REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

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“Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

REVIEW: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [2014]

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“Are you a good boy or not?” The comparisons are so spot-on that I knew critics before me had made the same parallels before even looking. Ana Lily Amirpour‘s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is Jim Jarmusch cool with Quentin Tarantino swagger—an Iranian Vampire Western calling to mind Dead Man and […]

REVIEW: Левиафан [Leviafan] [Leviathan] [2014]

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“These animals are not the whole town” It doesn’t get much bleaker or more cynical than Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Левиафан [Leviathan]. He and cowriter Oleg Negin were inspired by many stories—”killdozer” rampage orchestrator Marvin Heemeyer, the Bible’s Job and King Ahab, and Heinrich von Kleist’s novella Michael Kohlhaas—all of which I know nothing about. Reading a […]

REVIEW: かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] [2013]

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“That was Heaven telling us who she’d grow into” There is no questioning whether かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] is an extraordinary work of art. The beauty of its simplistic, watercolor ink-lined drawings is a breath of fresh air within a medium of 3D-rendered characters trying so hard to not […]

REVIEW: La Parka [The Reaper] [2013]

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“It’s your turn now” With thought provoking musings on life and death, La Parka [The Reaper] provides a unique look at Mexican slaughterhouse employee Efraín Jiménez García. A husband and father who walked by the business one day to see a “Now Hiring” sign, Efraín has worked his way up from waste sweeper to killer […]

REVIEW: Nasza klatwa [Our Curse] [2014]

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“Except that for him everything is just a beginning” After culling together home videos documenting the early days of his son Leo Hueckel-Sliwinski‘s life along with brief one-shots of cathartic conversations had between he and wife Magda Hueckel into a seven-minute short three years ago, Tomasz Sliwinski expands their harrowing tale via the half hour […]

REVIEW: Parvaneh [2012]

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“Sorry, can you help send money?” The human condition is on display in Talkhon Hamzavi‘s Parvaneh. Or at least a very optimistic view of what it could and should be whether it takes a little while to get there or not. We like to think there is a universal concept of goodness in us all, […]

REVIEW: La lampe au beurre de yak [Butter Lamp] [2014]

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“Go and look at yourself on the photos” The butter lamp is a traditional feature of Tibetan temples and monasteries as a representation of wisdom’s illumination. The light removes the darkness of the mind to focus it and aid meditation. As Buddhists ignite a number of these lamps for funerals and pilgrimages as a way […]

REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

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“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like […]

REVIEW: Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] [2014]

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“You mustn’t cry” Leave it to Marion Cotillard to take an otherwise workmanlike film and make it into a must-see. On the surface Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] is simply a series of emotionally reactive moments responding to a decision unfairly placed on the shoulders of blue-collar employees at the local solar […]

REVIEW: אפס ביחסי אנוש [Zero Motivation] [2014]

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“Paper Shredding NCO is what you make it” When thinking about the Israeli army, images of badass Mossad agents covertly wreaking havoc across the world crop up. It’s a hyperbolic generalization, but that’s kind of the flavor our media delivers being that the country is such a strong defensive ally of the US. We’re to […]