Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Playlist

Venice Review: 'The Act Of Killing' Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s ‘The Look of Silence’

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • August 27, 2014 6:37 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
The Look of Silence
A stretch of placid water in rural Indonesia known as Snake River has borne witness to many unspeakable acts of killing. One such brutal butchering was of a young man called Ramli, caught on the wrong side of the country’s 1965 "communist purges" and messily executed, his remains thrown, along with those of countless others, into the water. “No one would buy fish,” chuckles one of the perpetrators —because everyone around knew the fish were feeding on human remains. If Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” was a full-throated scream, his follow-up “The Look of Silence” is an ululating lament, a drawn-out wail of grief that sounds almost like a song, albeit a harrowing one.

Venice Review: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’ With Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Ed Norton & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • August 27, 2014 7:44 AM
  • |
  • 17 Comments
Birdman
Hubristic, humble, heartfelt and hotheaded, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is phenomenal. The feverishly anticipated (not least by us) movie from Alejandro González Iñárritu blasted through its Venice premiere (it’s the opening film) in a gonzo rush —it's so exciting, so moment-to-moment enjoyable that to expect profundity would be greedy. And yet it delivers on that level as well; the film is as thoughtful and smart as it is infectiously absurd. And that's perhaps the biggest surprise of an endlessly surprising, inventive movie: whatever the sum of its elements, like how it launches and completes the “Keatonnaissance” in one fell swoop, or incredible camerawork that imperceptibly stitches together into (mostly) one long, seemingly cutless take, “Birdman” adds up to more. It’s borderline miraculous.

Review: Jack O'Connell Gives A Breakthrough Performance In Prison Film Classic 'Starred Up'

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • August 26, 2014 6:05 PM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Starred Up
It was a glorious, freezing, snowy Monday evening at the Göteborg International Film Festival that yielded the first truly great film of 2014. “Starred Up” (which, fine, actually premiered at Telluride last year) is an instant classic of the prison movie genre, making a bona fide breakthrough star of its lead Jack O’Connell (best known for British TV series “Skins”), while propelling director David Mackenzie’s previously solid career (which included highlights “Hallam Foe” and “Young Adam”) straight to "boss" level in one fell swoop. And in case anyone forgets, the film confirms that however often you cast Ben Mendelsohn as a violent, unpredictable scumbag, he’ll find a way to amaze/terrify you every time. The superlative-averse might want to stop reading now, because there will be many coming up in the next several paragraphs.

Book Review: Samuel Fuller's Long Lost Pulp Novel 'Brainquake'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • August 26, 2014 3:31 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Brainquake header
Samuel Fuller didn't do anything halfway, either in his life, or with his movies. His filmography reads like punch after punch of hard-hitting films — "Park Row," "Underworld U.S.A.," "Shock Corridor," "The Naked Kiss," "The Big Red One" — and it was 1982's "White Dog" that got him in particular trouble. The controversial film about dog trained to attack black people unsurprisingly found him at odds with Paramount, so Fuller went into self-imposed exile in France, where among his many activities, he turned to novel writing. It's something he had always done throughout his career, and even you might know his "The Dark Page" though the film version, "Scandal Street" (that was not directed by Fuller). However, "Brainquake," written during his foray abroad, fell through the cracks. The book was released overseas, published only in French and Japanese, and rather remarkably, never saw an English language printing until now.

Review: 'Coldwater' Explores the Violent World of Juvenile Rehabilitation Camps

  • By Katie Walsh
  • |
  • August 25, 2014 7:03 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Coldwater
Brad Lunders (P.J. Boudousqué) is awakened in the middle of the night by strapping figures wearing shirts reading "STAFF" and is unceremoniously tossed in the back of a van with other teenage boys, all handcuffed and shivering in their pajamas. They are headed to a private juvenile "rehabilitation" facility out in the country, a place where their parents have paid former military men and their lackeys a hefty sum of money to scare their misbehaving teens straight, with physical and mental torture.
More: Reviews, Review

Review: 'The November Man' Starring Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey And Olga Kurylenko

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
  • |
  • August 25, 2014 12:09 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
November Man
Perhaps the one sheet of Pierce Brosnan, a man responsible for one of the best incarnations of iconic spy James Bond, with his game face on, pointing a gun under the cheeky tagline "A Spy Is Never Out Of His Game," will be enough to convince some filmgoers that watching “The November Man” won’t be a waste of their time. The image of a scantily clad Olga Kurylenko might be a bonus too. On the other hand, those who aren’t entirely convinced by the poster should ignore the familiar axiom of not judging a book by its cover, and walk away, because other than the prospect of watching one of the best 007’s playing the game again, there’s not much of value or substance in this action thriller.

