Film Review

The Neon Demon or Another Reason to Hate Top Models and Danish-Born Directors

The Danish-born director, Nicolas Winding Refn, has helmed a few popular movies such as Drive (2011), Bronson (2008), and the Pusher trilogy. This success has been only slightly marred by a handful of far-less-favored works including Fear X (2003) and Only God Forgives (2013) starring Ryan Gosling. Read more »

Hany Abu-Assad: Being a Savior is a Burden

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards," noted Soren Kierkgaard, but what if you don't see much of a future for yourself and those around you? Will you just become mired in the past? That's the plight of many of the characters in the critically acclaimed offerings of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, whose contentious works have twice been nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscars: Paradise Now in 2006 and Omar in 2014. Read more »

Susan Sarandon’s Mommy Issues

What happens when the private persona of a performer bleeds over into the public creative sphere? The line is so fragile it often rends our ability to lose ourselves in the fictional world of art. Read more »

Tribeca Review: Bugs or “Waiter, Can You Put a Fly in My Soup?”

Will maggot fat oust coconut oil as a foodie favorite? Is PepsiCo replacing the corn flour in its Fritos with ground cricket corpses? And, hey! Who doesn't want to bite into some chicken with garlic and saffron sauce topped with crumbled buffalo worms?

Answers: Possibly. Not yet. Less people than you might think. Read more »

Not Everybody Wants Some

Everybody Wants Some directed and written by the Texas-based Richard Linklater, and billed as "the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused," is not very good. First and foremost it lacks any real narrative. It's more of a tone poem on a place and time in history. In this case, the year is 1980 and the campus is an East Texas college and horn-dogs of that college's baseball team -- a collection of predictable cliches that we've seen better served in better period piece comedies. It's not nearly as funny as Animal House or insightful or enlightening. Look, I was in my senior year of college in 1980 and in a fraternity much hornier and crazier than this fictitious baseball team.   Read more »

A New Hitchcock Moves into 10 Cloverfield Lane

"It's a real potboiler that is boiling and boiling and boiling and erupts in a way that few films ever do," director Dan Trachtenberg, 34, exclaimed over his first full-length feature, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Well, it's certainly hard to argue with him. Read more »

The Club

Pablo Larraín's latest release, The Club, has been the recipient of a variety of awards including the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Best Film at Fantastic Fest, Chile's official Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film 2016. Diving into the secretive world of religious exile, Larraín investigates the shrouded lives of 4 men with existence-shattering pasts, whose futures are both stifled and protected by the Catholic Church. Read more »

Amos Gitai’s Rabin, The Last Day: The Moment Israeli Society Went Kaboom!

Amos Gitai. If you can recall when Vincent D'Onofrio was sexy, Gitai has that sort of confrontational charm. He turns you on while he sets you on edge, even at age 66.

One of Israel's most prolific directors, this constant provocateur has let loose with over 80 shorts, documentaries and narratives since 1972, many of them exploring Israel in an acutely critical manner, from Orthodox misogyny (Kadosh (1999)) to his war experiences during which he was wounded (Kippur (2000) ), to a story of a residence, from its Arab owners to the Israelis who took ownership (House (1980)). The latter documentary was made for Israeli TV but was deemed inappropriate, and if Gitai hadn't smuggled it out of the station, it would have been destroyed. Read more »

The 5th Wave Inspires 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Make Crappy Films

Lately, if you feel unworthy because God has given you just too good a life...just too much joy... and your hair shirt is at the cleaners, you can do your penance by watching J Blakeson's The 5th Wave. Read more »

Naz & Maalik: Black, Gay, Muslim, and in Love

"For the longest time I couldn't put a name to who I was. I didn't have an image to who was like me. It was torturous," Jane Lynch notes in Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, the savvy documentary from 2006 by Lesli Klainberg and Lisa Ades. Read more »

The 4th Wave Feminist Performance Art

Robert Adanto's documentary The F Word navigates the liminal space between 3rd and 4th wave feminism and between IRL and URL by capturing the work of Brooklyn-based artists who raise questions about self-representation, sexuality, and embodiment. Their work offers a glimpse of unbridled female power and sexual agency, and yet is not fully rooted in fantasy, often contending with the brutal realities of the male-dominated (art) world. Along with this dynamic cast of artists, The F Word includes commentary by scholars and professors alike -- including former Art in America senior editor Nancy Princenthal -- to add background and to contextualize the works and concepts he explores. After the premiere, three of the film's artists, Kate Durbin, Leah Schrager, and Katie Cercone will join the director in a post-screening panel discussion. Read more »

Drag Wars: Viva Awakens

"Why is everyone on this fucking island addicted to drama?" the all-knowing Mama (a superb Luis Alberto Garcia) moans.

Mama is the owner of a Havana gay bar featuring chintzy drag performers who gesticulate to emotional diva tunes and who, when the show's over, whore a little on the side. That's part of the setting for Viva, Ireland's Spanish-language submission for this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Read more »

Snow Job

It is hard to believe that Aaron Sorkin wrote Steve Jobs. After all, he's the writer behind such brilliantly entertaining work as The Social Network, The West Thing and (even) A Few Good Men. It's disappointing enough that Sorkin's storytelling lacks imagination and drama. What's worse, Sorkin has created an irony-free zone where the infamously vicious Jobs comes across as a Christ-like figure, aided by Michael Fassbender's almost beatifically enigmatic performance. It's not that Jobs is paranoid, crazy or even mean, it's that he's misunderstood by everyone -- except his Mary Magdalene-like long-suffering marketing director Joanna Hoffman (portrayed by Kate Winslet with an oddly appearing and disappearing European accent of unknown origin.) Read more »

Keef!

The devil-may-care, rakish charisma of the rough-hewn rockstar Keith Richards is on full display in the brand new Netflix-released documentary, Keith Richards: Under The Influence. Read more »

An Encomium for Fantastic Four

As Saint Jerome noted so wisely, "Early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?" Read more »

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