• devils in dis

    Interview: Guillaume Campanacci ‘Devils in Disguise’

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    I got to sit down for a Skype interview with Guillaume Campanacci, the writer/director of the new independent film Devils in Disguise which was shot for only $4,200. If you are interested and want to help fund post-production and festival distribution for the film, then head on over to the Devils in Disguise IndieGogo page. […]

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    Review: Foxcatcher

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    It’s as dramatic as when you first lay eyes on Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull. In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell is not at all the Steve Carell with whom we’ve become accustomed. There’s not a sliver of the character from The Office or The 40 Year Old Virgin to be found. Nor does Carell, fitted with […]

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    Take 2: Nightcrawler

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    Not sure what to check out at the movies this week? With all the hype surrounding Foxcatcher and next week’s release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, it’s easy to forget the films that are settling their theatrical runs. As remedy to that problem, we offer “Take 2” a series of reviews released a few weeks […]

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    Review: Rosewater

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    Oppressive, delusional regimes will use nearly anything to preserve power, including the demeaning brutality of solitary confinement. In Jon Stewart’s powerful, perceptive adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir of his 118 days in an Iranian prison in 2006, we see the resiliency of the human spirit. We also witness a prisoner fighting back by exploiting […]

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    Review: The Theory of Everything

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    In Les Miserables, Eddie Redmayne sang a song called “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. In The Theory of Everything, playing Stephen Hawking, Redmayne might very well have changed the words to “Missing Answers to Begging Questions.” Redmayne and co-star Felicity Jones, who portrays Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde, do a fine job but director James […]

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Oct
24

Review: 52 Tuesdays

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 […]

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Oct
24

Review: Birdman

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 […]

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Oct
24

Review: Whiplash

Channeling both Lee Marvin and Nurse Ratched, J. K. Simmons plays Terence Fletcher, absolutely nailing one of those rare movie performances that manages to go over the top without a trace of insincerity. He’s, of all things, the music instructor from hell–his veins popping out when he’s going off. His idea of teaching includes relentless, […]

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Oct
22

Review: Legend of Korra “The Coronation”

“The Coronation” sets up a lot of conflicts and plot devices that will likely pay off big time later in the season.  First and foremost, the ruthless Kuvira has been pushed firmly into “main antagonist” territory.  She has the makings of a great villain. She’s savagely intimidating and always gets what she wants; a potentially […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Two Days One Night

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 […]

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the-last-five-years-toronto-film-festival
Oct
21

PFF23 Review: The Last Five Years

The intermittently uplifting yet often pretentious The Last Five Years contains hardly any dialogue that is not sung. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of story lines and its pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character, Cathy’s story backwards from the end, while […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Human Capital

Human Capital blends a razor-sharp depiction of Italian class tension with an engrossing mystery. Based on a novel by American author Stephen Amidon, the film unfolds in separate chapters, each of which repeats the same events from the different perspectives of various characters. The film, deriving its title from the world of insurance, boasts powerful […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Girlhood

When Marieme establishes footing in a girl gang outside of Paris, she seems content to gain an identity she never was able to get from her traditional, broken family. A brother who treats her terribly eventually forces her to abandon her three girlfriends in the gang because she violates what he perceives as a cultural […]

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Mommy-Movie-660
Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Mommy

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 […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review – The Overnighters

A third act revelation either enhances or compromises the unique documentary The Overnighters–see it and decide. Pastor Jay Reinke opens his church and even his own home, to eventually thousands of migrant job-seekers, including some with criminal records, in the oil-boom North Dakota town of Williston. Reinke’s the kind of guy who would give you […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Breathe

Lou de Laage excels as Sarah, the new kid in town in Breathe, the impressive, confident first feature directed by French actress Melanie Laurent (Inglorous Basterds, Beginners, Enemy). The story of an opposites-attract teenage friendship between Sarah and Charlie (Josephine Japy) that gradually turns abusive never feels fake. As secrets about Sarah are gradually revealed, […]

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1231428 - FURY
Oct
17

Review: Fury

Imagine the chilling opening beach scene from Saving Private Ryan–only for an entire film. It’s no wonder since director David Ayer (the vastly underrated LAPD flick, End of Watch) is at the helm. No brutality, however gory and explicit, is spared. No doubt there will be cries of “war porn” with Fury but they would […]

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