Durban 2014 Review: BETI AND AMARE Is A Bizarre Ethiopian Oddity

It is 1936 and Mussolini is on the move, the fascist leader's troops pressing into Ethiopia to increase their foothold in Africa. Fearing the worst teenaged girl Beti is sent away from the big city by her mother to live... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Durban 2014 Review: 1994 THE BLOODY MIRACLE

"The true miracle of the 1994 elections, is that they happened at all. If this was a miracle, it was a truly bloody one." John Kani, narrating for 1994 The Bloody Miracle.1994 The Bloody Miracle, a documentary three years in... More »
By Stuart Muller   
  

Durban 2014 Review: HARD TO GET Is Easy To Love

Over the past few years there has been an unmistakable sense that South Africa is a film nation on the rise and if that is, indeed, the case then its continued ascent will rest on the shoulders of bright young... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Sundance 2014 Review: FISHING WITHOUT NETS Expertly Expands the Somali Pirate Story

You'd be excused for a slight case of déjà vu when reading the description of Cutter Hodierne's feature debut Fishing Without Nets. Somali pirates have been a hot topic lately with both Danish film A Hijacking and Paul Greengrass's Tom... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Review: MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM Never Stops To Plant Its Feet

Idris Elba is a mighty fine actor, and he gives a very striking impersonation of Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. More's the pity, then, that the film, directed by Justin Chadwick, comes across as headlines dramatized from... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

TIFF 2013 Review: iNUMBER NUMBER Brings Reservoir Dogs To South Africa

Sweating men, decaying industrial wasteland and corruption of all stripes are all front and center in iNumber Number, an esoteric name for a movie that is all other respects is tight as drumskin.  Consider it Reservoir Rats, only replace Tarantino's... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: CALL ME KUCHU Sheds Light on Gays' Plight in Uganda

There hasn't been a lot of good P.R. for civil rights in Uganda in the last few years, what with its parliament's proposed legislation that would make homosexual activity punishable by death. Call Me Kuchu, a powerful documentary by first-time... More »
By Eric D. Snider   
  

Review: The Paul Walker Vehicle VEHICLE 19 Is Fast And Thoughtful

Michael Woods (Paul Walker) is eager to reconnect with his ex-wife. So eager in fact that he travels to South Africa where she works at the US embassy. As soon as he arrives he hires a car, is given the... More »
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL Subverts the Expected TEDtalk Narrative

What exactly is William and The Windmill about?  Is it the story of a resourceful and ingenious young Malawi boy who builds a windmill from available detritus using diagrams in a book so his parents have a way to... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

IFFR 2013 Review: NAIROBI HALF LIFE Entertains At High Speed

(Crime doesn't pay... but it can further your acting career!) In 2010 the International Film Festival Rotterdam dedicated an entire programme section to films from Africa, and there has been a strong African presence at the festival ever since. This... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Black Movie 2013 Review: TODAY (AUJOURD'HUI) Puts a New Spin on Dying

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE From Ikiru to The Bucket List, there are already a number of movies made about people who find out they have a short time to live. However, I can safely say... More »
By Brian Clark   
  

Review: THE PIROGUE, A Tragically Familiar Yet Well-Told Tale of a Perilous Sea Voyage

A recurring visual motif in Moussa Touré's affecting and often harrowing sea drama The Pirogue consists of a simple yet quietly commanding camera move: the scanning of faces. These are the faces of 30 men, and one woman stowaway, who... More »
  

Slamdance 2013 Review: FYNBOS Is A Brilliantly Anti-Cathartic Piece Of Cinema

A young white woman in high heels walks down a street in a black working-class neighborhood. Though clearly on edge, she walks with a purpose. She pauses at a row of trash cans. Clothes billow in the wind, threaded on... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

TIFF 2012 Review: REBELLE (War Witch) is Bloody and Compassionate

Let us start off by saying that Kim Nyugen's Rebelle, is easily the best Canadian war film ever produced.  I know, you say that there aren't many Canadian war films made outside of National Film Board documentaries and that big... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: THE AMBASSADOR, More Than a Great Documentary Stunt

(With Drafthouse Films releasing The Ambassador in New York today and in other selected U.S. cities on Friday, we revisit our review from HotDocs.) Either Mads Brügger has balls the size of grapefruits or there is mondo chicanery going on... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2012 Review: THE AMBASSADOR

Either Mads Brügger has balls the size of grapefruits or there is mondo chicanery going on in The Ambassador.  Well, it's a given that there is trickery happening, so the thing to figure out is who the trick is on: The Central... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Blu-ray Review: Shaky Cam Mayhem in Joburg With SAFE HOUSE

The CIA thriller Safe House uses a lot of sleight-of-hand in the attempt to create the illusion that there's more movie there than is actually, you know, there. Denzel Washington is along to lend the necessary gravitas to this story... More »
By Charles Webb   
  

Review: THE DICTATOR Not Altogether Great, But Still Retains Power

Here we have a fish-out-water story which transports the protagonists from their far-away homeland, to New York City. The CG may not be the best, and it plays more than a bit blue. No, I'm not talking about THE SMURFS,... More »
By Jim Tudor   
  

HotDocs 2012: THE AMBASSADOR Review

Either Mads Brügger has balls the size of grapefruits or there is mondo chicanery going on in The Ambassador.  Well, it's a given that there is trickery happening, so the thing to figure out is who the trick is on: The... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

VIVA RIVA! Review

(On the event of the Region 1 DVD release of "Viva Riva!", I present my belated review of the theatrical release.) Hailing from the District of Congo is "Viva Riva!", an unflinchingly violent gangster/crime film. One part De Palma's "Scarface",... More »
By Jim Tudor   
  
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