Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

Sidewalk Film Fest 2015 Review: THREE FINGERS, A Powerful Engagement With Trauma

While the average person in the United States might be familiar with the illness known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its prevalence among war veterans, it is arguably an 'invisible' illness (unlike the loss of a limb, for example)... More »
  

Locarno 2015 Review: RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN, Stars Shine In Classic Hong Sangsoo

Following Hong Sangsoo's career guarantees for viewers, at the very least, one thing - developing a keen eye for detail. The auteur's films are remarkably similar to one another, from their lecherous male director/professor characters and conversations over bottles of... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Lima 2015 Review: DOS BESOS, A Melodrama With Some Surprises

Peruvian director Francisco J. Lombardi has worked steadily since the late 70s, having made 18 films; not a small feat in a country where making movies is a difficult task. The Lima Film Festival is one of the longest running... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: NINA FOREVER Is A Threesome With Sex, Love And Death.

I had a university professor (English literature) who was fond of saying, "Nobody walks away happy from a threeway." I wonder what he would have to say about the Blaine Brothers' Nina Forever, a dark but droll relationship drama that... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Melbourne 2015 Review: DOWNRIVER Needs A Paddle

Downriver, the Australian feature debut from Grant Scicluna, certainly showed signs of promise: a dour but intensely quiet rumination of redemption set in a murky bush town filled with questionable characters. It certainly has the ingredients for an intriguing, mystery-fuelled thriller.... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: Time Travel Is A Bastard In SYNCHRONICITY

I never thought it would happen, but I have finally, personally, hit the wall with indie time travel flicks. Jacob Gentry's Synchronicity is not lacking in smarts or clockwork precision, but abjectly fails to convince in its core ideas of love... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Melbourne 2015 Review: Sebastian Silva Proves He's The NASTY BABY

Based on a true story (very loosely), Silva's latest film Nasty Baby is a completely misdirected comedy drama about a gay hipster couple, artist Freddy (Silva himself) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) who reside in Brooklyn and are trying to... More »
  

Melbourne 2015 Review: HOLDING THE MAN Explores Doomed Love Delicately

From Neil Armfield, the director of doomed addict romance Candy, comes his latest, also doomed romance Holding The Man. Another adaptation, this time based on the life memoirs of Timothy Conigrave and his epic love for partner John Caleo.... More »
  

Melbourne 2015 Review: SPEED SISTERS, A Slick And Slight Delight

Speed Sisters is a slick and entertaining documentary about a group of obsessed and undermined women who compete professionally in the West Bank rally race circuit. Providing a point of view that is strictly and politically feminine, the film surprisingly... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: Sono Sion's TAG, Sure There Are Lots Of Japanese Girls In It, But...

Sono Sion's Tag opens with two busloads of Japanese school girls on a trip. It's all soft focus sweetness and light until the buses are attacked by an unseen force - literally a killer wind - and shy teen Mitsuko... More »
By Andrew Mack   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: DARK PLACES, An Affecting Autopsy Of The 1980s Satanic Panic

1985. In a rural community of Kansas there was a young teenager named Ben Day (Tye Sheridan channelling Ezra Miller) who was very into the punk rock outfit The Misfits. He filled his sketchbooks with black-inked antichrist art, and was accused... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Durban 2015 Review: THE SHORE BREAK Tries To Stem The Tide, But Only Time Will Tell

The 36th Durban International Film Festival in South Africa has wrapped its annual showcase of international film, with this year's menu providing distinctly more African fare under the new directorship of Pedro Pimenta.  South African documentary The Shore Break is... More »
By Stuart Muller   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: CRUMBS Finds Ethiopia In Tarkovsky's Zone

Ethiopian post-apocalypse dystopian fairy tale Crumbs has a decaying handsomeness to match its unique vision. It has a confident and accomplished auteur unwillingness for either pandering or traditionally pleasing its audience, while simultaneously offering an archetypal hero-journey tale. If features an optimistic message... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

BiFan 2015 Review: DEADMAN INFERNO Pits Iconic Aikawa Sho Against The Undead

Director and comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa has focused his film career on mining the drama, and subsequent comedy found in the relationships between partners and prospective teammates. Debut feature Drop followed a juvenile delinquent group, Manzai Gang features similarly unruly youths... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: SHINJUKU SWAN, Sono's Glossy Yakuza Melodrama

The famous Shinjuku District in Tokyo is Times Square, The Vegas Strip and Magnificent Mile rolled into one (and multiplied by a hundred) is ward of so much light there is not an inch of darkness on the pavement, but... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: Much Love for Sono's LOVE & PEACE

It's fair to say my appreciation for the films of Sono Sion runs hot and cold. I was hot on Cold Fish, a near perfect blend of raw, visceral violence both emotional and physical, all told through a narrative... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: TALES OF HALLOWEEN, A Pumpkin-Flavored Love Letter From Hell

Horror anthologies have made a pretty healthy comeback in the last few years; some are ok, some are regrettable, and some have awesome production values as well as good stories, such as Tales Of Halloween, which sold out its world... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: FATAL FRAME Has No Shortage Of Beautiful Images

Oh J-Horror! It has been years since you were worth my cinematic time. From your heyday in the late 1990s -- Ringu, Dark Water, Ju-On and Pulse -- to Sono Sion putting a very sharp fork into you in the mid-aughts with Exte:... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE INTERIOR Exquisitely Balances Comedy And Horror

Somewhere up there in heaven (or hell) Samuel Beckett and Henry David Thoreau are tipping their coffee cups towards Trevor Juras' The Interior. For a first feature, this film is not only fully realized and confident, but has a deep understanding... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE DARK BELOW Will Make Your Blood Run Cold

Here's a new kind of chiller, for real. The Dark Below, which screened for the first time ever at Fantasia 2015, features a woman trapped in a frozen lake for nearly the whole length of the film. It was shot... More »
  
 
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