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The sophomore film from Thumbsucker director Mike Mills’, Beginners succeeds, in spite of some occasional moments of self-conscious quirk and indie affectation, thanks mostly to it’s phenomenal cast as well as its genuine and clearly very personal approach to the difficult subjects of love and grief. Written by Mills and based in part on his relationship with his father, the film uncovers a place for itself as a moving, melancholy [...]

By on August 25, 2011

Operating under the misguided belief that enough time has passed since Barry Sonnenfeld’s abysmal Wild Wild West in the late nineteen nineties, director John Favreau takes a break from the Iron Man franchise to deliver a genre hybrid that, unfortunately, is as uninspired and obvious as its silly title suggests. Combining the most generic elements of both the western and the sci-fi genres, Cowboys & [...]

By on August 24, 2011

Winner of the Best Dramatic Direction award at this years’ Sundance Film Festival, Martha Marcy May Marlene heralds the arrival of two very impressive talents on the independent cinema scene. First, director Sean Durkin, who in his first feature film demonstrates an incredible assuredness and mesmerizing control of his camera, intermingling through astounding editing two timeless with ethereal subtlety and consummate skill. Secondly is young actress Elizabeth Olsen, who shatters [...]

By on August 23, 2011

Less of a horror movie and more of a jet-black satire of good ole’ fashioned American family values, The Woman tackles gender politics in a way you’ve never seen them tackled before. A disturbing deconstruction of misogyny and the abuses of women in both genre films and in greater Western society, the movie is a very new twist on a fish-out of water tale, as director Lucky McKee blurs the [...]

By on August 22, 2011

Joe Wright overcomes an unremarkable plot with distinctive direction in Hanna, a beat-driven action/art-house hybrid that blends East-European iconography with Grimm fairytale fancy.  A departure for the English director, best known for his austere costume dramas including Atonement and the most recent Pride and Prejudice adaptation, the film follows an adolescent girl (Saoirse Ronan) who has been trained by her secret-agent father (Eric Bana) as a cold blooded killer while [...]

By on August 18, 2011

Compiled from thousands of hours of video footage submitted by amateurs from all around the globe, the Ridley Scott produced, Kevin Macdonald directed Life in a Day is a stunning tableau of all the struggles, tragedies and triumphs that occur in the span of a single ordinary day – July 24th, 2010. Neither narrative nor documentary, the film, simultaneously beautiful and ugly, funny and heartbreaking, epic and intimate, simple and [...]

By on August 16, 2011

In both its nihilistic themes and art-house attributes that border on the satirical, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia serves as a very clear successor to his controversial previous effort, 2009’s Antichrist. Both films begin with a shamelessly pretentious but inescapably beautiful opening prologue that drips with mesmerising slow-motion photography and heart-rending classical overtures. From there, however, von Trier leads us down a very long and arduous path of cheerless monotony, one [...]

By on August 14, 2011

If there is one film this year that I have no real right to complain about being let-down by, then Jesse Eisener’s throw-back to exploitation cinema Hobo With A Shotgun must surely be it. Evolved from the fake trailers that won a competition to play in front of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino 2007 film Grindhouse, it is a move that — in the simplest sense of the phrase — delivers [...]

By on August 10, 2011
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