After finding fame as the titular hero in the Percy Jackson fantasy franchise, Logan Lerman has started to carve an impressive acting career over the past few years with praiseworthy performances in films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury. But his latest leading turn in Indignation, an adaptation of Philip Roth‘s novel of the same name, shows the outstanding talent that Lerman has when given the right role. Indignation has the best performance of Logan Lerman’s career, and it helps that the film surrounding this stellar work is brilliant as well. Keep reading for my full Indignation review. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 by Angie Han
In his debut feature as a director, Nate Parker attempts to do no less than reclaim American history in the name of the slaves who had their own lives and their own stories ripped away from them. This re-appropriation starts with the title — The Birth of a Nation is stolen from D.W. Griffith’s racist epic — and continues with an opening epigraph. “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” reads the quote from Thomas Jefferson, famously a slave owner, “that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Parker himself stars as Nat Turner, a Virginia slave who in 1831 led the deadliest slave rebellion in American history. By the end, about 60 whites had been killed — and a hundred or more blacks had been slaughtered in retaliation. The Birth of a Nation is the sorrowful, righteously angry chronicle of how Nat, a kind, charismatic, and devout preacher, came to spark a bloody uprising.
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Life, Animated is a joyful film about the true power of cinema. Movies are not disposable entertainment but stories that have the power to inspire and dramatically change our lives. Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams tells the story of an autistic boy named Owen Suskind who re-learned language and found understanding through Disney animated movies.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 by Angie Han
This year’s Sundance slate is positively jam-packed with tales of family tragedy, from Other People to The Hollars to The Fundamentals of Caring to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. But grief has rarely been explored as deeply and as beautifully, at Sundance or elsewhere, as in Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea. This film wrecked me, to the point that I started crying all over again while working on this very review.
Casey Affleck, giving a career-best performance in a career-best role, is the devastating heart of this exquisitely wrought drama. Surrounding him are a rock-solid cast that also includes Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, and C.J. Wilson. Collectively, they’ve put together a film that I strongly suspect will turn out to be the very best of this year’s Sundance crop, at least in my personal estimation. Read More »
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Angie Han’s review of Other People began by pointing out that the film “sounds like the most stereotypical of Sundance movies” but “in practice, every element is so well executed that the film itself feels like something special.” The same could be said of John Krasinski‘s The Hollars, which shares many of the same Sundance cliches. But The Hollars has an incredible ensemble cast that pushes this film from just another screening on the Sundance schedule to a funny and charming movie that will probably play at a theater near you.
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Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2016 by Angie Han
Ever since The Babadook premiered at Sundance in 2014, it feels like every new critically beloved, out-of-nowhere horror hit has been touted as “the new Babadook.” Most of the time, the descriptor is just a catchy way of saying “this horror film’s got buzz.” Many of these “new Babadooks,” from It Follows to The Witch, aren’t all that much like The Babadook at all, and — in my estimation — none of them have been quite as good.
In the case of this year’s Sundance horror Under the Shadow, though, the description really does seem apt. The film works for many of the same reasons The Babadook does. Like The Babadook, Under the Shadow relies more on tension and dread than cheap jump scares. And as with The Babadook, the uneasiness lingers long after the credits have rolled because it evokes real-life horrors, rather than simply relying on supernatural ones. Read More »
Yoga Hosers feels like a cross between an absurd live-action cartoon created by a stoner and a ’90s-style teenage comedy. It’s so strange, and unlike anything Kevin Smith has directed before. I’m honestly not sure if Yoga Hosers was terrible or if I am just not the target demographic for this story.
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This weekend brings the premiere of Kevin Smith‘s latest indie effort, the horror comedy Yoga Hosers, at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. There isn’t a trailer for the film just yet, but the writer/director who launched his career at the indie film fest decided to tease what’s waiting for all of us catching flicks in the mountains with the first Yoga Hosers clip.
Harley Quinn Smith (the filmmaker’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp, who also stars in the film) take the leads in the movie, and here we get to see that they’re not too far removed from a couple of characters that Smith’s fans should be very familiar with. Read More »
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Sleight is like Doug Liman’s Go crossed with Now You See Me, with a side of Chronicle. Smart, fun, and thrilling, JD Dillard‘s feature film debut will likely be a fast sale at Sundance as it provides some great high concept ideas at a micro budget.
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Morris From America is a wonderful and heartfelt cross-cultural coming-of-age tale about an African-American boy trying to adapt in Germany. This hip-hop-infused rite of passage story would work well in a triple feature alongside other Sundance films like Dope and The Wackness.
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