braid review

I’ve never robotripped, ingested geltabs of acid or licked stimulant toad excretions, but if I did, I’d imagine the experience to resemble Mitzi Peirone’s Braid. Style over substance just had a new league invented by this hallucinogenic rabbit’s hole, laced with uppers and light on explanations. Keeping up isn’t an option here – audiences are better served soaking in sugar plum scenic drenches than trying to rationalize character motivations. Peirone marches to the beat of her own drum, that’s part of a massive in-tune band, performing on her own made-up holiday. Hold onto something and try not to lose your mind…there’s no Mad Hatter to save you this time.

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the seagull review

Put Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, and Corey Stoll in a room, and you’ve got yourself one of the most talented, charismatic rooms in Hollywood. It’s too bad that The SeagullMichael Mayer‘s plodding, histrionic adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play of the same name, puts that talent to waste.

Mayer and screenwriter Stephen Karam enthusiastically try to modernize an 1896 romantic drama that is steeped in the subtext and social environment of Chekov’s Russia. And while the camera swings with lively verve and the lush, picturesque setting lends a dreamy quality to the film, the many colorful characters are still stuck in a story that feels like it’s over 100 years old. At the end of the day, Bening and Ronan can only do so much, and The Seagull becomes a comedy of errors without the comedy.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post Review

A teen fidgets nervously with the pages of a Bible.

This is the first image glimpsed in Desiree Akhavan’s sophomore effort, an equal parts melancholy-and-optimistic gay conversion drama. The antsy teen sits alongside several Bible Study peers – including high-schoolers Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Coley (Quinn Shephard), whose budding, secret romance the film keeps flashing back to – as a pastor bellows about the evils lurking within all children their age. The world sees these queer kids as ugly, but The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a joyous rebuke despite the darkness it portrays.

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man who killed don quixote trailer

After decades of delay, Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is ready to see the light of day. Maybe. The film is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, unless a lawsuit delays it. In the meantime, you can watch this new Man Who Killed Don Quixote trailer.

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Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro

After two high-profile Q&A disasters at panels with the cast of Scarface and TV’s Westworld, the organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival had to breathe a sigh of relief when Robert DeNiro stepped on stage and had very little to say. The festival’s co-founder had an hour with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle co-star Bradley Cooper but admitted he was outsourcing the questions to friends and family who could text him what they wanted to ask.

The result, to start, were some awkward pregnant pauses – but it ultimately led to Cooper filling in the silence with amusing anecdotes about his experiences with the legendary performer.

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Leave No Trace trailer

It’s been eight years since Debra Granik introduced most of the world to a talented up-and-coming actress named Jennifer Lawrence in her 2010 drama Winter’s Bone. Now the filmmaker is finally back with her next directorial effort. Leave No Trace is a survival drama that stars Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, and it looks like a worthy follow-up to Winter’s Bone. Read More »

to dust review

Death makes fools of us all because it exposes the limitations of human knowledge. We may have strong beliefs about what happens after our final breath, but none among us truly knows what happens. That uncertainty can gnaw away at those left behind with little more than the memory and the body of the recently departed.

In To Dust, first-time feature director Shawn Snyder locates the tragedy in pining for such answers but also digs a little deeper for a truly revelatory find. Because of – and remarkably, not in spite of – the weighty material he deals with, he finds the comedy in the situation. The lengths to which devastated widower Shmuel (Géza Röhrig) goes to achieve the sense of finality that he cannot locate within his religious community eventually reaches the point of absurdity. We don’t laugh at him; we laugh with him because the Grim Reaper could come knocking at one of our own loved ones’ doors someday soon.

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little woods review

The Western has wholly transformed since the days when John Wayne first drew his pistols. No longer is it a glamorous validation of rugged individualism, or a sweeping ode to Americana. No, the times, they are a-changin’ — and with it, one of cinema’s oldest genres.

Nia DaCosta‘s haunting directorial debut, Little Woods, is the latest incarnation of the Western, a potent slow-burning thriller that taps into the economic devastation that has wracked middle America for the past few decades. And anchored by two incredible performances by stars Tessa Thompson and Lily JamesLittle Woods becomes an intimate and painfully now film that gives us a glimpse of the evolution of a genre primarily populated by hypermasculine men.

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Disobedience review

It’s easy to remember Rachel McAdams’ most iconic performance, Regina George in Mean Girls, as little more than the ruthlessly hilarious one-liners and cutting GIF-worthy glances on the surface. But there’s so much more bubbling underneath in her performance that makes it iconic. McAdams is a master of presenting a confident, assured front while meaning or feeling something entirely different. The gulf between what she says and what she wants gets played for laughs in Mean Girls, but in her latest film, Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience, it’s played for tension and tragedy.

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back roads review

Alex Pettyfer, probably best known to audiences as “The Kid” in Magic Mike, always aspired to be more than just a thirst trap. In many ways, he might be too handsome for his own good. Pettyfer has been on the cusp of “happening” for a decade since landing the lead role in the Alex Rider series, a YA James Bond that came too close to Harry Potter and too far from Twilight and The Hunger Games. Following years of being sold as little more than a slab of meat to lust after, it’s been an uphill battle for the actor to convince audiences that he has more to offer. With Back Roads, his first go-round in the director’s chair, Pettyfer takes his future into his own hands.

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