Review: Gabriel Mascaro's NEON BULL Mingles Naturalism And Sensuality In Brazil

Brazilian helmer Gabriel Mascaro is a keen observer of human behaviors. With his documentary work, such as Housemaids, High-rise, he demonstrated his anthropological tendencies and lent sharp insights into complex Brazilian society while being playful and adventurous with the cinema... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: Joachim Trier's LOUDER THAN BOMBS Goes Off Gently, Beautifully

I can't stress enough that watching Joachim Trier's films is like reading really good books, that he might be the most literary (not in a superficial sense) film director working today. With each new film, Trier and his writing partner... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Criterion's BICYCLE THIEVES Steals The Show

Vittorio De Sica is widely regarded as a master in the realm of world cinema. As one of the Italian neorealism forerunners (in company with Roberto Rossellini and Luchino Visconti), De Sica concentrated on films that told stories about real... More »
  

Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: ALIGARH, A Human Tragedy

In April of 2010, Professor S.R. Siras died alone in a rented room. He'd been sacked from his job as the head of the department of regional languages in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. He'd been a professor of Marathi at... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: KIRUMI, When Ambition Bites Back

Director Anucharan's debut feature, Kirumi, is the kind of calling card that every filmmaker dreams of. This thrilling drama boasts well drawn characters, enough twists and turns to keep the audience guessing, a visual style that is confident without feeling... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: FOR THE LOVE OF A MAN Profiles Fans Of India's Greatest Superstar

There are movie stars and then there are MOVIE STARS, and on some level beyond the latter, there exists Superstar Rajinikanth. For nearly forty years, this former bus conducter has inspired almost religious devotion from his fans both inside and... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES, India's Women Are Docile No More

India, like every other film industry in the world, suffers from a significant shortage of films featuring women in leading roles. I'm not talking about women's films, chick flicks, or other films that celebrate women by exaggerating feminity to conform... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Indian Film Fest LA 2016 Review: OTTAAL, A Boy Trapped In The Cage Of Destiny

  Jayaraj's Malayalam language feature Ottaal (The Trap) begins with a boy writing a Christmas letter to his grandfather. Kuttappayi, the boy in question, writes this letter in the dark, obviously past his own bedtime and in secret. His miserable... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: AFTERNOON, A Moving, Intimate Conversation On Life And Art

I might as well get to the point right off the bat: Afternoon, the latest work by Taiwan’s master auteur Tsai Ming-liang, is to my mind, one of the most absorbing, humorous, movingly poignant, fascinating, and just plain loveliest films... More »
  

Review: Naivety Goes Awry in Coming-of-Middle-Age Greek Dramedy SUNTAN

Greek cinema had a successful run last year reminding us of the cinematic deluge from Hellenic peninsula we had started to refer to as the Greek New Wave. Besides the already known personalities with international credentials - Athina Rachel Tsangari... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Review: PHANTOM HALO Never Quite Decides What It Wants To Be

Antonia Bogdanovich's feature debut Phantom Halo can never quite figure out which direction to head in. Part family drama, part crime thriller, these two ideas are not necessarily antithetical, and each in and of themselves is not necessarily bad (though... More »
  

Review: ROCKY HANDSOME, The Reason The West Hates Bollywood

I am not a religious man, but I am an evangelist for the things I love. First and foremost among those few things that I feel are worthy of my enthusiasm is the cinema of India. I am an evangelist... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD, A Tricky, Stirring Journey

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   
  

Review: VALLEY OF LOVE, An Affecting Ghost Story Set In Death Valley

It strikes me as peculiar that Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, two of the French cinema's titans, each appearing in hundreds of films (Depardieu 217 films, Huppert 126 to date according to imdb), had previously worked together in just 2... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: BASKIN, Confidently Creepy, Weird, Bloody And Awesome

When many people think of contemporary Turkish cinema, the first thing that comes to mind is the Palme d'Or-bait that is the films of Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Methodical (ahem, slow) dramas like Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Winter's... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Review: BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, Overburdened By Expectation And Obligation

DC Comics kick-starts its expanded cinematic universe by pitting its two greatest superheroes against one another in Zack Snyder’s hugely anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Man Of Steel.   With the Nolan/Bale Dark Knight trilogy looming large in the background, Ben... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Diagonale Review 2016: THE DREAMED ONES, A Film Of Gently Brutal Nuances

As fragile and trembling as it is delicately clear, Ruth Beckermann's The Dreamed Ones revolves around a young woman (musical artist Anja Plaschg) and a young man (Laurence Rupp) reading part of the nearly two decades lasting correspondence between the... More »
By Ioana Florescu   
  

Review: AN Advises Everyone A Hearty Carpe Diem

(When life hands you lemons, make sweet red bean paste!) Japanese director Kawase Naomi's film An (also known in some territories as Sweet Red Bean Paste) played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam this February, where it turned out to... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Blu-ray Review: Chen Kaige's FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE From The BFI

For many mainstream filmgoers, Farewell My Concubine is perhaps the best-known Chinese language film of the 1990s, helped in no end by its success at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Chen Kaige (Yellow Earth, Temptress Moon), the film traces... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Jess Franco On Blu-ray: COUNT DRACULA From Severin Films

Back in 2012, I reviewed a Jess Franco film on Blu-ray from Redemption Films (Female Vampire) and marveled at the fact that this director, one of cinema's most enduring cult icons, was being rediscovered and given the HD treatment. At... More »
By Charlie Hobbs   
  
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