Gloria Bell Trailer

Hollywood has always had a problem with giving women leading roles once they start hitting their 40s and 50s. Obsessed with the fresh-faced, young women pouring into Los Angeles everyday, it’s one of the more shameful sides of show business. But thankfully that’s started to change a bit with great roles for women of all ages, and A24 has just released the first trailer that gives Julianne Moore one of those fantastic roles.

Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore) is a divorced woman just trying to meet the right man all over again, hitting up night clubs, dancing like no one is watching, and living her best life. That’s when she meets Arnold (John Turturro), and it looks like everything is coming up Gloria. At least at first. See what happens in the Gloria Bell trailer below. Read More »

mumbai film festival

The Mumbai Film Festival began as a modest affair, though with the sponsorship of Fox’s Star network and telecom giant Reliance Jio in recent years, it’s exploded into a prestigious destination for cinema the world over. This year, the festival’s 20th, saw both premieres of Indian art-house films as well as arrivals of various 2018 festival darlings — Cannes, Berlin, Venice, you name it — but what separates the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI for short, after parent organization Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image) from most festivals with such a vast selection is affordability.

For just 500 rupees — or $6.90 at the time of writing — the festival affords week-long access to over 200 films from the world over. I personally met folks who had travelled from all corners of the country (some, even internationally) to watch heavy-hitters like Roma, Border, Diamantino and Burning, films that may not otherwise see theatrical release in all parts of the world. It feels celebratory, too; given that the lineup is spread across half a dozen locations within a 12-mile radius, MAMI essentially becomes a city-wide affair. Cinema ought to be for everyone, not just folks who can afford skyrocketing ticket prices or the latest streaming service, and in that vein MAMI succeeds.

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prospect review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Prospect opens in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow, November 2, 2018.)

Prospect exists in a huge universe, one whose scope boggles the mind and imagination. And we are treated to only the smallest, most tantalizing glimpse. A taste. What a taste it is.

Here is an indie science fiction film so aware of its unavoidable budgetary limitations that it builds them into its own mystique. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but casually evocative descriptions of a dozen unique planets and unseen societies is worth $100 million. The scale of Prospect lies unseen in the margins, placing this tiny tale of survival smack dab in the middle of a galaxy that the film dares us to imagine. There’s something special about that. Something powerful. And it certainly helps that Prospect is led by characters who immediately invest us in what’s going on. We want to follow them, to learn more about them, because perhaps they’ll guide us to the worlds they keep talking about.

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Global cinema lives at the New York Film Festival. The recently concluded 56th edition ran two straight weeks (four, if you’re press) at the prestigious Lincoln Center, offering everything from experimental shorts to director talks to virtual reality films, though, as one might expect, the wide array of features is undoubtedly a central highlight. I’ve been attending the festival for five years running, and having caught a good majority of the 2018 slate— 27 films, the most I’ve seen at any festival — I can safely say it’s one of the best lineups I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

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Winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival is, in artier circles, more prestigious than the Academy Award. It represents the winning film out of an official selection that’s notoriously difficult to get into in the first place. Some Palme d’Or winners are grand, sweeping works of high cinema; some are politically searing; and others still are tiny, well-observed character dramas. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters is one of the humbler winners in recent memory – and that begins with its protagonists.

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Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity just isn’t the same on television. One might say this works to its detriment — “story is king,” I was reminded in film school as a professor lamented its bells & whistles — but if an artistic experience is designed for a specific environment, should it not be given the benefit of doubt? The enveloping sound of Cuarón’s 2013 space-thriller is dread-inducing, a precursor to the pulsating rebirth of hope within the heart of infinite darkness; in an age when even ostensibly “good” blockbusters feel produced by committee, Gravity was one of the last times a film simply had to be experienced in a cinema, in that it could not be experienced the same way outside it. It’s fitting, then, that Cuarón’s own Roma belongs in that sparsely populated category, albeit for different reasons.

Roma is a Netflix release, yes, but if the streaming giant’s theatrical rollout finds its way to your vicinity, you owe yourself the unique experience of sitting down in a seat in order to walk through someone else’s memory. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard or seen.

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Ben Is Back Trailer

This awards season will see two different stories of drug addiction hitting theaters. There’s Beautiful Boy showing the turmoil that addiction creates between a father and son played by Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, and then there’s Ben Is Back, the new film from director Peter Hedges showing how addiction impacts an entire family, with Julia Roberts doing everything she can to keep her addict son Lucas Hedges from heading down a dangerous path when he returns home. And the latter just released a harrowing new trailer to pull at your heartstrings.

Watch the new Ben Is Back trailer below. Read More »

Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review

It can be tough to take the Coen Brothers at their word – after all, the duo claims (seemingly in jest) that they never read Homer’s The Odyssey despite basing O Brother, Where Art Thou? on it. But if they were forthright about the origins of their latest work, the anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, then it serves as a kind of career compendium. They wrote the film’s first segment, a comedic musical western, decades ago when their work had a more overtly comical bent. They wrote the final segment, on the other hand, just before starting production on the film in order to put an adequate bow on the project.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs functions like a greatest hits album for the Coens, though somehow with songs we’ve never heard before. It spans and encompasses the many styles of filmmaking they mastered over decades behind the camera. Their expert wielding of tone and mood has rarely been so evident as it is within each yarn they tell, all from a book of stories complete with color plates. Read More »

shoplifters trailer

Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda is a favorite at the film festival circuit — his tender, delicate odes to humanities have won twice at the Cannes Film Festival and earned accolades across the world. Now Shoplifters, his latest Palme d’Or winner is heading for a Stateside release, and possibly, the best Foreign Language category at the Oscars. See the first Shoplifters trailer below.

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The New York Film Festival’s Projections section is filled to the brim with the avant-garde, and this year’s lineup is no exception. Tsai Ming-liang’s Your Face is composed entirely of silent close-ups, while Albert Serra’s Roi Soleil is an hour of King Louis XIV moaning and writhing. The former feels like a museum exhibit; the latter is a filmed version of one. You almost always know what kind of film to expect walking into a Projections screening — experimental fare that rarely feels like it would do well in the mainstream — which is why Daniel Schmidt and Gabriel Abrantes’ Diamantino is such an unbelievable blast. It’s the kind of work that feels cobbled together from the most impulsive cinematic instincts, the ones where creators might ordinarily second-guess themselves on account of ideas being too silly, and it’s charming as hell. As wildly entertaining as any blockbuster, schlocky as any B-movie and as politically enraged as your Twitter feed, Diamantino is a start-to-finish joy.

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