Posted in: Review

Where Is Kyra?

There are plenty of easy jokes to make about the title of Where Is Kyra?, given how purposely underlit the entire movie is. But director and co-writer Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) takes everything about his story very, very seriously, which works when the movie is a low-key character study about a woman dealing with […]

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Outside In

Director Lynn Shelton’s most successful movies (including Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and Laggies) have deftly balanced emotionally resonant drama with gentle comedy, but with Outside In she leaves humor behind, telling a story that’s often powerful, even if it sometimes takes itself too seriously. Co-written by Shelton and Jay Duplass, Outside In stars Duplass as […]

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Midnight Sun

Teenager Katie Price (Bella Thorne), the main character of Midnight Sun, suffers from a real disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum, but she might as well suffer from movie-star-itis, given how conveniently the filmmakers mold the symptoms of the extraordinarily rare condition to the heavy-handed romantic tragedy they’re putting together. Based on a 2006 Japanese movie, […]

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I Kill Giants

The giants that young teenager Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) claims to kill in I Kill Giants are almost certainly not real, but for most of its running time, the movie remains successfully ambiguous about the nature of the creatures that Barbara believes are a threat to her small Long Island town. Sullen and apparently friendless, […]

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Red Sparrow

When the trailers for Red Sparrow were first released, they drew numerous comparisons to Marvel’s Black Widow character, a Russian spy trained from an early age at a strict school for secret agents, and then deployed on covert missions around the world. But the full movie of Red Sparrow shows just how different Dominika Egorova […]

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The Lodgers

The atmosphere is thick in Irish horror movie The Lodgers, both in director Brian O’Malley’s style and in the remote location of a crumbling rural estate. Shot at the real-life Loftus Hall, dubbed “the most haunted house in Ireland,” The Lodgers presents itself as a Gothic ghost story, but its hauntings are pretty mild, with […]

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Looking Glass

At this point, it’s not surprising to see Nicolas Cage starring in yet another cheap, trashy straight-to-VOD thriller; what’s more unusual is when he shows up in something a bit more ambitious, like recent festival favorites Mom and Dad and Mandy. Looking Glass falls in the former category, unfortunately, throwing Cage into a half-formed, vaguely […]

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Double Lover

Whatever its other flaws, French filmmaker François Ozon’s erotic thriller Double Lover certainly doesn’t hold back in its depiction of sexuality. The opening shot shows main character Chloé (Marine Vacth) getting what looks like a somewhat traumatic haircut, and Ozon cuts from there to an extreme close-up of his heroine’s genitals, as Chloé undergoes a […]

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A Ciambra

A minor character in writer-director Jonas Carpignano’s first feature, 2015’s Mediterranea, 14-year-old Pio (Pio Amato), a Romani living in the Italian port town of Gioia Tauro, takes center stage for Carpignano’s follow-up, the bleak but heartfelt coming-of-age drama A Ciambra. Born into a sprawling family of petty criminals living on the edges of society, Pio […]

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Person to Person

With its separate alternating stories, Dustin Guy Defa’s Person to Person at first seems like it might be the hipster version of intersecting-narrative dramas like Crash or Babel, but Defa isn’t interested in drawing pseudo-mind-blowing connections among the movie’s various threads. Instead he just plays each one out casually, like a stoner telling a rambling […]

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Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2017

The definition of “classic” can be pretty flexible at the TCM Classic Film Festival, but that’s part of what makes the event great: In addition to screening well-known, well-loved movies on the big screen, the annual event in Hollywood puts at least as much effort and attention into showing movies that are neither well-known nor […]

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The Girl With All the Gifts

Mike Carey’s 2014 novel The Girl With All the Gifts was one of the most successful genre releases of that year, nominated for a number of awards and acclaimed by critics and sci-fi/horror luminaries. Its film adaptation, written by Carey in tandem with the novel, has not been as successful, despite premiering at last year’s […]

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Things to Come

Although it shares an English-language title with a landmark science-fiction movie, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come (whose original French title literally translates as “the future”) is mainly about living in the present, and the difficulty of processing each moment as it comes. Philosophy professor Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) has her entire life upended over the […]

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Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2016

There are multiple ways to approach the TCM Classic Film Festival, all of them highly rewarding, and the annual event in Hollywood (now in its seventh year) has attracted such a growing audience that attendees might end up never even crossing paths, depending on their individual tastes. As the name indicates, the festival is the […]

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Southbound

Horror anthology films are often inconsistent in terms of both tone and quality, with segments that often feel like separate, unrelated movies simply packaged together (in some cases because they are). But the filmmakers behind Southbound worked together to create a uniquely seamless anthology, in which one story bleeds into the next so smoothly that […]

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Manson Family Vacation

Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass have leveraged their success to become something akin to indie-movie moguls, using their names as producers and presences as actors to help struggling filmmakers get their projects off the ground. The brothers’ latest protégé is writer-director J. Davis, whose debut feature Manson Family Vacation was produced by the Duplasses as […]