REVIEW: I Am Belfast [2016]

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“Brick then iron then mesh” Don’t spend too long deciphering the title to Mark Cousins‘ latest essay film on his hometown I Am Belfast because it’s meant to be taken at face value. The film itself is this Northern Ireland city and the narrator (Helena Bereen) is as well. Don’t try to project metaphors or […]

REVIEW: A Hologram for the King [2016]

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“Look. They are sweeping sand in the desert.” If you’re doubling-down on the existential content of your film as soon as it begins, you can do worse than Talking Heads classic “Once in a Lifetime”. Not only does it perfectly encapsulate the fallout of a mid-life crisis wherein everything you believed made you who you […]

REVIEW: The Man Who Knew Infinity [2016]

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“Like other great men he invented himself” A bit character in Matt Brown‘s affecting biographical drama The Man Who Knew Infinity chants “Din, Din, Din, Gunga Din” a couple times in friendly jest as a response to his employer G.H. Hardy’s (Jeremy Irons) decision to send for an uneducated South Indian man on the merits […]

REVIEW: Prospero’s Books [1991]

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“And yet I needs must curse” I have a hard enough time with William Shakespeare when the characters onscreen are speaking his words with relevant visual cues to cut through the iambic pentameter and present the stories for my eyes. Don’t ask me to comprehend anything while reading his plays because my mind is constantly […]

REVIEW: Dough [2016]

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“How can you lose trousers?” Think of John Goldschmidt‘s latest film Dough (his first in the director’s chair since 1987) as a cinematic peace pipe for race relations and religious zealots. Rather than tobacco and herbs mixed into kinnikinnick for a clay vessel, however, screenwriters Jonathan Benson and Jez Freedman use marijuana and challah. The […]

REVIEW: Colby [2016]

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“I don’t belong here” The fallacy of escape is thinking it’s possible to truly leave the past behind. You can travel thousands of miles away and put years in between, but the stuff forcing you to do so never disappears. It marks you and shapes you whether you like or not, for better or worse. […]

REVIEW: The Pillow Book [1996]

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“Itch to read. Scratch to understand.” There aren’t many auteurs quite as inventively unique as Peter Greenaway and his “inspired by” adaptation of Sei Shonagon‘s The Pillow Book is a perfect example of why. Sexual explicitness and ink on flesh fetish aside, the sheer formal construction of the film puts it on a level all […]

REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

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“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the […]

REVIEW: Born to Be Blue [2016]

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“Hello fear. Hello death.” I’m not a jazz guy. I’ll listen, enjoy, and promptly forget it straight away. It all kind of sounds the same to me, but to each his own. If you can differentiate Miles Davis‘ sound from Chet Baker‘s you’re a better music fan than me. So to hear Robert Budreau‘s biopic […]

REVIEW: The Huntsman: Winter’s War [2016]

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“Do not love. It’s a sin and I will not forgive it.” They tricked me. Yes, the deflective, vague, and completely false marketing campaign had me believing—no matter how slim the chances were considering my lack of feeling anything for Snow White and the Huntsman—that The Huntsman: Winter’s War had something special under its sleeves. […]

REVIEW: Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] [2005]

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“That’s just plain rude” God works in mysterious ways—very mysterious ways. Or at least that’s what Anders Thomas Jensen‘s pitch-black fable Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] will have us believe. It may just be plain old faith as the mere belief in good and evil sometimes gets you through the tragedies miring your life, dictating that […]