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   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: WE ARE NEVER ALONE Delivers A Powerful, Harrowing And Way Too Vivid Parable

Petr Václav, the Czech filmmaker living and working in France, returns to the theme of racial discrimination already addressed in his feature debut Marian (1996). Prejudice based on race persists as a hot topic in the Czech Republic, attracting ever... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: GENIUS Proves That Not All Talent Translates

Elvis Costello famously quipped, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture", and while I hardly agree with the overall sentiment -- if I did, I wouldn't exactly be doing this -- his point is well taken. Success in... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: YOU'LL NEVER BE ALONE, A Smart Chilean Debut

There perhaps hasn't been that many films to blow your socks off at Berlinale so far this year, but Alex Anwandter's You'll Never Be Alone could well be the first. Definitely proving to be yet another example of how great contemporary South... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: First, SOY NERO Dazzles, Then It Disappoints

How important is a single shot? Not a sequence, nor an edit. Can a solitary, unbroken shot make or break a film? Can it upend one's total reception of a work? Because there is a shot at the very beginning... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: A GOOD AMERICAN Damns The Worst Of America

Austrian director Friedrich Moser is a self-confessed fan of spy stories, so it's not surprising he made a documentary about the NSA's former meta-data expert Bill Binney. Titled A Good American, the film played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: ALOYS Exhalts In Glorious Madness

Tobias Nölle's engrossing tale of a highly distinctive Swiss private eye called Aloys is perhaps the first film of 2016 which has truly made me get excited and want to start bouncing off the walls like an excessively caffeinated critic.... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: CROSSCURRENT Channels The Poetry Of Confusion

Yang Chao's tale of two lovers woven into the meandering course of the epic Yangtze river is sadly the only Chinese-language film to feature in Berlinale's main competition this year, seeing it follow in the footsteps of Black Coal, Thin... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: BADEN BADEN, A Promising Yet Frustrating Debut

An amiably aimless jaunt set in the French city of Strasbourg (and not the German spa town of its title) Baden Baden has much in common with its main character, an amiably aimless misfit just coasting through life. Both main... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: THINGS TO COME Artfully Tells A Tale As Old As Time

Everything new is old again (or is it the other way around?) in Mia Hansen-Love's elegant and understated take on the cycles of life, Things To Come. With an astute eye and a sensitive-if-hardly-mushy script, Hansen-Love lets us know... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Produces A Bewitching Sci-Fi Oddity

If there's one thing you've got to give to the American film and TV industry, it's that they're damn good at opening sequences, and Jeff Nichols' latest sci-fi thriller Midnight Special is no exception. Reuniting once again with frequent collaborator Michael Shannon, this... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: FUOCOAMMARE Breaks The Wave Of Migration Documentaries

Given how long it takes to finance and make a film, you could argue that the film industry's collective consciousness has responded pretty quickly to the migration crisis which has unfolded in recent years, and Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare is a moving example... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: THE BACCHUS LADY Gracefully Explores Bounty of Taboo Subjects

Veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung, star of such classics as Kim Ki-young's Woman on Fire (1971) and The Insect Woman (1972), takes on perhaps her boldest role yet in The Bacchus Lady. Directed by E J-yong, appearing in the Berlinale program... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: THE WORLD OF US, A Complex And Compelling Children's Tale

Following the enormous promise shown in her terrific shorts Guest (2011) and Sprout (2013), director Yoon Ga-eun delivers in spades with her feature-length debut The World of Us, a beautiful look at the undulating friendships and rivalries between a trio... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  
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