Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

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 […]

Posted in: Review

Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2015

At the sixth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the big closing-night world premiere was a silent movie from 1919 that almost no one had seen in 80 years, and the in-demand sell-outs were obscure 1940s film noirs and a pre-Code battle-of-the-sexes comedy. That’s the delightful alternate world of this festival, which has grown […]

Posted in: Review

Zombeavers

The title of Zombeavers alone gives potential viewers a pretty good idea of whether they’d want to see it or not. If your first reaction is laughter or excitement, then you’ll probably get some enjoyment out of Jordan Rubin’s silly (although perhaps not silly enough) horror-comedy. But if your first reaction is to groan and shake […]

Posted in: Review

Amira & Sam

It’s tempting to give writer-director Sean Mullin extra credit for putting a spotlight on under-represented characters in his limp romantic dramedy Amira & Sam, but when those characters are drawn so poorly and stuck in such a contrived, flimsy story, their mere presence onscreen isn’t enough. The title characters are U.S. Army veteran Sam (Martin […]

Posted in: Review

Willow Creek

Nothing in Bobcat Goldthwait’s history as a filmmaker or an actor indicates that he’d be the guy to make a found-footage horror movie about Bigfoot, but given the distinctive edge he’s brought to his efforts as a writer-director (including Sleeping Dogs Lie and World’s Greatest Dad), there’s reason to hope he might bring something original […]