Berlinale 2015 Review: IEC LONG, A Haunting Exploration Of Macau's Lost Firecracker Industry

Chinese rockets explode in front of our curious eyes, and disappear in the black clouds of a nocturnal sky. The past haunts our ruins, overlapping times consisting of moving photographs and still film images. An old man has worked in... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: FISH TAIL, Political And Personal Poetry Of Poverty

Fish Tail by Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel is an essayistic scream for freedom beyond globalization. Set in the village of Rabo de Peixe (translates "fish tail") on the Azores, this follow-up to Pinto's acclaimed What Now? Remind Me is... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: 45 YEARS, A Heart-Wrenching Look At Late Marriage

How much can, or should we, let the past affect the present? If our lives went one way instead of another, can we mourn too much what we didn't have? If you think you were not your spouse's only great... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: AFERIM!, A Gorgeous And Angry Road Trip Through Romania's Past

For over a decade Romanian Cinema has produced many breathtakingly great films and directors like Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Cristian Mungiu or Călin Peter Netzer have gained international recognition and are household names in world cinema. The usual term of... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, Not That Terrible

Not wanting to be a snob, I attempted to read Fifty Shades of Grey, the bestseller inspired by the Twilight books (which I also haven't read). It's quite badly written, but hey, it was popular, so maybe I was missing... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: KNIGHT OF CUPS Sees Malick Repurposed

Rejoice ye fans of Malick - your wily transcendentalist has emerged again! And though the film doesn't equal (ahem... transcend) his previous highs, Knight Of Cups at least finds the idiosyncratic auteur trying something new. Malick's style remains the same;... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: AS WE WERE DREAMING Dreams About Lost Emotions But Never Really Touches

Andreas Dresen's As We Were Dreaming, an adaptation of a German bestselling novel by Clemens Meyer, tries to change our perception of what happened in East Germany in the time after the collapse of the Berlin wall. Instead of presenting... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: MR. HOLMES, A Fine Engagement With Age And Atonement

According to Guiness World Records, Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed fictional character, by more than 70 actors in over 200 films, plays and television shows. I haven't seen all of those, but Ian McKellen can certainly put his performance... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: QUEEN OF EARTH Proves How Great Faces Look On Film

Alex Ross Perry is a more than promising young director. He courageously combines intimacy, humor and a sense for cinematic language and form. Nevertheless, his latest, Queen of Earth, is a step back for the young director in terms of maturity... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: MAR Fails To Capitalize On Its Great Actors And Their Improvisational Skills

Chilean cinema, more than in any other year in the history of the Berlin Film Festival, is present and with the greatest odds to win one or two awards once the fest comes to an end. There are new films by... More »
  

Berlinale 2015 Review: NOBODY WANTS THE NIGHT: A Beautiful But Flawed Epic

Spanish auteur Isabel Coixet (Elegy, My Life Without Me) opened Berlinale with her latest and most ambitious film to date, Nobody Wants the Night. Based on real life persons (though it was unclear whether the events actually occurred), it is... More »
  

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 »
By Pierce Conran   
  

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 »
By Pierce Conran   
  

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 »
By Ben Umstead   
  
 
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