Review: Emmanuelle Devos Shines in Biopic VIOLETTE

Ever since her breakout role as a deaf office worker, Carla, in Jacques Audiard's audacious caper flick Read My Lips, Emmanuelle Devos has risen to become one of the top French actresses of our time, working with auteur filmmakers such... More »
  

Review: BORGMAN Fiendishly Recounts The Time The Devil Went Up To Holland

The titular character of Alex van Warmerdam's Borgman does not have horns, nor does he command grotesque demons spawned from hellfire. Emaciated, clothed in rags with long hair and a beard, he actually looks a lot like Jesus at first.... More »
  

Cannes 2014 Review: THE BLUE ROOM, A Surreal And Engaging Noir Thriller

While most film audiences outside France will recognize Mathieu Amalric as the villain from Quantum of Solace, he's been directing films in addition to his great acting work for more than twenty years in his native country. HIs last feature,... More »
  

Review: CHINESE PUZZLE, Love And Life, Still So Complicated

The path to true happiness is strewn with thorns, and hedged in by emotions and personalities that often spiral out of control. That appears to be the overriding theme of the three films that Cédric Klapisch has made revolving around... More »
  

Review: THE DANCE OF REALITY, Jodorowsky Finds Magic In Reality

When we first meet the young-boy version of Alejandro Jodorowsky in his new "imaginary autobiography" The Dance with Reality (aka La Danza de la Realidad), he is wearing a long blond wig and watching in terror as his dad brawls... More »
  

Cannes 2014 Review: GIRLHOOD Challenges Expectations From Its Very First Moments

Girlhood (Bande des Filles) quite literally kicks off to a running start. In the first second in the very first shot, a rush of decked-out football players come hurtling head-on directly at the camera. Backed by thumping, synth-heavy electropop, we follow... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Cannes 2014 Review: In THE WONDERS, The Stings of Adolescence

The Wonders (Le meraviglie) is a poetic realist portrait of painful adolescence. Director Alice Rohrwacher tells a slight coming of age tale infused with melancholy, hardship but not without a sense of beauty. Gone is the Italy of opulence and... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Cannes 2014 Review: WHEN ANIMALS DREAM, Stark And Haunting Arthouse Horror

One of the reasons I love genre film is that is gives opportunity to explore the human condition with strange metaphors, allowing the spectator perhaps a deeper and richer understanding than when trying to represent something directly. Such is the... More »
  

Fantaspoa 2014 Review: CHAMELEON (BUQÄLÄMUN), A Minimalist Azerbaijani Drama

I never expected to watch a film like Chameleon (Buqälämun) at Fantaspoa. This is not fantasy cinema at all but rather a minimalist drama and the very first Azerbaijani film I've ever seen. It is about people who are only... More »
  

Review: Dutch Skate-boarding Doc ZOMBIE: THE RESURRECTION OF TIM ZOM Grinds Deeper Than The Surface

(Dude, who scratched my car?) In the past, the International Film Festival Rotterdam was sometimes chided for not having much locally-made content in its program, being maybe a bit TOO international for its own good. Recent editions have remedied that... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Imagine 2014 Review: THE POOL Provides Dutch Horror With Intelligence And Depth

(Why the hell do people go camping in the wild anyway?) In the Dutch horror thriller The Pool, two families go camping. To try and find a quiet secluded spot, they illegally break into a nature reserve, and after some... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Melancholic Czech Debut TO SEE THE SEA Surprises on Many Levels

Czech cinema retains a certain routine portfolio in its offerings. The main and dominant current consists of films reflecting the recent past, mostly the era of communism, socialism and then normalisation. These stories come in the form of paeans to... More »
  

Review: IDA, A Lovely, Artfully-Crafted Little Masterpiece

Sister Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is an war orphan who is about to take a vow. The Mother Superior tells her that her only known relative, her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), finally contacted her, and Anna is to leave the convent... More »
  

Review: MOONE BOY Season 2 Is Very Fecking Good

Tales of boyhood, of one's family, and one's town, are a down right staple in TV Land. From Leave It To Beaver to The Wonder Years, it seems that every decade of television must have at least one iconic male-centered... More »
  

Review: In Jos Stelling's THE GIRL AND DEATH, Beauty Matters

Recently I came across an article at salon.com titled David Foster Wallace was right: Irony is ruining our culture by Matt Ashby and Brendan Caroll. In it, they talk about our popular culture so completely immersed in irony and lazy... More »
  

Review: HARDKOR DISKO Hides Shallow Critique Behind Luscious Visuals

"Be intense or be nothing", says one of the characters in Marcin Skonieczny's dazzling yet ultimately flavorless debut feature Hardkor Disko. Generalizations aside, it's merely a statement that aspires to characterize the youngest generation and its relation to the overpowering... More »
  

Tribeca 2014 Review: DER SAMURAI Giveth (Head) and It Taketh (Head) Away

Der Samurai is the type of film I live for: well made and weird. I count myself lucky if I come across a film like this once every festival or so (unless that festival happens to be Fantastic Fest, in... More »
  

Review: KILLING LOVE Kills Off Comic Potential Way Too Quickly

Polish mainstream comedy has been in a state of stagnation for quite some time now. The many recent attempts at reviving its former glory, unfortunately, almost always ended in -- more or less comical -- disaster. It seems that the country's... More »
  

Imagine 2014 Review: DEADLY VIRTUES: LOVE. HONOUR. OBEY Is Lean, Mean, And Surprising

(An alternative title could be "Home Invasion: Rope. Torture. Show.") One of the titles world premiering at the Imagine film Festival Amsterdam this year is Ate de Jong's Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey., his first film since the costly flop... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Imagine 2014 Review: THE CREEP BEHIND THE CAMERA Is A Cute And Clever Hybrid

(When Charles Manson met the Carpet-Bag-Monster...) Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? Is it a documentary? It's... The Creep Behind the Camera! One of the World Premieres at this year's Imagine Film Festival Amsterdam, The Creep Behind the... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  
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