Recap: 'The Leftovers,' Season 1, Episode 9 'The Garveys At Their Best'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • August 24, 2014 11:00 PM
  • |
  • 13 Comments
Justin Theroux and Amy Brenneman in "The Leftovers"
Over the course of its first season, "The Leftovers" has quietly established itself as a show that is unafraid to continually shake up its approach to storytelling. With a vast sprawl of characters, supernatural elements and more, the creators have realized that a mystery isn't worth investing in, if you don't care about the people involved. And so, we've seen a handful of character based "standalone" episodes, that have deepened our understanding of their plight, and the reasons behind their actions. But nothing has been quite like this week's "The Garveys At Their Best," which radically jumps back in time three years to October 13th, the day before the Sudden Departure, and in a pretty riveting 50 minutes of television, shows the further links between these characters, and in most cases, the circumstances of their lives that made October 14th all the more devastating.

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti Documentary 'Finding Fela!'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
  • |
  • August 22, 2014 1:42 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Finding Fela
The legendary musician, producer, innovator and thinker Brian Eno once famously called the Nigerian Afrobeat meter one of the three greatest drumbeats of the 1970s (along with Germany’s propulsive Motorik pulse and James Brown's Stubblefield-driven funky drummer groove). And Eno's early declarations have hardly proved wrong over the decades, often turning into reliable maxims. While genius drummer Tony Allen would physically provide the rhythm, the Afrobeat sound was conceived and pioneered by Fela Anikulapo Ransome Kuti, the multi-instrumentalist godfather of this remarkable polyrhythmic African jazzfunk genre. Kuti was to Afrobeat what Bob Marley was to reggae, what Brown was to funk; a musical giant in the scene with few rightful claimers to the throne. But unlike his contemporaries who are all recognized legends worldwide, Kuti still remains largely a musical cult figure to this day.

Review: Philippe Garrel's 'Jealousy' Starring Louis Garrel and Anna Mouglalis

  • By Kimber Myers
  • |
  • August 22, 2014 11:00 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Jealousy
With its black-and-white cinematography and casting of his son as the lead, Philippe Garrel’s “Jealousy” (“La Jealousie”) feels remarkably personal and intimate. But that’s as it should be, given that Philippe Garrel based the script on his own father’s relationships. Louis Garrel stars as Louis, a man who leaves his wife (Rebecca Covenant) and young daughter Charlotte (Olga Milshtein) in the film’s first few minutes. He moves in with girlfriend Claudia (Anna Mouglalis) to a small apartment, where unhappiness soon begins to brew. He and Claudia are each tempted by others outside their relationship, while his ex-wife Clothilde grows more jealous of Claudia, not only for her relationship with her ex, but also with her own daughter. Charlotte is one of the film’s few empathetic characters, reminding us a little of the French, contemporary equivalent of the fantastic Quinn Cummings in “The Goodbye Girl” in her precociousness and self possession. As Louis struggles in most of his relationships, he continues to connect with his daughter, moving past the stereotype of the post-divorce absentee father. It’s in this relationship that he’s at his most human.

Review: Football Doc 'We Could Be King' Makes A Good Run For The Goal Line

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • August 21, 2014 7:04 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
We Could Be King
For many communities in the U.S., like those depicted in "Friday Night Lights," football is a kind of religion as much as it is commerce, a national pasttime turned into weekly spectacle around which entire cities and towns live and breathe. But in the inner city, football offers hope, a chance to stay off the streets, brotherhood and a feeling of pride that they might not get elsewhere. The sport isn't a ritual or rite-of-passage but a tool for survival, and for many cities across the country, kids in low income high schools are at risk of losing the very thing that offers a window to a better future, and an opportunity to show off the best they can be. In 2013, the School District of Philadelphia, facing a massive budget shortfall, introduced a series of drastic cuts which included closing 24 schools. And that's where the documentary "We Could Be King" kicks off.

Email Updates

Recent Comments