Archive for October, 2014

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Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)

October 30, 2014

Nightcrawler

Screenwriter Dan Gilroy makes a ferocious directorial debut with Nightcrawler (which he also wrote), a unique hybrid of ghoulish comedy, L.A. noir, news media satire, and urban horror. Jake Gyllenhaal is blistering as Louis Bloom, a wiry, bug-eyed go-getter, and plausible descendant of The King of Comedy‘s Rupert Pupkin, except with a proclivity for messing with the maimed and deceased. Stumbling upon the world of nightcrawling, in which opportunistic freelancers film nocturnal crime or crash scenes to sell to the morning news, he blurs the line between scavenging observer and active participant. In the process he forms a relationship, both mutually beneficial and destructive, with a TV news veteran (Russo) eager to show whatever will horrify suburban viewers, so long as it helps her station’s fledgling ratings…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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Horns (Alexandre Aja, 2013)

October 30, 2014

Horns

An adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel of the same name, Horns is a fantasy fable that works well for scattered stretches of its very bloated runtime, but is too tone-deaf everywhere else to fully satisfy. It tells the story of Ig Parrish (Radcliffe, doing some fine work with rage, despair, and an American accent), a man wrongfully accused of the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Temple), but unable to muster much of a legal defence, or even sympathy. One morning, he awakens with a set of devilish horns upon his skull, which makes anyone in his presence compelled to reveal their own personal demons and act out sins. With his new powers, Ig goes gumshoe to try and solve Merrin’s murder…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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LFF 2014: The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow (Chang Hyung-yun, 2014)

October 30, 2014

Satellite-Girl-and-Milk-Cow

An orbiting satellite picks up a beautiful song being played on Earth. Moved by the song, and facing an eternity of lonely obsolescence thanks to the incoming fate of being replaced by new machinery, the satellite decides it wishes to find the source of the tune, and so crashes down to the planet below, where it promptly turns into a teenage girl able to fly with Astro Boy-like rocket feet and fire her arms as weapons. Meanwhile, the songwriter behind the ditty is broken-hearted and so has been turned into a cow, akin to the farmyard beast fate that has befallen other broken-hearted folk. This has led to him and others like him being hunted by a human villain who uses a plunger to extract their organs, as well an incinerator machine that is fueled by the broken-hearted. Also, there is a wizard named Merlin who makes it his mission to assist the satellite girl and the cow, except Merlin has undergone his own transformation recently and happens to be a roll of toilet paper.

“The Aristocrats!”

Click for the full review for Sound On Sight

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Jimi: All Is by My Side (John Ridley, 2013)

October 24, 2014

Jimi-All-Is-by-My-Side
Jimi: All Is by My Side takes an approach that more musician biopics should, that of honing in on one specific period of Jimi Hendrix’s life instead of providing a rushed tour from childhood to untimely demise. Since the Hendrix estate denied use of the man’s songs, this artistic decision on the part of writer-director John Ridley may have been compelled by legal logistics, but the result allows for a relaxed atmosphere in which André “3000” Benjamin’s fine performance as Hendrix can avoid mere mimicry and feel lived-in…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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LFF 2014: Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (Josephine Decker, 2014)

October 23, 2014

thou-wast-mild-and-lovely

The rustic, lyrical sophomore feature of writer-director Josephine Decker, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely proves as slippery and elusive a film as its characters do to one another. A work of atmospheric dread enhanced through loose editing and heightened colours and sound design, it opens with a sensual female voice discussing an unknown lover – “But the way my lover opened and closed my legs, the way my lover folded and unfolded me into my lover’s breast, my lover knows how to love me” – over the image of a perturbed, barking dog, this coming right after footage of a father and adult daughter playing in a field with a headless chicken, each with the exuberance of running puppies. What follows rarely deviates from that enigmatic prologue’s register…

Click for the full review for Sound On Sight

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Seen Your Video #42: Are Talking Tarr 2U

October 19, 2014

Satantango

In the last part of this month’s three installments of Seen Your Video, Chris Ward and I discuss Béla Tarr’s epic Sátántangó, which we saw from 35mm in September.

Stream the episode here.
Alternatively, you can download the episode or subscribe to the podcast by looking up Seen Your Video on iTunes.

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LFF 2014: Giovanni’s Island (Mizuho Nishikubo, 2014)

October 18, 2014

Giovanni's-Island-2014

In its frequently sorrowful tale of young Japanese siblings struggling through the tail end or immediate aftermath of World War II, anime Giovanni’s Island faces seemingly inevitable comparisons to both Grave of the Fireflies and the Barefoot Gen features. Mizuho Nishikubo’s film, however, has a spirit all of its own, even if you can trace in it bits of those other films’ DNA, as well as notorious British anti-war animation When the Wind Blows, whose art style it resembles more than the likes of Studio Ghibli. It stands apart in offering a look at an aspect of Japanese history rarely explored in any art form to date, that of the Russian occupation of the island of Shikotan after Japan’s defeat in 1945, as seen through the eyes of two Japanese children among the residents whose lives are upended by the new rule…

Click for the full review for Sound On Sight