REVIEW: The Royal Road [2015]

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“These inconceivable melodramas punctuate my waking life” No description of Jenni Olson‘s essay over landscapes film The Royal Road is more concise or accurate than the final words spoken upon the culmination of its 65-minute visual monologue: “I want to tell you a story about love and loss and San Francisco that reveals more about […]

REVIEW: Presenting Princess Shaw [2016]

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“Why am I going in the same direction with no direction?” Even though Presenting Princess Shaw isn’t a film about filmmaking, you can’t help wondering about the logistics of its creation considering director Ido Haar is listed as the project’s sole cinematographer. The story of Princess (Samantha Montgomery) and Kutiman (Ophir Kutiel) focuses on music […]

REVIEW: Holy Hell [2016]

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“Maybe it’s worth it” Every story containing religious or spiritual content inherently brings with it supporters and detractors beholden to personal agendas either from experience or unwavering positions of faith. It’s difficult subject matter to truly expose objectively because religion and spirituality are by definition subjective when compared against an infinite number of other similar […]

REVIEW: Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] [1929]

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Labeled the best documentary of all time by Sight & Sound in 2014, Dziga Vertov‘s Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] lives up to its pedigree thanks in no small part to the level of cinematic innovation somehow utilized as far back as 1929. Besides the obvious period clothing and […]

REVIEW: Elstree 1976 [2016]

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“There wasn’t a lot of certainty as to what it would be” Everybody knows Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and announced they’d be producing a new Star Wars trilogy and spin-off features, everyone knew those three would be back in the fold. Even guys like Peter […]

REVIEW: Francofonia [2015]

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“Why is art unable to teach us prescience?” In a sort of “This Is Your Life” for Paris, France’s Louvre, Aleksandr Sokurov‘s Francofonia exposes a history of artistic heroes you may not expect. The journey takes us through archival footage; re-enactments shown in a faux raw state with clapboards against post-produced visual artifacting; in-close, high-definition […]

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 […]

HOTDOCS16 REVIEW: Hotel Dallas [2016]

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“What time spits back, history devours and fatten itself on what we lack” Despite the name Hotel Dallas and general premise surrounding a replica of Southfork Ranch (where both the old and new “Dallas” series were filmed) built in Romania by an aspiring capitalist, husband and wife directing duo Sherng-Lee Huang and Livia Ungur‘s film […]

REVIEW: A Film About Coffee [2014]

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“Coffee people have to be sexy” I am not a coffee drinker. I don’t even really like the smell of the stuff either despite that usually being what non-drinkers do enjoy about the hot, cold, compressed, dripped, or frozen beverage sold almost everywhere in the United States. So to say I was completely unaware of […]

REVIEW: Our Nixon [2013]

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“You felt as if you were in a brilliantly lighted, badly run television show” As someone who wasn’t born during Richard Nixon‘s administration, it is somewhat unfair to just conjure images of Deepthroat a la All the President’s Men or bank robbers like in Point Break. Tricky Dick has become the butt of jokes—the only […]

NoHoIFF16 REVIEW: Gazelle: The Love Issue [2014]

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“There is beauty in everything” New York is full of unique individuals. It’s a haven for them to be able to walk down the street with glances of intrigue rather than disgust. Gazelle is just one “Freak Chic” ambassador, but she is also possibly the most important. This isn’t because her style is best or […]