REVIEW: Julieta [2016]

“Remember, you don’t like goodbyes” It began as many things: an adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Canadian writer Alice Munro‘s three connected short stories from her book Runaway (“Chance,” “Soon,” and “Silence”), Pedro Almodóvar‘s English-language debut with its venue switching from Vancouver to New York, and a starring vehicle for Meryl Streep. But Julieta eventually […]

REVIEW: Geride Kalanlar [Leftovers] [2017]

“Let’s hope it’s not her” We each possess a blind spot, one seeking to shield the horrors of life we know exist regardless. It manifests a sense of optimism in that we are safe because we live morally or that those we trust are inherently good. The opposite—to live in constant paranoia believing tragedy is […]

REVIEW: 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] [2016]

“You took a photo and stole my soul” While the calling card for Gan Bi‘s feature debut 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] is its magnificent 41-minute long take, that scene is but a movie within a movie. Its brilliance is in the way it takes his main character Chen Sheng (played by the […]

REVIEW: Psychic Murder [2017]

“Yes. I realize I look … like the Hamburger Helper.” The idea of a “deal with the devil” tale is to show how—if at all—the victim caught with his/her soul on the line can escape. The fun is in the torture of this latest riff on Faust by his malicious benefactor and the payoff the […]

REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it […]

REVIEW: Before I Fall [2017]

“This isn’t you” The comparisons to Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow are unavoidable when you have a story centering on a teenager reliving the same day over and over again like Before I Fall. It’s not bad either when each utilizes the trope in different ways and within different genres. Whether comedy, science-fiction actioner, […]

REVIEW: Table 19 [2017]

“Good luck with your future endeavors” I’d be very interested in reading the original script for Table 19 as drafted by Jay and Mark Duplass. If you don’t know, this 2017 release was optioned way back in 2009 with the brothers attached to direct as their fourth feature (it was competing with Cyrus as far […]

REVIEW: The Last of England [1987]

“There are more walls in England than Berlin, Johnny” While the short poem Ford Madox Brown wrote to accompany his painting The Last of England has a hopeful lilt (“…She grips his listless hand and clasps her child, Through rainbow tears she sees a sunnier gleam, She cannot see a void where he will be.”), […]

REVIEW: War Requiem [1989]

“I knew we stood in Hell” English composer Benjamin Britten was commissioned to mark the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962 (after the original was destroyed during World War II). The result is his War Requiem, a work juxtaposing the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead with poetry written by World War I […]

REVIEW: Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In] [2001]

“She’s translating menus now too” With his theatrical debut Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In], German writer/director Christian Petzold proves his most recent pair of Barbara and Phoenix were born from a mind that had always been ready to tell stories of personal emotional strife within complex circumstances. The way in which he […]

REVIEW: Toni Erdmann [2016]

“That was real fear” I wasn’t sure what to think upon realizing it was Maren Ade who directed Toni Erdmann, the wild comedy that took Cannes by storm. Her previous film Alle Anderen was very much a drama—a fantastic one at that—and this switch brought intrigue. Now that I’ve finally seen it, however, it’s easy […]