Warsaw 2014 Review: DISCONCERTO, An Uninspired and Lengthy Sequel To A Charming Odd-Couple Comedy

Centering on the adventures of Japan's original odd couple, Omori Tatsushi's 2011 comedy-drama Tada's Do-It-All House proved to be a hit in its home country, winning the heart of Japanese audiences thanks to an imaginative story of Tada (Eita), the... More »
  

Review: HOUSEBOUND Merrily Chops Its Way Through Horror-Movie Tropes

If looks could kill, Kylie would be on death row. In Gerard Johnstone's deadpan, diabolical, and haunted thriller Housebound, Kylie (Morgana O'Reilly) is an angry, insolent young woman, full of piss and vinegar, so when she's convicted of a crime... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: Peter Chan's DEAREST Devastates

Based on multiple true story accounts of child abduction in mainland China, Peter Chan's latest film Dearest is definitely not an easy watch. It follows a divorced couple in Shenzhen, the father Tian Wenjun (comedic actor Huang Bo) and mother... More »
  

Review: THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, Delightful For Children And Adults Alike

Director Takahata Isao's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a 10th century Japanese folk story which, despite some minor changes and an added love interest, is followed faithfully here. An old bamboo cutter, Okina is walking in the woods... More »
  

Review: CAMP X-RAY, Kristen Stewart Provides The Right Mix

I was busy processing the ending of Camp X-Ray, a film about a soldier relating to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, when I saw the credit "Executive Produced by David Gordon Green." It's hard to say just what effect this great... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: THE COFFIN IN THE MOUNTAIN, An Entertaining And Cleverly Written Black Comedy

To make effective use of multi-perspective narrative is never an easy task, but first-time helmer Xin Yukun has found a perfectly workable way of implementing the risky technique within a story of a peaceful, rural Chinese village forcefully awakened from... More »
  

Camera Japan Review: SHORT PEACE Has Great Shorts But No Peace

(Otomo Katsuhiro once again searches for beauty in violence and destruction, and this time he has brought some friends...) Seeing anime on a big screen is always a special affair in the Netherlands, and there are only a few... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

New York 2014 Review: BIRDMAN, A Visual and Comedic Feast For The Eyes and Mind

This year's New York Film Festival came to a satisfying conclusion with one of its best selections, Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the oddly titled (and punctuated) fifth feature by acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Returning in... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: CITIZENFOUR, The Chilling Story Behind Edward Snowden's Explosive Revelations

In this year's New York Film Festival there were two gripping thrillers, both receiving their world premieres at the festival, and, intriguingly enough, both featuring moodily effective scores by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. One was David Fincher's novel adaptation... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: THE TRUTH SHALL NOT SINK WITH SEWOL Invokes Tears And Outrage

The Sewol Disaster, the most significant event to rock South Korea since the IMF Crisis in 1997, gets its first big screen treatment with The Truth Shall Not Sink With Sewol, the first of what are sure to be many... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: GENTLE, A Polished And Splendidly Acted Adaptation Of Dostoyevsky's Touching Short Story

Le-Van Kiet's Gentle starts with an unexpectedly drastic scene, as if trying to wash away the tranquility so pleasantly accentuated by the film's opening credits and its intriguing title, inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1876 short story 'A Gentle Creature'.From the... More »
  

Valdivia 2014 Review: SANTIAGO VIOLENTA, A Pleasant Surprise And A New Era For Díaz Espinoza

Though there are still three months left in the year and To Kill a Man has already been chosen for the Oscars as the Chilean representative (and rightfully so) I might say that the latest film by action-oriented director Ernesto... More »
  

Sitges 2014 Review: MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT, An Intense Yet Alienating Ordeal

Four years after Gareth Edwards exploded onto the sci-fi scene with his inventive and industrious indie alien invasion flick Monsters, first-time director Tom Green delivers a sequel that bears little resemblance to the original, in tone, content or invention.Reportedly set... More »
  

Warsaw 2014: NAME ME Zooms In On Abandoned Daughters

Nigina Sayfullaeva's feature debut Name Me opens with 17-year-old Olya collecting the courage to look her biological father in the eyes for the first time. To ease the melodramatic atmosphere, she is accompanied by her easygoing, overly self-confident and fun-seeking friend,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: The Wonderfully Surreal SELF-MADE Has More Than A Few Screws Loose

Shita Geffen's Self-Made could be the strangest film I have ever seen. Part black-comedy, part surreal drama, and all feminist parable, the film follows two very different women as they inexplicably swap identities.This is vastly complicated by the locations... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: FANTASIA, A Beautifully-Lensed, But Overly Familiar Chinese Indie

In Wang Chao's Fantasia, one family's struggle to overcome a personal crisis, inevitably worsened by the father's progressive terminal illness, serves its purpose as a catalyst for the director to weave a tale of seemingly great social significance. Even though... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL, A Raunchy Charmer

Kabukicho Love Hotel (better translated as Sayonara Kabukicho) is the latest urban-centric film from esoteric director Hiroki Ryuichi (Vibrator). Although the film contains the sprawling metropolitan malaise that permeates his contemporary films, this is a far more accessible and crowd-pleasing effort that plays... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: FIRES ON THE PLAIN Drags Us Into The Abyss

Though based on Ooha Shohei's book of the same name rather than Ichikawa Kon's languid and harrowing 1959 film, Tsukamoto Shinya's Fires on the Plain was always going to be an entirely different beast. Low-budget and with a frenetic and... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARALLEL Means Well But Lacks Drive

The heart-warming story of a disabled ice hockey team's journey to the World Championships, Korean documentary Parallel is a testament to perseverance and passion in the face of adversity. However, at 70 minutes and with an all too easy to... More »
  
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