Archive for June, 2015

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Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2014)

June 30, 2015

Eden-Pauline-Etienne

When calling Eden one of the more directionless portraits of a life and movement, one must clarify that this is not meant as a bad thing and that the lack of direction refers only to traditional expectations of narrative for what’s essentially a biopic of sorts. On its surface, Eden seems to be simply telling the rise and fall of one particular man in one particular music scene, in this case the French house or “French touch” scene that took off in the early 1990s. Director Mia Hansen-Løve is concerned less with a narrative of modest success followed by years of toiling away, and instead with the yearning for youth, to recapture something that seemed like it was only just there.

Her biggest concerns are capturing bodies and faces in a lived-in atmosphere. Eden has something in common with another 2014 premiere, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, in that the mission statement (of sorts) in the latter is something found throughout the details and storytelling approach of Eden. At the end of Boyhood, Linklater’s protagonist Mason philosophises that life is all the little moments, and the greatest strength of Hansen-Løve’s films is how she does so much with so little. The economy of Eden’s scenes have a great poetry to them, distilling a wealth of emotion and character history into the briefest of exchanges, many of them physical gestures…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages

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EIFF 2015: Scottish Mussel (Talulah Riley, 2015)

June 26, 2015

Scottish-Mussel

Sometimes the worst kind of bad film isn’t the one that’s outright offensive and hateful, it’s the one that is full of good intentions but lacks any grasp of tone or gripping storytelling; made with a message in mind, but completely vacuous in execution. Scottish Mussel is sadly one of those misfires, with the sort of scattershot script where most of the film’s cameo stars also get a romantic interest at the end…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)

June 26, 2015

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His first directorial effort not for television or the documentary format in over a decade, She’s Funny That Way sees legendary American filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich return to one of his recurring interests: resurrecting an old mode of Hollywood cinema for the contemporary film climate.

Here, his concern is with the screwball comedy, which he’s notably taken on before with 1972’s What’s Up, Doc?, an often hilarious, wacky farce, starring Barba Streisand, Ryan O’Neal and Madeline Kahn. Bogdanovich’s arguable contemporary Woody Allen has also resurrected the genre in a number of his own films over the years. That last point is worth stating, as the end result of She’s Funny That Way is sadly closer in quality and feel to the weakest of Allen’s late period comedies than the highs of Bogdanovich’s own, earlier effort…

Click for the full review for VODzilla.co

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EIFF 2015: Liza, the Fox-Fairy (Károly Ujj Mészáros, 2015)

June 26, 2015

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The directorial debut of Károly Ujj Mészáros, Liza, the Fox-Fairy, plays like a Hungarian cocktail of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Roy Andersson and Takashi Miike…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2015: Inside Out (Pete Docter/Ronaldo Del Carmen, 2015)

June 24, 2015

Inside-out

With Inside Out, their 15th animated feature, animation house Pixar take a detour to avoid some of the visual and storytelling beats that have made even their best movies feel a little familiar at this point. Within the head of 11-year-old Riley, we meet several characters representing her emotions: Joy (Poehler), Sadness (Smith), Fear (Hader), Anger (Black), and Disgust (Kaling). During one tumultuous experience, Joy and Sadness become separated from the rest and lost inside the depths of Riley’s mind, leaving the other three alone in charge of the girl’s emotional state…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2015: Beyond the Lights (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2014)

June 23, 2015

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Rising superstar Noni (Belle’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is feeling the pressures of fame and finds herself on the literal edge, almost perishing in a suicide jump attempt until young cop Kaz (Nate Parker) saves her. The unusual pair – Rihanna-esque pop star and aspiring politician – form a friendship and gradual romance, which results in Noni veering off the life plan her manager-mother (Minnie Driver) has sculpted for her.

Beyond the Lights, from Love & Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood, is the type of mainstream, commercial romance that’s increasingly rare: one that, despite skirting clichés, never panders or underestimates its audience, never makes its obstacles to its stars’ romance seem implausible or arbitrary, and never loses sight of actual tangible pain and hope in its beautifully portrayed characters…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2015: Welcome to Me (Shira Piven, 2014)

June 22, 2015

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Based on premise alone, Welcome to Me could have gone horribly wrong all too easily, but director Shira Piven’s barbed satire successfully walks a fine line between mockery and sincerity…

Click for the full review for The Skinny