Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

New York 2015 Review: BRIDGE OF SPIES, A Thrilling Throwback To An Earlier Era

The New York Film Festival's transition in the past few years from being more or less purely a showcase for the crème-de-la-crème of world cinema (which it still largely is) to being an increasingly prominent stop on the way to... More »

New York 2015 Review: Getting To Know DE PALMA's Rabbit

Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's documentary, De Palma, begins with its beloved subject discussing the first time he ever saw Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and the profound impact it had on his sense of storytelling and general cinematic philosophy. In discussing... More »
By Zach Gayne   

New York 2015 Review: The Tranquil Insanity of JUNUN

Paul Thomas Anderson has finally given the world a film that won't send its audiences into fits of over-thought analysis. By no means is this meant to imply that ruminating on PTA films isn't a source of great cinematic joy,... More »
By Zach Gayne   

New York 2015 Review: MIA MADRE Is An Elegant And Deeply Personal Film

Nanni Moretti's latest film, Mia Madre, is elegant, understated, and discreetly moving. A personal, if not autobiographical film, Mia Madre chronicles the slow death of a filmmaker's mother as the director struggles to complete her movie. Moretti experienced the hospitalization... More »
By Teresa Nieman   

New York 2015 Review: STEVE JOBS Is A Dud

The first question is: do we really need another Steve Jobs movie? Then, what merits does the life of the billionaire co-founder of Apple have, to prompt three movies (Jobs, Steve Jobs: the Man in the Machine, and now Steve... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2015 Review: Miguel Gomes' ARABIAN NIGHTS, Cinematic Highlight Of The Year

The last time I talked with Miguel Gomes, the subject of our conversation was not about his latest film, Tabu, but almost exclusively about the impact of the devastating austerity measure by the Portuguese government on the Portuguese film community... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2015 Review: LES COWBOYS, Wild West Tensions In Modern France

Thomas Bidegain's film, Les Cowboys, begins in a strange key, with a nuclear French family spending the day at an American Western-themed rodeo (not that there's any other real kind). It's clearly no casual affair for them, but a practiced... More »
By Teresa Nieman   

New York 2015 Review: CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, A Beautiful and Beguiling Waking Dream

The Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in his body of work consisting of six features, plus a number of short and medium length films, and also art installations, illuminates the landscapes of his native country in ways that often approximate trance-like... More »

New York 2014 Review: BIRDMAN, A Visual and Comedic Feast For The Eyes and Mind

This year's New York Film Festival came to a satisfying conclusion with one of its best selections, Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the oddly titled (and punctuated) fifth feature by acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Returning in... More »

New York 2014 Review: CITIZENFOUR, The Chilling Story Behind Edward Snowden's Explosive Revelations

In this year's New York Film Festival there were two gripping thrillers, both receiving their world premieres at the festival, and, intriguingly enough, both featuring moodily effective scores by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. One was David Fincher's novel adaptation... More »

New York 2014 Review: THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT Tells A Fiery Tale Of Words

Where to start reviewing a film like The 50 Year Argument? It's a question of approach that surely plagued Martin Scorsese when founding editor Robert B. Silvers first pitched him to tackle the subject of The New York Review of... More »
By Zach Gayne   

New York 2014 Review: Exorcising The Past in HORSE MONEY

Horse Money is astonishingly beautiful in its visual poetry! Pedro Costa, who wanted to capture the life in Lisbon's ghetto area called Fontainhas in the late 90s, made a beautiful film called Bones (Ossos). During the shoot, he saw much... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2014 Review: In MISUNDERSTOOD, A Little Girl Contends With A Family From Hell

Leo Tolstoy famously opened his classic novel Anna Karenina with this statement: "Happy families are all alike. But all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way." You'd be hard pressed to find a family much unhappier than the one... More »

New York 2014 Review: THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, Matias Pineiro's Beguiling Riff On Shakespeare

The Princess of France is Argentine director Matías Piñeiro's third entry in his series of Shakespeare-inspired films, which he calls his "Shakespearead." The first two of these were his 43-minute short Rosalinda (2011), inspired by "As You Like It," and... More »

New York 2014 Review: It's The Trip, Not The Destination, In INHERENT VICE

P. T. Anderson faithfully adapts Thomas Pynchon's most accessible novel, the zaniest surf noir, Inherent Vice. It is also the first time he's worked with a large ensemble cast since Magnolia. The result is often hilarious, a laborious snapshot of... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2014 Review: EDEN, An Ambitious Yet Personal Look at 90s Electronic Dance Music Scene

The other day, I saw a college kid wearing a T- shirt that said, "In school now just to be a wage slave later." I seriously considered giving the kid a hug. And I could've easily regarded it as some... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2014 Review: TIMBUKTU Is A Strong Condemnation Of Religious Extremism

Timbuktu, that faraway place, the end of the world, is an actual city in Northern Mali in Africa.  It was once a bustling trade town in sub-Saharan Africa and now famous for its fabulous architecture, libraries and scholars. Abderramane Sissako... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2014 Review: GONE GIRL, Meticulously Crafted And Unabashedly Trashy

Gone Girl, David Fincher's latest, and New York Film Festival opener, based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn, begins with a close-up of its central married couple, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Nick is gently... More »

New York 2014 Review: THE BLUE ROOM Shows Off Mathieu Amalric's Directing Chops

Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room is a hard film to like-- its tone is cold and distant. But it is precisely designed that way to accompany in showing the mind of its passive protagonist. Based on the book of the... More »
By Dustin Chang   

New York 2014 Review: 3D As Visual Art Form In Godard's GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE

3D seems like it is here to stay, for now. It was a gimmick to win back the audiences the film industry lost to the emergence of TV in the 50s, now it is revived as a last ditch effort... More »
By Dustin Chang   
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