Review: Dutch Skate-boarding Doc ZOMBIE: THE RESURRECTION OF TIM ZOM Grinds Deeper Than The Surface

(Dude, who scratched my car?) In the past, the International Film Festival Rotterdam was sometimes chided for not having much locally-made content in its program, being maybe a bit TOO international for its own good. Recent editions have remedied that... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Jeonju 2014 Review: Grand and Mysterious, THE AVIAN KIND Soars

A great many gems have emerged from the Korean independent scene of late, but some worry that the milieu lacks the unique voices that it used to cultivate 10 to 15 years ago. Director Shin Yeon-shick may already be on... More »
  

Jeonju 2014 Review: Meditative POHANG HARBOR Doesn't Quite Connect

In a country with so many hardships out in the open and an unspoken swell of pain swirling just beneath the surface, there needs to be a release valve for the frustrations of ordinary citizens. In Korea, that role is... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: MY PRETEND GIRLFRIEND Unfurls A Quietly Heartbreaking Tale Of First Love

Known for his great contributions to the world of Japanese commercials, Yakumo Saiji has finally decided to venture into feature-length filmmaking, and for the world premiere of his debut, he chose the Udine Far East Film Festival. Seeing that the... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: MAY WE CHAT Is A Dynamic, Dark Youth Drama Bolstered By Three Great Performances

Emphasized by sugary and excessively colorful visuals, the beginning of Philip Young's May We Chat epitomizes everything that's most shallow about contemporary youth culture. Teenagers consciously trapped in a virtual realm take pictures of shoes, food, themselves, and communicate via... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: THE SNOW WHITE MURDER CASE Gives A Stunning New Angle To Familiar Thriller Formula

A young and beautiful office lady has been brutally murdered in a national park near Tokyo. With no suspects in sight, the mysterious case seems to be barely moving forward, until an ambitious, ramen-loving journalist seeking publicity starts throwing accusations... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: THE JOURNEY, A Feel-Good Road Film About The Ups And Downs Of Cross-Cultural Relationships

Given its heartwarming appeal and universally applicable message about cross-cultural relationships, from the western point of view it's not really hard to see why Chiu Keng Guan's The Journey has become Malaysia's highest grossing domestic picture of all time. Considering... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: BLACK COAL, THIN ICE Is A Cold, Compelling Crime Drama

This year's surprise Golden Bear winner at Berlin is a bleak, yet engrossing whodunnit set in the wintry climes of Northern China.For his third feature film, writer-director Diao Yinan (Uniform, Night Train) evokes both Hollywood procedurals and European arthouse cinema... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: SWEET ALIBIS, An Uneven But Wacky Taiwanese Genre Film

After recovering from a depression that lasted for over 10 years Taiwanese cinema is gradually gaining recognition, mostly due to the rising popularity of its many touching dramas and promising independent productions. That said, such specific, if wacky, genre mixtures... More »
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: LOVE AND TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE

In a sparse corner of Nebraska, as far as possible from the state's cities of Lincoln and Omaha, sits the high-elevation prairie town of Chadron, population 5600.  The town, described as 'politely hanging on' after peaking somewhere in the 19th... More »
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: THE GREEN GIRL Reveals Prolific Actress, Director, And Aviator Susan Oliver

Proving in its own way that most actors of a certain era ended their careers with a guest spot on Murder, She Wrote before quietly going into obscurity, The Green Girl presents its sexy Star Trek hook, that of the... More »
  

Tribeca 2014 Review: MISCONCEPTION Challenges What You Think You Know About Overpopulation

Jessica Yu has created some of the finest and most formally innovative documentaries of the past decade, such as In the Realms of the Unreal (2004) and Protagonist (2007). Her latest film Misconception, which recently had its world premiere at... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: Girl-Powered GIRL'S BLOOD Mixes Violence And Nudity In A Strangely Mesmerizing Manner

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed that such a film actually exists. What's more, I'm now practically sure that underground cat-fighting clubs such as Girl's Blood can be found not only in Roppongi, but also in some... More »
  

Newport Beach 2014 Review: THIS LAST LONELY PLACE, A Fine Tuned, Pitch Dark Noir

Picture it: The gun in the lap of a beautiful dame. A once powerful man hounded by the shadows of his triumphs. The cabbie with a kind heart and worn eyes. A fresh start. That last trick. The final score.... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: BE MY BABY, One Hitoshi's Penetrating And Brutally Honest Drama

Definitely the biggest surprise of the second day of this year's Udine Far East Film Festival was One Hitoshi's brutally realistic, dialogue-heavy drama Be My Baby. Shot and edited on a miniscule budget, One's sophomore feature examines the lives of... More »
  

Udine 2014 Review: TINY TIMES Is A Flashy, Slight Shanghai Rom-Com

Chinese emerging young designers are quietly but forcibly taking the fashion world by storm, and in recent years Shanghai has become the "it" place for all ambitious individuals who want to contribute to this all-over impressive movement.Set against the backdrop... More »
  

Tribeca 2014 Review: ICE POISON, A Mesmerizing, Stark Depiction of Drugs and Poverty in Burma

Grinding poverty and severely restricted life and economic choices push two impoverished denizens of Myanmar into drug dealing, and using, with predictably dire consequences in Midi Z's strong, stylistically assured third feature Ice Poison. As in his previous features Return... More »
  

Hot Docs 2014 Review: THE DARKSIDE Upholds the Tradition of Oral History

I learned a new phrase while watching spiritual Australian documentary The Darkside.  To take a 'stickybeak' is to pry around the premises and ask uncomfortable questions. A lady uses this phrase while talking about an Ouija board her and her... More »
  

Tribeca 2014 Review: LAND HO! Takes Us On An Immensely Charming Icelandic Road Trip

The wonderfully freewheeling, peripatetic road movie Land Ho!, spanning the vast, rich Icelandic landscape, marks the first collaboration between two talented independent filmmakers: Martha Stephens (Passenger Pigeons, Pilgrim Song) and Aaron Katz (Dance Party USA, Quiet City, Cold Weather). Together, they... More »
  

Tribeca 2014 Review: TIME IS ILLMATIC, An Illuminating Look Back at the Creation of a Hip-Hop Classic

This year's Tribeca Film Festival got off to a rousing start with the screening (and accompanying concert by its subject) of Time is Illmatic, a documentary by multimedia artist One9 about the making of Nas' immensely influential 1994 debut album... More »
  
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