Browsing: Reviews

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.50.51 PM

After ten adaptations that earned a combined total of half a billion dollars, Nicholas Sparks may be the only author who has his own genre. The Liam Neeson of schmaltz, if you will. Regardless of how you feel about his stories, it’s easy to understand why there are so many of them. Movies about pretty white people in North Carolina almost kissing in the rain are cheap to make and always profitable. Hell, even the lowest grossing Sparks movie made a profit.

Reviews 2c1b58508c17168227661425077ed399

In Autobiographical Scene Number 6882, Ruben Östlund shows us fragments of a moment when a man tries to impress his friends with an act of stupidity fueled by alcohol and the insecure bravery of youth. We watch a group of friends as one of them prepares to jump off of a bridge to prove his worth amongst the pack, acting on primal impulses as he balances the line between wanting to prove his masculinity and wanting to be talked out of doing something …

Reviews f37bce34ff77cf7fce916546f8ddcc53

Ruben Östlund has the ability to create a realistic scenario and let it play out organically to explore the behaviors that emerge when people are presented with an uncomfortable or unusual event. Rather than using the tricks of filmmaking and storytelling to fabricate hyperrealistic drama, he strips an event down to its basest elements to craft something that more closely approximates a real human experience. In Incident by a Bank he uses a bank robbery to explore the …

NP Approved Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 6.39.41 PM

Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls (Anime nere) is an unflinching tale of one family’s prolonged descent into Hell. Three brothers, all involved in the Calabrian crime syndicate known as the ‘Ndrangheta in various ways, clash in what at first seems to be a standard, if evocative, crime drama. Soon, however, we realized that the film’s swift navigation through a series of seemingly unrelated incidents, from stealing goats to organizing international drug deals, is peeling away …

NP Approved ae3bdeb7e6b0a926614a821ebf2ed9c5

An abandoned baby crib sits on a train, causing nothing short of a nuisance. The train attendants plead multiple times for someone to claim the item, but to no avail. Its presence is utterly undeniable and its irritable effects painfully palpable, but still very little can be said beyond that. There’s no getting rid of the nuisance, but still nobody wants to speak up and take responsibility. Those who do try and deal with the problems are thrown under the bus, as it were.

Reviews man from reno 1

When a film opens on a dark, windy, foggy road with a car accident that leaves a small-town sheriff befuddled and another man lying, bloodied, bruised, but not quite dead on that same road, it’s usually a tipoff that we, as savvy moviegoers, have firmly entered into neo-noir territory. That…

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.56.19 PM

Fans of low-budget American indies from the 1950s and 1960s are familiar with the concept of “filler”; that is, stock footage or useless scenes included just to pad out a film’s length. Schlock producer George Weiss once noted that his frequent colleague Edward D. Wood, Jr. relied heavily on filler to achieve the 70-minute runtimes required by distribution companies, leaving his films full of interminable scenes of people getting into cars, people driving their cars …

Film Festival Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.17.22 AM

Gauging the strength of a film involves many factors that depend greatly on the type of film you’re watching. Does it entertain? Is it thought provoking? Does it engage you? Do you have a difficult time suspending disbelief? Is it timeless? The list goes on, and for sci-fi films, cinema lovers tend to be tougher on these films. Other ideas that factor in the enjoyment of a sci-fi film: Is it Original? Is it scientifically accurate? (Queue the 100 things wrong with …..

Film Festival cosm_1-1

With Clouds of Sils Maria, the Official Competition featured another film that can be described as a backstage drama, looking behind the scenes of the film business through the eyes of the aging Hollywood actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) and her personal assistant Val (Kristen Stewart). Twenty years after her breakthrough role in “Maloja Snake”, a film based on a…

Reviews f52e2fdd91bad614a4e53ffdcfe865b5

A bored TV viewer flips through channels looking for something to incite the senses, but the safe nationalist pap being crooned by some Swedish Pat Boone isn’t going to do it. The unseen television viewer acts as our navigator through the world of Ruben Östlund’s The Guitar Mongoloid and he surfs the sin waves of the analog ether in search of something honest. Our first stop is the rooftop of some apartment complex where the satellite dishes are being attacked and …

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