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   

New York 2015 Review: THE WALK Showcases Robert Zemeckis's Stereoscopic 3D Wizardry

Forget about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's ridiculous Pepé Le Pew French accent. Forget about his weird toupé and blue contact lenses, forget about the candy colored fairyland a.k.a. Paris in the first hour. Robert Zemeckis's new film The Walk still works as... More »
By Dustin Chang   

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   

Review: PAY THE GHOST Is Average, But Nicolas Cage Does Great Work

I don't think I have to be the one that reminds you about the certain infamous recognition that Oscar-winner actor Nicolas Cage has nowadays. We all know about his projects, why he chooses them, how he fares in them, and... More »

Toronto 2015 Review: THE MARTIAN, A Thrilling, Entertaining Space Flick

The Martian concept is a delight, stranding an astronaut millions of kilometers from home, where he has to "science the shit" out of the situation in order to find a way back. Implicit in the concept, however, is that... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Review: MAZE RUNNER: SCORCH TRIALS Leads to Zombies And War

The messages and metaphors of young adult fiction might be blunt enough to leave a mark as they hit you over the head, but the teen target audience doesn't seem to mind. Perhaps that's because the messages and metaphors, true... More »
By Jim Tudor   

Review: SICARIO, A Marvelous, Stunning Hybrid

In white writing on a black screen, we're taught that Sicario was the name given to Hebrew Zealots (the name means "dagger men") who fought to expel the Romans in Judea. Now the name is used in Mexico to refer... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Toronto 2015 Review: BLACK MASS, A Work Of Power And Impact

The real life rise and fall of James "Whitey" Bulger already seems the stuff of cinema. He's the gangster who grabbed South Boston by the throat, leading his Winter Hill mob to gain control over much of the city.... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Toronto 2015 Review: DEMOLITION, A Brilliant Tapestry Of Emotion

It's fair to say I've become enamoured of one Jake Gyllenhaal of late. Sure, the man has piercing eyes and lovely, bushy eyebrows, but more to the point is the power and poignance he's been bringing to screen. From modern... More »
By Jason Gorber   

Review: THE VISIT, A Fleeting Resemblance To A Funhouse Joy Ride

The set-up for the first horror movie by M. Night Shyamalan since The Happening (2008) is explained clearly in its opening scene, which is an early sign that the movie itself is almost an afterthought. Since The Sixth Sense put... More »
By Peter Martin   

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   

Review: A WALK IN THE WOODS, Robert Redford Smiles And All Is Right With The World

In the altogether pleasant A Walk in the Woods, Robert Redford smiles and cracks wise as he hasn't done on screen for many years. It's a marvelous, if wrinkly, sight to behold. The movie, an adaptation of Bill Bryson's 1998... More »
By Peter Martin   

Review: HANNIBAL Says Goodbye

I woke up at 4:39 this morning, thinking of Hannibal, the man, the series, and the serial killer, awash in blood and viscera. Through three seasons of Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen has redefined the character created by novelist Thomas Harris. The... More »
By Peter Martin   

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: AMERICAN ULTRA, Ultra Violent Yet Ultra Forgettable

We've seen a lot of Americans at the movies in the past decade or so. American Beauty, American Sniper, American Gangster, American Movie, American Hardcore, American Pie - the list goes on and on. It's been a veritable melting pot... More »
By Jim Tudor   

Review: HITMAN: AGENT 47, An Action Movie With A Really Short Attention Span

Action fans are like alcoholics: we need our fix! Hitman: Agent 47 isn't up to the task. Granted, my opening words might sound like I'm minimizing the seriousness of alcoholism, and that's not my intention. But those of us who... More »
By Peter Martin   


(My God, it's full of fold-outs...!) Last year, the German publishing house Taschen released an astonishing holy grail for fans of Stanley Kubrick's seminal science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey: a boxset which included four book volumes, enclosed in... More »
By Ard Vijn   

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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