Review: Carol

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Flooded with luminescence, Todd Hayne’s Carol is a rapturous example of what occurs when sumptuous cinematography and art direction meet superlative acting. Rooney Mara is absolutely devastating as Therese, a young aspiring photographer who takes on a job in a department store in the early 1950s. She meets the much older, more talkative and aristocrat-like […]

Review: James White

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The gut-wrenching, unflinching James White, the inaugural film by Josh Mond, brazenly pulls onto your jacket’s lapels with a sharp array of tight closeup shots and equally closeup feelings. In actor Christopher Abbott, Mond (producer of the excellent Martha Marcy May Marlene) has found a wonder of nature. They provide a character that utterly sticks […]

PFF24: Baskin

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While the Turkish horror film Baskin is, throughout its run, a beautiful film with creative imagery, its inability to foster a tone of tension (mostly through the fault of its characters), leaves it with an empty feeling overall and to its violence. Baskin plays with a beautiful color palette from the beginning in its lighting […]

PFF23 Review: Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere

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Chadron, Nebraska has a solo traffic light which is the only one in three counties. The nearest mall is two hours away. It couldn’t be much further away from Lincoln and Omaha. Its population of 5600 are the quirky types you’d expect in an isolated prairie town. Dave Janetta’s Love and Terror on the Howling […]

Review: Nightcrawler

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Lou Bloom is a sick pup. That he has no clue of his particularly eerie insularity makes him all the more entertaining. And scary. In a performance which is particularly outstanding, Jake Gyllenhaal gives us a Lou who is bent on making it in the big world out there–in this case, Los Angeles, and specifically, […]

Review: Goodbye to Language 3D

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Jean-Luc Godard on several occasions in his new film, Goodbye to Languge 3-D, places two images atop each other. Close one eye, you’ll see one image; close the other, a different image. Do neither and you’ll get a headache. Small price to pay for the experience of indulging the French master and allowing him to […]

Review: 52 Tuesdays

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The Australian drama 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde, follows 16 year old Billie as she struggles to adjust to her mother’s gender transition. When Billie’s contact with her mother is limited to Tuesdays after school and she is forced to live with her father, she undergoes her own transition into womanhood through unusual sexual […]

Review: Birdman

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Long takes consisting of swooning, uniquely-angled camera shots are set to the riveting backdrop of a hypnotically spare solo jazz drum. Weaving Antonio Sanchez’s dazzling minimalist score around the action and as an ironic comment on it, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu has created a movie that essentially plays as much like a brilliant piece of […]

PFF23 Review: Two Days One Night

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In the haunting Two Days, One Night, directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne add a profound level of morality drama to their customarily brilliant trove of social reality themes explored since their outstanding first film, Le Promesse (1997). What is unique this time is they are working with an actress who is emerging as one of […]

PFF23 Review: Mommy

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French Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (he made and starred in I Killed My Mother at 19) seriously gets in you face with the extravagantly jarring Mommy. The brutal arguments between out-of-his-mind, tantalizing, violent-zero me, ADHD 15-year-old Steve (Antoine-Olivier Platt) and his tough yet unconditionally compassionate mom Diane (a great Anne Dorval) have to be seen […]