Slamdance 2016 Review: IF THERE'S A HELL BELOW Offers Prime Post-Snowden Intrigue

Nathan Williams' debut feature steps onto the independent film stage with the calm, steady aim of a confident marksman ready to make the shot. A meticulously crafted tale of government secrets and whistle blowers in a post Edward Snowden world,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: SPA NIGHT, A Quietly Striking And Mature Debut

Much like its lead, articulation has failed me in the days since watching and processing Andrew Ahn's glorious Spa Night. The film presents itself with such ease and confidence that its easy to miss its complexities at first glance. A... More »
  

Sundance 2016 Review: THE FITS, Or Maybe All Girls Are Magic

What makes a black girl fly? Is it her magic-- the frightful inheritance of her sex? Or is it illusory? (the shape of their hips in blue and gold sequins...) What makes a black girl fly? Is it her fear... More »
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: HISTORY'S FUTURE, A Shower Of Innumerable Atoms

There are few film festivals that manage to be as bold a stage for daring types of film as International Film Festival Rotterdam, and sometimes it almost feels as if there's something hard-wired into that city's forward-looking architecture that compels... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: LOWLIFE LOVE Is Crafty, Filthy And Bitter

In Uchida Eiji's new film Lowlife Love, we get a nasty peek at the underbelly of the Japanese independent film scene. These are not the indies with a low budget, these are the indies with no budget, often made by... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Sundance 2016 Review: GLEASON Is An Emotional Triumph

Clay Tweel has been involved in some of the most entertaining documentaries in recent years including his producing role in The King of Kong, right up through his directing turn on both Print the Legend and last year's brilliantly witty... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: EXCURSIONS, The Best Worst Trip

Sometimes you just have to get away. Far, far away. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. And sometimes those trees seem to get to talking to you. Fuck. Filmmakers Daniel Martinico & Hugo Armstrong came to Slamdance... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

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   
  
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