REVIEW: Mia madre [2015]

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“You don’t know how you hurt the ones you love” Life is a struggle right now for Margherita (Margherita Buy), an exacting film director who’s discovered she’s lost her grip on reality. She’s an artist with vision that seeks perfection in everyone, including herself. Do the work and good things happen. Figure out the problem […]

REVIEW: No Home Movie [2016]

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“When I see you like that I want to squeeze you in my arms” I didn’t want Chantal Akerman‘s last film No Home Movie to be the first of hers I watched, but circumstances didn’t comply. The personal documentary’s brief history is intriguing with critical consensus seeming to be skew towards failure before her suicide […]

REVIEW: 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen] [1971]

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“One should rather believe in ghosts than not” It’s enlightening to read writer/director King Hu‘s press notes that accompanied the Cannes premiere of his then newly-cut 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen]. 1975 was four years removed from the film’s original release—as two parts, a format his producers demanded to try recouping some of […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: テラフォーマーズ [Tera Fōmāzu] [Terra Formars] [2016]

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“Johj!” It’s the tail end of the twenty-first century and Earth has nearly overstayed its welcome with dwindling resources and over-population. Scientists believe they can release the CO2 pockets underneath Mars’ surface and move the Red Planet from -50 degrees Celsius into a human-friendly temperature and atmosphere. So mankind sends rockets of moss and cockroaches […]

FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Shelley [2016]

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“But it’s not just about the money” Everything starts so innocently that you’d be hard-pressed to realize Ali Abbasi‘s Shelley is a horror film besides the score’s dread-inducing soundscape rising to a deafening level of static. Sure the setting’s weird with Louise (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) and Kasper (Peter Christoffersen) living in the Danish woods without […]

REVIEW: Supot [2016]

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“What if I can’t stand the pain?” For some rural villages in the Philippines circumcision is a rite of passage for young boys. We’re not talking surgical removal by a doctor as a baby, though. This tradition takes place at age ten by a designated patriarch with a sharpened blade and rock. Each boy soaks […]

REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]

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“Loneliness is a terrible thing” While a romance on its surface, Catherine Corsini‘s La belle saison [Summertime] is really about freedom. The central relationship between Delphine (Izïa Higelin) and Carole (Cécile De France) pushes them to discover their personal identities removed from any union. The former is a farm girl yearning to break from the […]

REVIEW: Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] [2016]

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“They are all the same except for their names” Writer/director Tofiq Rzayev‘s latest short Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] appears to have a lot to say beneath its melodramatic plot. I’m just not sure exactly what it is. This could be a “lost in translation” case, but I found it difficult to […]

REVIEW: Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle [The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser] [1974]

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“I want to be a gallant rider like my father was before me” If any true story of mystery and perhaps madness were to align itself with Werner Herzog‘s sensibilities, that of young Kaspar Hauser is it. Here was a seventeen-year old boy found standing in Nuremburg clutching a note addressed to the cavalry captain. […]

REVIEW: Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, Wrath of God] [1972]

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“Meat is floating by” Talk about the heart of darkness. It’s completely unsurprising that Francis Ford Coppola would admit to using Werner Herzog‘s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, the Wrath of God] as inspiration for his Apocalypse Now because they epitomize the stark moral depravity of warped conquering “heroes”. The quiet rage underlying every action […]

REVIEW: Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] [2012]

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“Are you still serving coffee?” German Academy Award-sweeping Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] is a day in the life of a Berliner slacker named Niko Fischer (Tom Schilling). He’s a law school dropout that’s been living off the thousand-dollar-a-week allowance his father continuously supplies under the auspices that it’s being used for college. He […]