Sundance 2015 Review: Z FOR ZACHARIAH, A Deeply Affecting Near-Future Parable

The premise is beautiful in its elegant simplicity - a woman is left alone in a world that has befallen a catastrophe. Her solitude is interrupted when a man appears, unsettling her life and making radical changes to her... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: TIRED MOONLIGHT, An Effervescent, Enchanting Debut

Britni West's debut feature is sure to be the most enchanting feature at this year's Slamdance. An ode to small town America, every moment in West's film is is one of effervescent discovery, culling childhood wonder and adult wanderlust with... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Sundance 2015 Review: TANGERINE Pops With Verve And Vérité

On the streets of Los Angeles sunlight seems to move differently than in most places. It blazes, arching across the sky, like a banshee spreading its wings. From behind the wheel of your car, inching forward in the hellion-marked traffic... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: In SONG ONE, The Tune May Be Familiar, But The Performance Is Lovely

One of the great pleasures of experiencing music, especially genres such as pop, or - more pertinently for this review - indie folk, lies in the familiarity of its forms. Like comfort food for the ears, they follow well-established stylistic... More »
  

Review: WAVES, A Quietly Emotional Cross-Cultural Drama

In Don Gerardo Frasco's Waves, a seemingly idyllic island paradise in the Philippines unexpectedly turns into a battleground of mixed emotions for two friends-turned-secret-lovers desperately trying to revive a brief yet intense love affair that, at first sight, clearly falls... More »
By Patryk Czekaj   
  

Review: CAKE Serves Up Honest, Emotional Storytelling

"I hope you're ready to be depressed," whispered the person sitting next to me to no one in particular as the opening frames of Cake started to roll. Indeed, director Daniel Barnz's film about a woman confronting debilitating pain, drug... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

Review: EX_MACHINA Starts Strong, But Falls Into Cliché

Alex Garland has become known for some pretty great sci-fi screenplays, such as 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd. So it seems only natural that he would eventually direct one of his own works. Ex_Machina has some great elements, such as... More »
  

Review: VICE, Sexism Is Only Its First Offense

By featuring two scenes of repulsive violence against women in its early going, Vice digs itself into a deep hole. Theoretically, it's possible that Vice, an ostensible action vehicle driven by Thomas Jane -- with Bruce Willis sitting quietly in... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR Marks The Emergence Of A Major Comedic Talent

Imagine, if you will, that Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, and Louis CK got together to create a love child who had Lena Dunham as a nanny, and who grew up to become a bisexual Iranian-American woman. Such a person, if... More »
  

Review: PREDESTINATION, Tripping Through Time With Haunting Passion

A guy walks into a bar and tells a spellbinding story that has nothing to do with time travel. It's haunting, it's poignant, and it takes up the first big chunk of Predestination, a new movie from the Spierig Brothers... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: DARK SUMMER, Chilly, Ghostly, Housebound Chills

Sentenced to house arrest for cyber-stalking a classmate, what is teenage Daniel to do? As Dark Summer gets underway, parole officer Stokes (Peter Stormare) explains to Daniel (Keir Gilchrist) what is and isn't allowed. Daniel immediately violates the terms of... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

Review: FAR FROM MEN, A Great Viggo Mortensen Western

(How can you be Far From Men when Viggo is around?) As a preview for the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam next month, loyal visitors were allowed to see one of the films already: David Oelhoffen's Algeria-based western Far From... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: WINTER SLEEP, What Does It Mean To Be 'Good'?

Nuri Bilge Ceylan trained as a photographer and has mined the expressive terrain of his native Anatolia to great effect throughout his career. As a director, he has used the landscape not simply as a backdrop, but often as an... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Review: MAGICIAN, A Massive Collage Tribute To Orson Welles

In Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, documentarian Chuck Workman, best known for his assembled clips for the Oscar ceremonies, including In Memoriam segments, doesn't have to do much to enhance the drama in Welles' life because... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: INHERENT VICE, Say Hello To The American Psyche, Circa 1970

Paul Thomas Anderson faithfully adapts Thomas Pynchon's most accessible novel, the zaniest surf noir, Inherent Vice. It is also the first time he's worked with a large ensemble cast since Magnolia. The result is often hilarious, a laborious snapshot of... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: WILD, Featuring A Committed And Captivating Reese Witherspoon

Taking on another true story after his hugely successful Dallas Buyer's Club, director Jean-Marc Vallée this time turns his lens to the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman with a past who takes it upon herself to hike hundreds of... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Five Flavours 2014 Review: SHADOW DAYS, A Bold Critique Of China's Notorious One-Child Policy

Zhao Dayong's meaningful and compelling drama Shadow Days offers an unflinching commentary on pressing social and cultural issues pertinent to contemporary China. The documentary maker's second foray into fiction, it revolves around an ordinary young couple who move into an... More »
By Patryk Czekaj   
  

Morbido Fest 2014 Review: AMERICAN MUSCLE, Smashing, Bloody, Rude, And Often Nude

John Falcon is mad. Imprisoned for 10 years, he's about to be paroled, but his prison sentence hasn't mellowed him one iota. If anything, it's made him a more fierce creature, the personification of fury, refusing to compromise on his... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SAIFF 2014 Review: DUKHTAR Exposes The Deadly Binds That Tie Together Tribal Pakistan

South Asian cinema has come to the point at which the international community has begun to take closer notice. Films, the vast majority of which hail from India's burgeoning Hindi independent cinema, are appearing on international film festival rosters at... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: LATE PHASES Aims To Be More Than A Werewolf Movie

A friend of mine is fond of applying the phrase "a wolf in sheep's clothing" to genre films. The theory goes that a good genre flick should have a tried and true "A" genre suit of sheep's clothing, and a... More »
By John Jarzemsky   
  
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