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The Playlist

What Are You Seeing This Weekend? '21 And Over,' 'Jack The Giant Slayer' & 'The Last Exorcism' Lead The Charge

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • March 1, 2013 4:58 PM
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In Theaters: Jack The Giant Killer, 21 And Over, The Last Exorcism Part II,
Lots to look at this week! Unfortunately, the big studio pictures are a bit disappointing, featuring well-worn stories that aren't particularly innovative or entertaining. Popular critical opinion recommends ordering "The Hangover" or "Das Boot" from Netflix rather than paying for the direct descendants playing on the big screen. Lucky for multiplex owners, the institution of public film exhibition and us, a handful of international films, documentaries, and American independent pictures pick up the slack. So -- in the ongoing battle between the private DVD player and the theater projector -- what will it be: the couch or the cinema? Let us know in the comments below!

Review: Oscar Nominated 'War Witch' A Haunting, Brutal Surrealist Fable Matched by Powerful Lead Performances

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • February 27, 2013 5:30 PM
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Before any political or societal context enters the brutal cinematic depictions seen in “Come and See” and “City of God,” each effort can first speak clearly enough from the image of a child holding a firearm. Gawky, nervous, and with an expression of terrified power, the isolated sight holds many questions to a decayed rationality and natural order, but as Canadian director Kim Nguyen's shows within his searing look at African child soldiers, “War Witch," those two aspects are the first to be excised in warfare. Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.

MIFF '12 Reviews: Miguel Gomes' 'Tabu' & Kim Nguyen's 'War Witch'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • August 20, 2012 2:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Gomes' Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner is an evocative, lyrical two-chapter love story separated by decades and continents that transcends what initially seems to be nothing more than an experiment in style over substance. Beginning in modern day-ish Lisbon, we are introduced to Aurora, an old woman mentally and physical deteriorating, in an equally frightening and hilarious performance by Laura Soveral. On her death bed, Aurora mentions a lover's name which is written off by two companions (her maid and an empathetic neighbour) as nonsense but, upon discovery of this man's actual existence and his arrival to the hospital, the film transports into a dreamy, fairytale-like flashback to the pair's African-set romance that audaciously couples the existing black and white, 4:3 and 16mm photography with a world where there's little-to-no spoken dialogue and narrated by Gian Luca (Carlotta Cotta with v.o. by Gomes himself) -- a character abrutly introduced only seconds before.

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