AFRIFF 2014 Review: OJUJU Is A Promising Effort From An Obvious Talent

Winner of the Best Nigerian Film at the just completed Africa International Film Festival in Calabar - a prize it won over vastly higher budgeted major players from within the established Nigerian industry - CJ 'Fiery' Obasi's Ojuju is an... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

AFRIFF 2014 Review: COZ OV MONI 2 Is A Ridiculously Good Time

Several days on from screening Ghanaian musical duo FOKN Bois' Coz Ov Moni 2: Fokn Revenge - a film they bill as "the world's second first pidgen musical" - I am left with one certainty and one question. The certainty?... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Cairo 2014 Review: THE CHALLAT OF TUNIS, Brilliant And Disturbing Satire

The words 'satire' and 'mockumentary', when referring to films, might automatically be thought to reference humour. But there is no humour, except very dark, in director Kaouther Ben Hania's brilliant The Challat of Tunis. It is a searing portrait of... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his... More »
  

Review: FISHING WITHOUT NETS Expertly Expands the Somali Pirate Story

You'd be excused for a slight case of déjà vu when reading the description of Cutter Hodierne's feature debut Fishing Without Nets. Somali pirates have been a hot topic lately with both Danish film A Hijacking and Paul Greengrass's Tom... More »
  

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 »
  

Toronto 2014 Review: RUN Finds Thrilling Drama In Fractured Character Study

Ivorian Philippe Lacôte's film Run is a brash fiction debut for this documentarian. The film begins with an off-camera assassination, and through a series of concentric flashback's we're told the story of Run. Part gangster and part activist, Run... More »
  

Durban 2014 Review: Documentary Short THE LAST BOERS OF PATAGONIA Is Sumptuous And Stirring

Around the turn of the 19th century, a few Boer families - Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch settlers in what is now South Africa - fled the country to escape persecution by the British during the Anglo-Boer Wars. A... More »
  

Durban 2014 Review: COLD HARBOUR Gets Moody About Corruption

Another South African film at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) brings another challenging reflection on the country's modern identity. This time, it's Carey McKenzie tackling corruption with her moody and noirish crime thriller, Cold Harbour, which just had its world... More »
  

Durban 2014 Review: Kenyan Crime Thriller VEVE Is A Damp Misfire

Though it boasts handsome production values and Tom Tykwer amongst its producer team, Kenyan crime thriller Veve is otherwise a catalog of missed and squandered opportunities, a thriller that simply fails to thrill thanks to a script overstuffed with unengaging... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Durban 2014 Review: LOVE THE ONE YOU LOVE Is A Luminous, Perplexing, Engrossing Debut

Kennel worker Sandile and phone sex operator Terri have an unusual problem: Their life together is too good. They're perfect together. Their friends say so, holding the duo up as the ideal to which they aspire. Sandile's mother is pressing... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Durban 2014 Review: BETI AND AMARE Is A Bizarre Ethiopian Oddity

It is 1936 and Mussolini is on the move, the fascist leader's troops pressing into Ethiopia to increase their foothold in Africa. Fearing the worst teenaged girl Beti is sent away from the big city by her mother to live... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Durban 2014 Review: 1994 THE BLOODY MIRACLE

"The true miracle of the 1994 elections, is that they happened at all. If this was a miracle, it was a truly bloody one." John Kani, narrating for 1994 The Bloody Miracle.1994 The Bloody Miracle, a documentary three years in... More »
  

Durban 2014 Review: HARD TO GET Is Easy To Love

Over the past few years there has been an unmistakable sense that South Africa is a film nation on the rise and if that is, indeed, the case then its continued ascent will rest on the shoulders of bright young... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Sundance 2014 Review: FISHING WITHOUT NETS Expertly Expands the Somali Pirate Story

You'd be excused for a slight case of déjà vu when reading the description of Cutter Hodierne's feature debut Fishing Without Nets. Somali pirates have been a hot topic lately with both Danish film A Hijacking and Paul Greengrass's Tom... More »
  

Review: MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM Never Stops To Plant Its Feet

Idris Elba is a mighty fine actor, and he gives a very striking impersonation of Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. More's the pity, then, that the film, directed by Justin Chadwick, comes across as headlines dramatized from... More »
  

TIFF 2013 Review: iNUMBER NUMBER Brings Reservoir Dogs To South Africa

Sweating men, decaying industrial wasteland and corruption of all stripes are all front and center in iNumber Number, an esoteric name for a movie that is all other respects is tight as drumskin.  Consider it Reservoir Rats, only replace Tarantino's... More »
  

Review: CALL ME KUCHU Sheds Light on Gays' Plight in Uganda

There hasn't been a lot of good P.R. for civil rights in Uganda in the last few years, what with its parliament's proposed legislation that would make homosexual activity punishable by death. Call Me Kuchu, a powerful documentary by first-time... More »
  

Review: The Paul Walker Vehicle VEHICLE 19 Is Fast And Thoughtful

Michael Woods (Paul Walker) is eager to reconnect with his ex-wife. So eager in fact that he travels to South Africa where she works at the US embassy. As soon as he arrives he hires a car, is given the... More »
  

Hot Docs 2013 Review: WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL Subverts the Expected TEDtalk Narrative

What exactly is William and The Windmill about?  Is it the story of a resourceful and ingenious young Malawi boy who builds a windmill from available detritus using diagrams in a book so his parents have a way to... More »
  
 
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