Browsing: Film Reviews

Matt Spicer’s bitter comedy of the absurd follows Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza, deadpan but with a manic edge), a depressed twentysomething who inherits $60,000 from her mother and uses the money to move to California, inspired by Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram influencer she read about in Elle. Taylor’s bio is a sincere string of platitudes: “Treasure hunter. Castle builder. Proud Angeleno.” Ingrid pilfers tips on how to curate the right kind of cool from Taylor’s social media feeds and it’s not long before the young women become “BEST friends”, shopping for artisanal lamps and alternating margaritas with lines of…

Building on the surprising success of his English language debut The Lobster, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos puts a further deadpan spin on the horror genre with his new film The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a fatalistic and at times morbidly funny tale in which the sins of a father are visited upon his family in bizarre and horrifying ways. A Greek tragedy transplanted to the decorous environs of New York’s bourgeois professional classes, it stars Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy, a heart surgeon with a seemingly picture-perfect life. His wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) is a successful optometrist and their…

“My Brother, Khosro”, an intelligent movie, deals with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family that one of its members has a mental problem. Understanding, reactions and problems of the family members with this issue, has consequences that just knowing of it melts anyone’s heart. * The older brother of Khosro, Nasser, has a cliche life style and has made an ivory tower for himself from traditional social rules. Nasser and his wife are both dentists, his wife is in the last months of her second pregnancy. Their first child,…

Oil painting was arguably the dominant visual art form for nearly 500 years before being replaced in the early 20th century by film. But no one has had the courage to fully combine the two mediums until now. Loving Vincent, an astonishingly beautiful new movie about the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, is the brainchild of Polish filmmaker Dorota Kobiela, who directed it with English moviemaker Hugh Welchman and wrote it with Welchman and fellow Pole Jacek Dehnel. It took them and a team of more than 100 artists over six years to hand-paint the film’s 65,000 frames.…

This absurdist drama is a departure for France’s rom-com topliner Virginie Efira. Here she stars as Victoria, a fast-sinking lawyer and borderline sex-addict at loggerheads with an ex-husband set on exposing her every tryst on his incendiary blog.To make matters worse, she is roped into defending a friend accused of stabbing his fiancée at a wedding. It all spirals into mayhem when the only witness, a guest’s monkey, takes to the stand in the most bizarre murder trial in cinematic (and legal) history. Against all odds, the manic comedy and its lead scooped Césars nominations for best film and actress. Lurching between…

When you see eyes glow in the dark, you are probably not among friends. That is one cinema trope that comes to bear in “Spoor,” a new Polish thriller in which a forest becomes littered with the bodies of hunters. But while the mysterious eyes at night and hoofprints in the snow are visible to Janina Duszejko (Agnieska Mandat), an Earth Mother who communes with Nature and lives alone in a cabin in the woods, she has a hard time convincing the local police and prosecutor that animals are tied to a spate of deaths. That’s just too weird. But…

This handsome French/Czechproduced biopic from Stéphanie Di Giusto (adapting Giovanni Lista’s novel) is a sprawling, awkward and melodramatic piece that features a jumbled last quarter. The performances save it, however, with striking star Soko (AKA Stéphanie Sokolinski) shining in a characterisation of great intensity, serious sensuality and what looks like genuine sweat and pain. Marie Louise Fuller (Soko) is introduced living with her showboating French father Ruben (fabulous Denis Ménochet) in late-19th Century American Midwest. When he’s murdered, she retreats to New York and lives for a time with her uptight mother Lili (Amanda Plummer), whose association with the Temperance…

At the start of the Slovak drama “The Teacher,” a well-dressed, middle-aged woman enters a classroom with a confident strut and a smile on her face. After a brief introduction, she asks the students to tell the class two specific bits of information: their name and their parents’ line of work. The reason for this question becomes clear early in the film, a well-acted but rather dry and monotonous look at life in early ’80s Bratislava. The city was then in Czechoslovakia; post-Velvet Revolution, it is now part of Slovakia. In 1983, the Communist Party still ruled. Its power was…

Over the past 35 years and more than a dozen feature films, Aki Kaurismäki has maintained, along with cinematographer Timo Salminen, a distinctive aesthetic that uses high-contrast lighting, close-ups, and stoic faces to achieve a deadpan style perched somewhere between the sardonic and the severe. The Other Side of Hope upholds that standard, and follows on the heels of Le Havre, the writer-director’s 2011 film about a young Gabonian refugee on the run in the titular port city, with the tale of Khaled (Sherwan Haji), a Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Finland. Kaurismäki has spoken of this film as being…

very year, summer gives way to fall, and in movie theaters, blockbusters give way to awards contenders. On this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, film critic Bob Mondello of All Things Considered and I spoke with Tasha Robinson of The Verge and film writer Bilal Qureshi about some of what we all saw at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off the fall movie season. But if you need a list to carry in your pocket, Bob and I put together this rundown of some of the best, buzziest and otherwise noteworthy films coming to you over the next few months. (Keep in mind that release dates are…

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