in its focus and brisk in its... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, A Top Shelf Crowd Pleaser

Premiering this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, Margarita, With A Straw received standing ovations at each of its three sold-out screenings, and it is not hard to understand why. Dismissing any cliché or heavy handed sentiments, director Shonali Bose... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION Is David Lynch Meets Hong Sangsoo

Following his terrific debut Romance Joe (2011), Lee Kwang-kuk is back in Busan with A Matter of Interpretation, a breathless play on dream logic with smart plotting and a great script that proves he's no fluke, and then some. Frustrated... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: END OF WINTER Boasts Strong Cast And Subtle Mise-en-scene

Dankook University scores a New Currents competition slot at the Busan International Film Festival for the second year running with End of Winter, a controlled family drama taking place in the dead of winter. Eschewing histrionics in favour of a... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: HAN RIVER Ponders Urban Malaise in Contemporary Korea

With black and white lensing, cheerful yet destitute protagonists and the absence of a clear narrative, the philosophical vagabond film Han River, benefits from a style and focus that sets it apart from the bulk of recent Korean indie fare,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: DAUGHTER Explores The Ills Of Modern Korean Parenting

Following a pair of indulgent films that awkwardly straddled the balance between fantasy and reality, the multi-hyphenate Ku Hye-sun, a well known actress, singer and artist as well as director, returns with Daughter, her most mature work to date. An... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: WE WILL BE OK Hits Its Stride Too Late In The Game

Writers are told to write about what they know, so it stands to reason that the same rule should apply to filmmakers. As a result, many films take place within the film world and in the Korean industry this proves... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: A MIDSUMMER'S FANTASIA Effortlessly Draws You Into Its Subtle Tale

Taking place in the quiet town of Gojo in Japan, an ageing community tinged with a lingering sadness and marked by stillness, A Midsummer's Fantasia is a wistful, hopeful and nostalgic third feature by rising Korean indie auteur Jang Kunjae.... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES Is Mundanely Melancholic

A melancholic malaise permeates the incredibly subdued and softly told Second Life of Thieves, the latest feature from Malaysian director Woo Ming Jin. Set in the sweltered confines of a seaside village, the film transgresses past and present confidently. Initially... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: EDEN, An Ambitious Yet Personal Look at 90s Electronic Dance Music Scene

The other day, I saw a college kid wearing a T- shirt that said, "In school now just to be a wage slave later." I seriously considered giving the kid a hug. And I could've easily regarded it as some... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: ENTANGLED Gets Caught Up In Its Own Depressing Narrative

Following the blistering debut Fatal, a gritty rape-revenge thriller that bowed at the Busan Film Festival in 2012, Lee Don-ku returns to Busan with the disappointing family drama Entangled. Though it seeks to inspire a similar sense of shock and... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: GIFTED Takes An Interesting Turn Before Veering Off Course

Taking its cue from the common social grievances often found in Korean indie dramas, Gifted, the sophomore effort of Poongsan (2011) helmer Jung Jai-hung, examines the friction between unemployment and consumerist ambitions in modern Korea. Slight and familiar, the film... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARADISE IN SERVICE, A Classical Tearjerker

Paradise in Service is presented by Taiwanese film-maker Hou Hsiao-Hsien but it is certainly not directed by him. This classical melodrama is a much more accessible film, and although conventional, communist-war period in Taiwan is brought to vivid life thanks... More »
  

Hamburg Filmfest Review 2014: JAUJA Is A Mystic Paradise Of Fiction

If there were any remaining questions about the status of Lisandro Alonso as one of the most important and brave contemporary filmmakers, Jauja answers them all. With a star like Viggo Mortensen as a magnet for those who otherwise would... More »
  

Hamburg Filmfest 2014 Review: AUGUST WINDS Gets Your Whole Body Covered In Coca-Cola

Gabriel Mascaro's August Winds (Ventos de Agosto) is a love-dance of life and death. With a remarkable background in documentary filmmaking, the Brazilian Mascaro combines an observational nonfiction-styled movement and a poetical reflection on age, youth, flesh, and memory. There is... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: TIMBUKTU Is A Strong Condemnation Of Religious Extremism

Timbuktu, that faraway place, the end of the world, is an actual city in Northern Mali in Africa.  It was once a bustling trade town in sub-Saharan Africa and now famous for its fabulous architecture, libraries and scholars. Abderramane Sissako... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, Gregg Araki's Nostalgic, Seductive Puzzle

Gregg Araki's latest offering, White Bird In A Blizzard, is set during the time period when Araki first began making films (1988-1991). Because of this, the sets and costumes are rendered with a loving nostalgia that never feels overly novel.... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: GONE GIRL, Meticulously Crafted And Unabashedly Trashy

Gone Girl, David Fincher's latest, and New York Film Festival opener, based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn, begins with a close-up of its central married couple, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Nick is gently... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE STRANGER Delivers A Mixed Bag

Directed by Guillermo Amoedo and executive produced by Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez (who collaborated on Aftershock, The Green Inferno, and next year's home invasion thriller Knock, Knock with Keanu Reeves), The Stranger is a vampire film that doesn't scream... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: V/H/S VIRAL Catches On

V/H/S brought us stories from Ti West, Adam Wingard, Glen McQuaid, and Joe Swanberg, among others. V/H/S 2 gave us far superior films from Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto, Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sanchez, Jason Eisener, Simon Barrett, and Adam... More »
  
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