Aruba 2015 Review: In THE DRIFTLESS AREA Mysteries Of The Moment Abound

We humans often like to think of ourselves as creatures of habit. It helps compartmentalize our world, making order out of chaos. As someone who operates quite often from his head, habits are important. Writing movie reviews, attempting to express... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: PAN, Far From The Disaster You Might Want It To Be

Following his adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina, Joe Wright next turns his attentions to J.M. Barrie's boy who never grew up. But instead of bringing the adventures of Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook to the big screen,... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: REGRESSION, How the Mighty Have Fallen

Back in the 1990s, Alejandro Amenábar was part of the incredible new wave of Spanish fantastic cinema. His first feature, Thesis, was a Hitchcock-style thriller about snuff films that was creepy and sexy; his second, Open Your Eyes, a subtle sci-fi... More »
  

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   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: ADVANTAGEOUS, Underachieving Sci-Fi For Tiger Mums

Jennifer Phang's ambitious sci-fi drama presents some intriguing ideas about identity and sacrifice in a uniquely female context, but she invests her budget into the wrong elements, and is unable to fashion her final film into anything particularly engaging.In the... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Sundance Hong Kong 2015 Review: THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT Wields Significant Power

The events that went down at Jordan Hall in August 1971 have been recounted numerous times and inspired at least two films already - Oliver Hirschbiegel's excellent Das Experiment (2001) starring Moritz Bleibtreu and Paul Scheuring's American remake from 2010, starring... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Toronto 2015 Review: BEASTS OF NO NATION Spills Blood On A Large Canvas

A big screen movie made by streaming media behemoth Netflix, for click and view streaming, Cary Fukunaga's beautifully brutal war story, Beasts of No Nation feels too large and too difficult a watch to warrant a casual click on a... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Toronto 2015 Review: ANOMALISA Considers The Human Condition With No Strings Attached

When the philosopher says, "Hell is other people," he perhaps means that in trying to figure ourselves out, we are beholden to our reflections and interactions with other people. Or maybe he is talking about the modern customer service experience. In... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Toronto 2015 Review: EQUALS, A Romantic LOGAN'S RUN For Millennials

In the future envisioned in Equals, it is as if Jony Ive ended debates on industrial design and all we are left with is Apple monoculture. Everything is white and smooth surfaced. The architecture is soothingly clean concrete. The film opens with... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Toronto 2015 Review: RIVER, Man On The Run, But Not A Typical Chase Thriller

As children, we are often taught that, when someone is in trouble, we should try to help, or if someone is being bullied, we should intervene. But sometimes, there can be unforeseen consequences that would endanger ourselves. Jamie M. Dagg's first... More »
  

Toronto 2015 Review: HIGH RISE Throws A Lot Of Stuff Off The Ledge

As audience empathy tests go, killing the dog is perhaps the most capital of movie-crimes. Here it is gleefully committed in the opening minutes; a bellwether for the casually curious to beware. Several other canine-murders are peppered throughout the film, each... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Toronto 2015 Review: INTO THE FOREST, A Masterful Portrait Of The Family Bond

What will we all do when the lights turn off? Wait impatiently for them to come back on, trying to maintain a normal existence and the planned future? Begin raiding other people's homes? Go off in search of some semblance... More »
  

Toronto 2015 Review: LEN AND COMPANY, A Confident Hanging-Out Movie

All men, when they reach a certain age, have a desire to become a hermit - to one degree or another. Maybe it is due to genetic wiring, maybe social conventions. Most ignore it, either lacking the means, or the... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: EVEREST Tackles Disaster With Diplomacy At The Top Of The World

Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur tackles his largest Hollywood project to-date, with this epically staged account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers perished on the Himalayan peak in a single day. Featuring a robust ensemble cast and... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Sidewalk Film Fest 2015 Review: THREE FINGERS, A Powerful Engagement With Trauma

While the average person in the United States might be familiar with the illness known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its prevalence among war veterans, it is arguably an 'invisible' illness (unlike the loss of a limb, for example)... More »
  

Review: NO ESCAPE Shows Us The Asia That Americans Should Be Afraid Of

Asia is terrifying. With its obscure languages, stifling humidity, tropical foliage, peculiar deities, dubious military regimes, weird food and proximity to historically hazardous war zones, American citizens would be insane to go near any part of it. The only Westerners... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY Puts The Fun In Funny

Peter Bogdanovich's screwball sensibilities thankfully do not get the better of him in the absurd and kinetic She's Funny That Way. The film follows the various dramas, loves and lusts of the players of a theater production in New... More »
  

Review: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Targets Style Over Spying

For its big screen reboot of the classic 60s spy series, Warner Brothers is hoping Guy Ritchie can replicate the success of their earlier Sherlock Holmes adaptations, again favouring witty banter and period detail over the material's more action-oriented elements.... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, An Artful And Entertaining Musical Biopic

"You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge." So begins the title track of NWA's seminal 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, a hip-hop landmark that almost single-handedly changed the direction of the art form. The making of... More »
  
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