Italian director Matteo Garrone has risen to international stardom with lightning speed, especially since his 2008 film Gomorrah took the second-highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Yet, for all his acclaim, I have tended to find his work remote and slightly inaccessible. Garrone’s latest film, Dogman, is a film worthy of his stature and the first time his bite has been as strong as his bark. This morality tale wrings gripping drama from an imperfect man backed into an unenviable corner.
Find out more in out full Dogman review below. Read More »
If A Star is Born was the folk song of the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, a familiar tune brilliantly rendered by cover artist Bradley Cooper, then Teen Spirit was its pop song. The film is derivative, calibrated to appeal to a lowest-common-denominator audience … and yet admittedly catchy, even if it’s immediately recognizable as an interchangeable work.
Find out more in our Teen Spirit review below. Read More »
“Who’s the master, the painter or the forger?” asked Christian Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle as he looked at a fake Rembrandt hanging on the walls of a major museum. Director Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? asks the same question, albeit from a much less cynical perspective. The film tells the true-life tale of Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), a writer who began crafting forged letters from dead celebrities when her literary career plummeted. As Lee buries herself deeper into a pit of deception, Heller finds both entertainment and involving drama.
Find out more in our Can You Ever Forgive Me review below. Read More »
Berberian Sound Studio and Duke of Burgundy director Peter Strickland once again pays homage to Euro-horror of yesterday, crafting a sumptuous sensory overload. In Fabric finds the filmmaker following a haunted dress from a demonic department store, and it’s every bit as weird and amusing as that scenario suggests.
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Writer/director Kim Nguyen’s The Hummingbird Project follows the exploits of two cousins, Jesse Eisenberg’s Vincent Zaleski and Alexander Skarsgård’s Anton Zaleski, determined to run a small fiber-optic cable from Kansas City to New York City. This project, which will require years of their lives and a steady flow of cash, will give them a one millisecond advantage in the dog-eat-dog world of high frequency trading. Why bother to undertake this? They want to own Wall Street to burn it down, they explain toward the end of the film.
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The story of JT LeRoy, the best-selling author who never really existed, gets the standard biopic treatment in Justin Kelly‘s unfortunately uninspired Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy. As lacking as this film tends to be, it’s almost salvaged by two remarkable performances from Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart.
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Mia Hansen-Løve has recently emerged as a major director on the international scene with a set of empathic dramas. In her films, characters process sea changes in their lives with a patience and even-handedness absent from other works about similarly momentous life events. Hansen-Løve understands that most people’s lives move in inches, not miles. She knows how to glean significant insights about human response under duress by analyzing these small yet meaningful moments.
With the possible exception of Eden, her decades-spanning tale of a Llewyn Davis-like also-ran in the French garage music scene, Hansen-Løve’s Maya represents her most sprawling and weighty canvas to date. The film follows France journalist Gabriel Dahan (Roman Kolinka) after his release from Syrian captivity and his gradual drift back towards some semblance of normalcy. While Hansen-Løve avoids homecoming or PTSD clichés in charting Gabriel’s convalescence, she does stumble into a few other tropes of (particularly Western male) recovery once he leaves Europe behind.
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Being a parent is hard. But for some couples, the real difficulty is getting the opportunity just to have a kid. That’s exactly the struggle that Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn face as a fortysomething couple living in a rent stabilized apartment in New York City doing everything they possibly can to have a child. But there’s one avenue that they’re exploring for the first time, and it just might create a challenge for their whole family. Read More »
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Lee Chang-dong‘s Burning moves at a pace all its own, telling a tale of mystery and obsession with no easy answers. Hypnotic, haunting, and featuring an incredible performance from Steven Yuen, Burning is one of the year’s best movies.
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Fantastic Fest is chock full of wild and crazy genre movies, but it’s also host to a showcase of short films and other assorted oddities, and one of them should certainly have Tenacious D fans excited.
Today, the third wave of programming for Fantastic Fest was announced, and one of the surprise additions to the line-up is a six-part animated series called Tenacious D in Post-Apocalypto. That’s right, Jack Black and Kyle Gass are getting animated again as the dynamic duo responsible for defeating the devil with rock and writing a tribute to the greatest song in the world.
Find out more about the Tenacious D animated series below. Read More »