Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

Slamdance 2016 Review: IF THERE'S A HELL BELOW Offers Prime Post-Snowden Intrigue

Nathan Williams' debut feature steps onto the independent film stage with the calm, steady aim of a confident marksman ready to make the shot. A meticulously crafted tale of government secrets and whistle blowers in a post Edward Snowden world,... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: EXCURSIONS, The Best Worst Trip

Sometimes you just have to get away. Far, far away. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. And sometimes those trees seem to get to talking to you. Fuck. Filmmakers Daniel Martinico & Hugo Armstrong came to Slamdance... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: EMBERS, Fresh And Fascinating Sci-Fi

When we talk about ourselves we are building the conversation off a varied, often strange and impressionistic collection of moments stored over the culminating years of our lives. When we talk about ourselves, we talk about our memories. The time... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DRIFTWOOD, On The Strange Life Of Objects

Against the onslaught of the crashing surf we arise into a world of soft, foaming white. From a distance, we can make out an approaching figure. Soon we see it's a she, a young woman, soaked to the bone, shivering... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: DEAD HANDS DIG DEEP Only Scratches The Surface

There is much within Jai Love's Dead Hands Dig Deep (which premiered at Slamdance 2016 tonight) that is meant to shock us --- from footage of genitals and other body parts being pierced with screws and bolts, to a flap of skin... More »
  

Slamdance 2016 Review: MAD Finds The Humor In Sadness

Robert G. Putka has built up a smart and sharp filmography of shorts over the last half decade, emphasizing rich, rude and raw performances, deriving his drama and comedy with character first. MAD, his feature debut, is as charming as... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: YOSEMITE Beautifully Captures The Fearful Majesty Of Boyhood

What is it about childhood that makes us adults so wary of who we once were? Perhaps it is that great fear of the unknown, a shadow, a whisper of adulthood that scares us as children into submission of these... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE, DIY Terror At Its Very Best

It begins in the dark hollows of your mind. But you can feel it in your heart. Pumping through your veins. The notion that something is wrong. That the world is wrong. That reality is not what it seems. That... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: CONCRETE LOVE, An Intimate, Immaculate Look At A Family Of Architects

We all wish to be immortalized in some way. To be remembered for something extraordinary or meaningful. Most of us will be remembered by the way we loved, who we loved and how we loved. It is what we do... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: BIRDS OF NEPTUNE, Of Malady And Mysticism

Cinema has a way of acting like an echo chamber. it locks us into a space where we are asked to face up to ourselves through the guise of others: Our own doubts, and fears projected on the screen, looking... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: FEMALE PERVERT Cuts Cute With Gender Roles

Sex. We wouldn't be here without it. And we sure do like it. But who wants to talk about it? Especially all those particulars...Filmmaker Jiyoung Lee is ready to though, and her intelligent, equally charming and cheeky examination on female... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: RATTER, A New High Mark In Cyber-Suspense

Since the very beginning of the medium, cinema has been inextricably linked to voyeurism.For to see, we have to look. And sometimes that's in wrong or uncomfortable places. We are, as an audience -- at home, in the theater, sitting... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2015 Review: TIRED MOONLIGHT, An Effervescent, Enchanting Debut

Britni West's debut feature is sure to be the most enchanting feature at this year's Slamdance. An ode to small town America, every moment in West's film is is one of effervescent discovery, culling childhood wonder and adult wanderlust with... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2014 Review: SOMETIMES I DREAM I'M FLYING Considers The Form Of Ballet With Grace

I recently told a friend that one of my dreams was to see The Rite Of Spring performed as full-on a ballet. I said that really just thinking of Stravinsky's music -- as most of us probably do -- and... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2014 Review: LOVE STEAKS Is Bold, Brash And Beautifully Ugly

A flash in the pan. Hands on a middle aged body. Scented oils. Grease. Steaks sizzling. Hips. Thighs. Raw meat. Chakras. Auras. A slab of frozen lamb. The fizz-boom-fizz of industrial music kicking our ears in. The images keep pummeling... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2014 Review: ELLIOT Will Make You Believe In Canada's First Action Hero

Yes. You read that right. Canada's first action hero. China has Jackie Chan and Jet Li. America has Arnold and Sly. Europe has Jean-Claude Van Damme. And if Elliot Scott has his way, Canada will have... Elliot "White Lightning" Scott.... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2014 Review: COPENHAGEN, A Heartfelt Ode To The City, To Sorrow, And To Change

William is a twenty-something American traveling in Europe. Except he's Canadian 'cause "that's still a thing right?" He's obnoxious, rude, a veritable asshole, putting anything he's got left (a potent mix of self-loathing, male ego and hormones) into drinking and... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2014 Review: LITTLE HOPE WAS ARSON Finds Forgivness In Darkness Alight

I've never been one to articulate very well my stance on documentaries as a storytelling medium. Ironic perhaps given my standing here at Twitch, but I can count on own my two hands the number of docs I've reviewed (though... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: DIAMOND ON VINYL Strikes A Provocative Groove

Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation and Brian de Palma's Blow Out are two films in the American cinematic canon that present to their audiences worlds of conspiracy and voyeurism through the provocative role of the audiophile. No less important or... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Slamdance 2013 Review: DOMESTIC Finds Its Bliss

Adrian Sitaru's third feature Domestic begins with the residents of an apartment building in modern Romania gathering in the lobby to discuss with their building president Mr. Lazar (Adrian Titieni) the pesky presence of one mangy mutt whose been hanging... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  
 
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