New York 2015 Review: MIA MADRE Is An Elegant And Deeply Personal Film

Nanni Moretti's latest film, Mia Madre, is elegant, understated, and discreetly moving. A personal, if not autobiographical film, Mia Madre chronicles the slow death of a filmmaker's mother as the director struggles to complete her movie. Moretti experienced the hospitalization... More »
By Teresa Nieman   

Busan 2015 Review: STEEL FLOWER Offers Wilted View Of Korean Youth

A year after Wild Flowers, Park Suk-young returns to the Busan International Film Festival with Steel Flower. Gritty, intimate and centering around a young girl lost in a harsh urban world, Park's latest kicks off on the same foot as... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Busan 2015 Review: REACH FOR THE SKY Goes There And Beyond

The last few BIFFs have each afforded us one great documentary (Non-Fiction Diary, Factory Complex), and 2015 proves to be no exception with the discovery of the timely Reach for the SKY, a compelling look at a common but disastrous... More »
By Pierce Conran   

Busan 2015 Review: ORDINARY PEOPLE Offers Tired Gags In Familiar Situations

Three years after his debut Over and Over Again, director Kim Byung-june returns to Busan with a much livelier effort that strives to mixes social realism and situational crime comedy. Aping the lowbrow comic efforts of Korea's commercial realm, Ordinary... More »
By Pierce Conran   

New York 2015 Review: Miguel Gomes' ARABIAN NIGHTS, Cinematic Highlight Of The Year

The last time I talked with Miguel Gomes, the subject of our conversation was not about his latest film, Tabu, but almost exclusively about the impact of the devastating austerity measure by the Portuguese government on the Portuguese film community... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2015 Review: LES COWBOYS, Wild West Tensions In Modern France

Thomas Bidegain's film, Les Cowboys, begins in a strange key, with a nuclear French family spending the day at an American Western-themed rodeo (not that there's any other real kind). It's clearly no casual affair for them, but a practiced... More »
By Teresa Nieman   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: DEMON, When Ghosts Refuse To Be Silenced

Anything you try to bury will come back to haunt you. And as many times as you bury it, it will come back, and no doubt hurt those you least want to see hurt. The past can never be escaped,... More »

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: WHAT WE BECOME, Quiet Horror Invades The Nuclear Family

An extremely well-made horror film from Denmark, What We Become (original title: Sorgenfri) examines the churning emotional dynamics of a nuclear family when they are placed under extreme -- some might even call it apocalyptic -- stress. Mother Pernille (Mille... More »
By Peter Martin   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: ZINZANA, Thrills, Chills, And Kills In A Police Station

Two men in a police station. One is locked up, the other should be. The first genre film from United Arab Emirates, Zinzana (aka Rattle the Cage) is a refreshingly potent, teasingly intense drama. It begins with Talal (Saleh Bakri)... More »
By Peter Martin   

Camera Japan 2015 Review: OUR LITTLE SISTER Shows The Cold Through Blissful Warmth

For years now, Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu has been making films which have an uncommonly humanist core. Often emotional, sometimes openly feel-good even, his films somehow never become the saccharine dross they would undoubtedly be in lesser hands. One of... More »
By Ard Vijn   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: MEN AND CHICKEN Doesn't Give A Cluck

Anders Thomas Jensen has reunited with long-time collaborator Mads Mikkelsen for Men And Chicken, an utterly strange, absurdist film that revels in Dr. Moreau-type conventions and the awkwardness of long-lost family, as well as the family that can seem more like... More »

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: KLOWN FOREVER, Still Funny, Still Raunchy

Tragedy is easy. Comedy is hard. And making a comedy sequel is impossible Four years ago, Klown (original Danish title: Klovn) blew into worldwide cinematic consciousness as a wickedly funny, perversely smutty, and utterly original comedy. Born on a television... More »
By Peter Martin   

New York 2015 Review: CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, A Beautiful and Beguiling Waking Dream

The Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in his body of work consisting of six features, plus a number of short and medium length films, and also art installations, illuminates the landscapes of his native country in ways that often approximate trance-like... More »

Camera Japan 2015 Review: RYUZO AND HIS SEVEN HENCHMEN Banks On Old Farts

Takeshi Kitano's latest film Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen merges the famous director's two favorite movie genres: comedy and gangster thriller. Gathering a slew of older actors from his earlier films, Kitano pitches his geriatric protagonists as a group against... More »
By Ard Vijn   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: DAG Delivers A Bleakly Hilarious Take On Life And Love

Dag dislikes people. All of them. Strongly. He would like nothing more than to be simply left alone to enjoy a good meal alone at home, while listening to his vast collection of music. Because he does not like people.... More »
By Todd Brown   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: L'AFFAIRE SK1 Delivers A Clinical Dissection Of France's Most Notorious Serial Killer

The first body was discovered in 1991, a young woman raped and killed in clearly sadistic fashion in her own home in the French capital. She would be the first of seven, the leading edge of a wave of murders... More »
By Todd Brown   

Review: Jafar Panahi, Once Again, Defies The Powers That Be With TAXI

Jafar Panahi was jailed, then put on house arrest and banned from filmmaking for 20 years by the Iranian government in 2010 when it deemed the award winning filmmaker an anti-government propagandist. This didn't stop the filmmaker from making... More »
By Dustin Chang   

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: Only A Mother Could Love JAMES WHITE

The debut feature from Josh Mond, producer of Simon Killer and Martha Marcy May Marlene, is a tough coming-of-age tale featuring a couple of top-notch showboating performances. However, the desperate circumstances alone do not make for an engaging drama, and... More »
By James Marsh   

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME, Good With Reservations

The debut feature from Beijing-born Chloe Zhao focuses on the unlikely subject matter of adolescent Lakota indians in South Dakota. Beautifully photographed and confidently directed, Songs My Brothers Taught Me is a notable first film, marred only by a rather... More »
By James Marsh   

Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD, Stirring, Fantastical Entertainment

April is an extraordinary character in an extraordinary world. As voiced by Marion Cotillard in the animated film April and the Extraordinary world (original title: Avril et le monde truque), she is the offspring of scientists who have gone missing.... More »
By Peter Martin   
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