Berlinale 2014 Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Looks Spectacular, But Story Fails

In the 21st century, how is one to present a fairy tale? There are stories ripe with opportunity to create great visual, frequently with lots of action, but the stereotyping, themes, and gender representation can be a bit tricky in... More »
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: ALOFT Doesn't Quite Soar

The sense of touch can be tricky to convey in film. A filmmaker must rely upon visually accurate information in order for the spectator to 'feel' the sensation. Touch is very prominent in director and writer Claudia Llosa's Aloft, how... More »
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: SPROUT's Short and Sweet Seoul Odyssey

A little girl's trip to the market becomes a charming journey through modern Korea in Yoon Ga-eun's delightful short film Sprout, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival last October. Korean indie cinema often makes a point of demonstrating... More »
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: HISTORY OF FEAR Is Brooding, Atmospheric, And Glacially Slow

History of Fear is set in an unnamed Argentine suburb, an idyllic community where rich families' vast estates are bordered on every side by barbwire fences and imposing gates. The presumed effect is to keep the people inside safe, but... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY Proves Middlebrow Is Timeless

They've been making movies like The Two Faces of January since before they made movies. A graying man, his blonde haired bride, and the younger man who comes between them. Crime and chase amidst sun dappled vistas. Cops and con... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, An Ode To Joy

Regrettably, Beethoven got there first. In another world, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a celebration of wit and style and class, an example of a technical master working at the top of his craft, a work as warm and genuinely funny... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: THE MIDNIGHT AFTER, Fruit Chan's Maddening Pop-Art Apocalypse

It should have been clear as soon as the title, "Based on the novel by PIZZA", rolled onscreen. Fruit Chan's The Midnight After was sure to be loopy, irreverent and a rare kind of crazy. And it was! But... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: Subdued Yet Powerful, NIGHT FLIGHT Soars

LeeSong Hee-il returns to Berlin a year after White Night (2012) with his fourth feature Night Flight. While his last film was a subdued but powerful work about lingering memories of homophobia in modern Seoul, his new film is his... More »
  

LA Film Fest 2013 Review: NOBODY'S DAUGHTER HAEWON And The Endearing Art Of Wandering

I've got a confession to make: Until last night I'd never seen a film by Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo (In Another Country, Woman Is The Future Of Man). So Why was that? My reasons in the past were fleeting, entirely... More »
  

Berlinale 2013 Review: COMPUTER CHESS Wins, Despite Its Bold Moves

Despite the fact that Computer Chess is a movie about programmers competing to change the way humans perceive computers, it's about as far removed from the cutthroat melodrama of The Social Network or Pirates of Silicon Valley as a movie... More »
  

Berlinale 2013 Review: VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR Is Bold, Strange And Surprisingly Dull

As the title suggests, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear is a determinedly strange, offbeat film. It's like a juggler with a dozen balls who keeps going, completely indifferent to the fact that he's dropping balls left and right. Of... More »
  

Berlinale 2013 Review: GLORIA Is A Joyful, Tragi-Comic Reminder To Keep On Truckin'

Sure, the Berlinale competition slate this year is jam-packed with self-serious films about lesbian nuns, lesbian ex-convicts, German cowboys and insane sculptors, but, the most honest, touching and even unique film thus far is actually a hilarious, honest Chilean character... More »
  

Berlinale 2013 Review: Ulrich Seidl's PARADISE: HOPE Is A Surprisingly Comic Diet Camp Love Story

Ulrich Seidl's third part of his controversial "Paradise" trilogy, as expected, breaks taboos and offers plenty of squirm-inducing depictions of raw, socially unacceptable emotions... but oddly, it's also a really silly movie. In fact, most of the film, set in... More »
  

Berlin 2013 Review: Sam Rockwell Breaks Age-Old Movie Rule in A SINGLE SHOT

Briefcases full of money are bad news. Terrible news, even. If you see a briefcase full of money, run as far away from it as you can, and maybe stay inside for a few days just to be safe. You... More »
  

Berlinale 2013 Review: The Fascinating Mysteries Of I'M NOT DEAD

The opening credits to I'm Not Dead play over an intense string number that immediately calls to mind Hitchcock thrillers of yesteryear. While in many ways Mehdi Ben Attia's film is far more intimate and ambiguous (at least on the... More »
  

Review: TABU is a Glorious Celebration of Cinema and Crocodiles

Tabu calls to mind the oft-repeated comparison between film directors and magicians. Indeed, how else but with magic could Portuguese director Miguel Gomes have created such a joyful, enthralling film from this wild mix of historical adventure, deadpan humor, romance,... More »
  

Review: HINDSIGHT

There's a terrific story lost somewhere inside Lee Hyun-Seung's Hindsight. That's part of the problem, really - there's enough different ideas for an epic, even a miniseries. An amiable jopok enforcer trying to go straight. A hotly contested last will... More »
  

Berlin 2012 Review: Álex de la Iglesia's AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT

In his follow up to The Last Circus, As Luck Would Have It (La Chispa de la Vida), Álex De La Iglesia moves out from under the literal big top and sets his sites on the mass media --... More »
  

Berlin 2012 Review: TABU is a Glorious Celebration of Cinema and Crocodiles

Tabu calls to mind the oft-repeated comparison between film directors and magicians. Indeed, how else but with magic could Portuguese director Miguel Gomes have created such a joyful, enthralling film from this wild mix of historical adventure, deadpan humor,... More »
  

Berlin 2012 Review: JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR

Despite the impressive cast and generally positive word of mouth, I still sat down to Billy Bob Thornton's Jayne Mansfield's Car wondering, "Does anybody really need another nostalgic family comedy/drama? What could Thornton possibly have to add to this well-worn... More »
  
 
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