Night Visions 2015 Review: AMERICAN BURGER Serves Up Cross-Cultural Beef

Watching an English-language splatter comedy, made in Sweden by a married British / Swedish couple, at a film festival in Helsinki, Finland, in a bar converted into a screening room, certainly ranks among my top 10 most unusual cross-cultural experiences... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: Hungarian Western MIRAGE, A Visually Opulent Slavery Allegory

The Hungarian director of Bibliotheque Pascal, Szabolcs Hajdu, returns with yet another not so conventional oeuvre, Mirage. After the world premiere held at Toronto last year, the film enters the Slovak and Czech theatre circuit (Slovakia is a minor co-producer... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Istanbul 2015 Review: THESE ARE THE RULES Provokes With Civil Horror

Dramas which keep the tension tightly under the lid while eschewing a boiling melodramatic outburst can be challenging. On the other hand, de-dramatized dramas with smoother edges are easier to chew on for laid-back, cerebral viewers. Croatian director Ognjen... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Review: ERBARME DICH - MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES Targets The Purpose Of Sadness

(Don't feel bad, feel worse! Then, listen to exquisite music...) A documentary about classical music does, on paper, not seem to be a crowd-pleaser. Yet Ramón Gieling's Erbarme Dich - Matthäus Passion Stories was one of the big surprises at... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: WHITE GOD, When Dogs Inherit The Earth

Doggedly heavy on allegory, Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó's White God (originally Fehér Isten) has a relatively simple premise: beware the comeuppance for those that treat badly those they believe to be inferior. At its heart, the film plays as if... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Review: Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating...In THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ

Michel Houellebecq, the énfant terrible of French Literature, is regarded by many as the best European writer to emerge in decades. My first Houellebecq was Elementary Particles in the late 90s- the book was repulsive, depraved, nihilistic and shocking but... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

ND/NF 2015 Review: MERCURIALES, A Daring Little Fairy Tale In The Concrete Jungle

The film starts with a young black man getting a tour on the first day of his job as security personnel in Les Mercuriales, the twin skyscrapers, which eerily resemble the World Trade Center, situated in an industrial neighborhood in... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: Eugène Green's LA SAPIENZA Reaches Beyond Knowledge and Beauty

La Sapienza is the latest from Eugène Green, an American born, French filmmaker known for his highly theatrical, Bressonian films. Highly esoteric, the film will undoubtedly turn off many viewers with its intentionally stilted acting where actors often address the... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: GHOUL Feeds on Tried-and-Trusted Formulas

Horror films form a very niche and minor part of Czech cinema. Despite boasting a small list of interesting horror films, such as Juraj Herz famous The Cremator or his gothic tale Morgiana, contemporary endeavours failed to please audiences and... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

SXSW 2015 Review: MOONWALKERS, Low Ambition Helps A Loony Comedy

What if you wanted to fake a moon landing in 1969, and could get Stanley Kubrick to do it? The idea is so silly that it lends itself easily to comedy, and Moonwalkers milks it furiously, spinning into a very... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2015 Review: THE ECSTASY OF WILKO JOHNSON, How To Live When You're Going To Die

This movie may have saved my life. Let me explain. Not too long ago, Wilko Johnson was told he would die. The musician, a co-founder of pioneering British pub-rock band Dr. Feelgood, received a diagnosis of inoperable, terminal pancreatic cancer.... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: 3 HEARTS, A Showcase For Tender Side Of Charlotte Gainsbourg

Marc (Benoit Poelvoorde of Man Bites Dog, Coco Before Chanel), a shlumpy tax investigator, just missed the train back to Paris. He now has to spend the night in a provincial town whether he likes it or not. By... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: MICHIEL DE RUYTER Brings All Cannons To The Fore

(Fear the man who yells louder than William Wallace, and kills more Englishmen than Joan of Arc!) In Dutch cinema, there isn't really a tradition of celebrating our (I'm Dutch) historical heroes. Not so much because we don't have them,... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

French Film Festival 2015: DIPLOMACY Is A Masterfully Convincing Chamber Drama

Diplomacy is based on a stage play, this becomes wholly obvious when viewing the film as realized by the static location and the two powerful figures that have dialogue, debate and a complex diplomatic, ethical and moral verbal Ping-Pong... More »
  

French Film Festival 2015: THE NEW GIRLFRIEND Is A Definitive Ozon Joint

The New Girlfriend continues director Francoise Ozon's investigations into womanhood and fragmented social mores. His prior work, the epic Young & Beautiful and to an extent In The House were attempts to depict sexuality in different socio-political spheres and generations,... More »
  

French Film Festival 2015 Review: ELLE L'ADORE Keeps You Guessing, Until It Doesn't

Elle L'Adore is a curious first feature from former actress Jeanne Henry. It wastes no time getting into the grisly proceedings of an accidental homicide, but after the groundwork is laid out, the film practically crawls to a halt.Muriel (Sandrine... More »
  

Film Comment Selects 2015 Review: PHOENIX, A Masterful, Lean Film Noir

Christian Petzold (Ghosts, Barbara), perhaps one of the most gifted storytellers working in cinema today, strikes gold again with Phoenix, a Hitchcockian, postwar noir revenge flick. Clocking in at a very lean 98 minutes, the film revolves around a concentration camp survivor named... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: MY LIFE DIRECTED BY NICOLAS WINDING REFN, Awkward And Thoroughly Intriguing

Note to filmmakers: If you capture the legendary Alejandro Jodorowsky in conversation with another filmmaker and he turns to the camera to ask you a question, be sure to lead with that. Wisely, that's what first-time filmmaker Liv Corfixen does... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: THE SALVATION, A Hell Of A Lot Of Fun

It's no longer really much of a bold move to call Mads Mikkelsen one of the finest actors working in the world today. A consummate thespian, his performances are always intoxicating to watch, be they in silly pulp-populism when playing... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: DYKE HARD's Zany Queer Musical Rock and Roll Extravaganza Worships The Best Of Trash

The Berlinale belongs in the triumvirate of most followed film festivals, eagerly pushing its fingers on the pulse of world cinema. As such, it brings a vast variety of oeuvres from all over the globe dubbed as arthouse films. Many... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  
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