Review: STONES FOR THE RAMPART Is A Serviceable Ode To Young War Heroes

There are two conflicting perspectives on how to approach Robert Glinski's Stones for the Rampart (Kamienie na szaniec). The first, and the more advisable one, makes the viewing experience increasingly pleasurable. It's based on an assumption that the forenamed film... More »
  

SXSW 2014 Review: OPEN WINDOWS Never Shuts Down Its Thrill Ride

Early on in Open Windows, Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo invites easy comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, but then, pardon the expression, he throws them out the window. What begins as an homage quickly morphs into a thriller with its... More »
  

Review: THE UNI (Vejška) Awkwardly Balances Generational Manifesto And Capitalist Fairy-tale

In 2007, Czech director Tomáš Vorel sr. made a film called The Can, an adaption of the book Graffiti Rules. As the name of the source material suggests, the main motif was graffiti and hip hop subculture, something that... More »
  

SXSW 2014 Review: WETLANDS Paints An Excitingly Vulgar Picture

When a film begins with a teenage girl deliberately smearing her genitals all over an especially disgusting public toilet seat, you pretty much have an idea what you're in for. Wetlands, director David Wnendt's sophomore feature after the award winning Nazi... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: IN FEAR Takes A White-Knuckle Ride On A Dark Night

New couple Tom and Lucy are on their way to a music festival, to meet up with friends, camp, and explore their new relationship, when things go terribly awry. In Fear opens with Lucy in the loo of a pub,... More »
  

Review: HONEY, A Beautifully Nuanced Directorial Debut From Actress Valeria Golino

Irene (Jasmine Trinca) lives alone by the ocean and has a peculiar job -- assisting deaths in terminally ill patients and their families by observing and providing poison used in putting down sick pets. Assisted suicide is a taboo subject... More »
  

Review: Emotional Drama LOVING Searches For Truth About The Mechanics Of Love

In an impassioned and perceptive manner, Loving (Milosc) breaks down the essence of a marriage on the verge of collapse. The sharply-written script goes beyond the surface in order to expose all the ingredients crucial for the formation and further development of... More »
  

Review: AMBASSADA Has An Extremely Poor Sense Of Humor

Apparently, after all those magnificent years of creating hilarious, crowd-pleasing comedies Juliusz Machulski (Vabank, Sexmission, Kiler) has finally lost his comedic touch. His oeuvre is like an almost never-ending bag of laugh-inducing creations and a source of great joy, mostly... More »
  

Review: THE DARK VALLEY Is As American As Austria Can Get

In Andreas Prochaska's Austrian Neo-Western about an enigmatic horseman who comes to a remote Austrian village in a deserted valley everything looks like a big Hollywood production with stunning production design, costumes and make-up. The Dark Valley is then an... More »
  

Review: STALINGRAD Offers Massive Visual Spectacle But Little Else

Its US release coming on the heels of the just-wrapped Sochi Olympics, where Russia presented a noble image of itself for both domestic and international consumption, the Russian war film Stalingrad seeks to do much the same in cinematic terms. It... More »
  

Review: TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT Boldly Exposes The Dark Side Of Police Work

Though still on the verge of being Poland's new voice of morality, Wojciech Smarzowski (The Wedding, The Dark House) has undoubtedly found a very convincing way of exposing the country's greatest and most frustrating absurdities. Never far from controversy, Smarzowski's unflinching... More »
  

Rotterdam 2014 Review: JACKY IN THE KINGDOM OF WOMEN Is Absurd, Rude And Very Funny

(Just imagine: what if Charlotte Gainsbourg had played a nymphomaniac in THIS film..!) One of the prizes to be won at the international Film Festival Rotterdam is the MovieZone Award, aimed at films which impressed the younger part of the... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2014 Review: THE CREATOR OF THE JUNGLE Stuns With Its Subject

(If Tarzan had had a handyman, his name should have been Garrell...) Documentaries are an interesting sub-category within films, because their "watchability" can be entirely caused by coincidence, if the director is lucky enough. Jordi Morató didn't need either luck... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: JACK STRONG, A Full-Bodied And Suspenseful Spy Thriller

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.- Winston Churchill  Wladyslaw Pasikowski's Jack Strong tells the gripping true story of colonel Ryszard Kuklinski (Marcin Dorocinski), one of the most controversial figures... More »
  

Review: BLACK OUT Sparkles In A Darkly Comic Criminal Vein

Is there anything more annoying than waking up in the morning to discover a gun -- and a bloody corpse -- in bed with you? On the day before your wedding? It's very tempting to describe Arne Toonen's Black Out... More »
  

Review: CHILD'S POSE Looks At Mommy Love

Winner of a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and Romania's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this year's Oscar, Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose is a riveting family drama spiked with some sharp social commentary that... More »
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Looks Spectacular, But Story Fails

In the 21st century, how is one to present a fairy tale? There are stories ripe with opportunity to create great visual, frequently with lots of action, but the stereotyping, themes, and gender representation can be a bit tricky in... More »
  

Review: THE RETURNED, Protecting Your Loved One When He's A Zombie

They are misunderstood and stigmatized. They live under a cloud of fear and suspicion. They are subject to physical and verbal assaults. They fear that the supply of the drug that keeps them alive will soon run out. They are... More »
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: ALOFT Doesn't Quite Soar

The sense of touch can be tricky to convey in film. A filmmaker must rely upon visually accurate information in order for the spectator to 'feel' the sensation. Touch is very prominent in director and writer Claudia Llosa's Aloft, how... More »
  

Rotterdam 2014 Review: IN DARKNESS WE FALL Does Not Stumble

(In a cave, everyone can hear you scream...) While there is generally a dearth of genre films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, on occasion we do get the odd treat or two. This year the festival had a bona-fide... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  
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