Browsing: Film Reviews

Azar, a new feature drama from Iranian Cinema, carries the name of its main female character.  Azar’s husband, Amir (Hamid Azarang) and his cousin, Saber (Houman Seyyedi) are planning to start a fast-food restaurant together and they need Saber’s father financial help. Saber is killed accidentally during an argument with Amir, Azar’s husband ends up in jail. The film suffers from a weak and confusing screenplay. The images in a supposedly feministic concept, deal with a subject that is against the movie promise, has no sign of women’s dignity or values of a woman as a wife. But instead film…

The imaginative world of a 9-year-old girl is superbly captured in writer-director Narges Abyar’s meandering but fascinating Breath (Nafas), which takes its place among memorable Iranian films about childhood from masters like Kiarostami, Panahi, Naderi and Majidi. Here an insightful woman director’s POV is a welcome plus, along with an astonishing performance by first-timer Sareh Nour Mousavi in the emotion-packed main role of the motherless Bahar. As Iran’s submission for consideration in the Academy Awards’ foreign-language film category, the pic comes with some impressive credentials, having won best director prizes at Tallinn Black Nights and the Vancouver Women’s Film Festival…

It’s the summer of 1983 when a doctorate student named Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives in the northern Italy town of Crema to intern for Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent researcher of Greco-Roman culture and history. The charming Oliver is also greeted at the Perlman villa by the professor’s wife Annella (Amira Casar) and their 17-year-old son Elio (Timothèe Chalamet), the latter of which Oliver strikes up a close friendship…and then something more. Over the course of that one sun-baked summer, Oliver and Elio — seemingly unfettered by the time and place — come to realizations about themselves and each…

Matt Spicer’s bitter comedy of the absurd follows Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza, deadpan but with a manic edge), a depressed twentysomething who inherits $60,000 from her mother and uses the money to move to California, inspired by Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram influencer she read about in Elle. Taylor’s bio is a sincere string of platitudes: “Treasure hunter. Castle builder. Proud Angeleno.” Ingrid pilfers tips on how to curate the right kind of cool from Taylor’s social media feeds and it’s not long before the young women become “BEST friends”, shopping for artisanal lamps and alternating margaritas with lines of…

Building on the surprising success of his English language debut The Lobster, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos puts a further deadpan spin on the horror genre with his new film The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a fatalistic and at times morbidly funny tale in which the sins of a father are visited upon his family in bizarre and horrifying ways. A Greek tragedy transplanted to the decorous environs of New York’s bourgeois professional classes, it stars Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy, a heart surgeon with a seemingly picture-perfect life. His wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) is a successful optometrist and their…

“My Brother, Khosro”, an intelligent movie, deals with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family that one of its members has a mental problem. Understanding, reactions and problems of the family members with this issue, has consequences that just knowing of it melts anyone’s heart. * The older brother of Khosro, Nasser, has a cliche life style and has made an ivory tower for himself from traditional social rules. Nasser and his wife are both dentists, his wife is in the last months of her second pregnancy. Their first child,…

Iranian film director and writer Amir Naderi’s[1] rise to prominence has not only provided him with the recognition that his powerful cinema richly deserves, but it has also helped shed light for world audiences on an almost ‘closed society.’ His success has helped open new frontiers for other Iranian film-makers inside and outside of Iran. Naderi is one of the major Iranian film-makers whose work and contributions (along with a few others)[2] to Iranian cinema in the 1970s created the magnificent fundamental basis that blossomed and flourished in the 1980s and has established itself in the 1990s as one of…

Oil painting was arguably the dominant visual art form for nearly 500 years before being replaced in the early 20th century by film. But no one has had the courage to fully combine the two mediums until now. Loving Vincent, an astonishingly beautiful new movie about the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, is the brainchild of Polish filmmaker Dorota Kobiela, who directed it with English moviemaker Hugh Welchman and wrote it with Welchman and fellow Pole Jacek Dehnel. It took them and a team of more than 100 artists over six years to hand-paint the film’s 65,000 frames.…

This absurdist drama is a departure for France’s rom-com topliner Virginie Efira. Here she stars as Victoria, a fast-sinking lawyer and borderline sex-addict at loggerheads with an ex-husband set on exposing her every tryst on his incendiary blog.To make matters worse, she is roped into defending a friend accused of stabbing his fiancée at a wedding. It all spirals into mayhem when the only witness, a guest’s monkey, takes to the stand in the most bizarre murder trial in cinematic (and legal) history. Against all odds, the manic comedy and its lead scooped Césars nominations for best film and actress. Lurching between…

When you see eyes glow in the dark, you are probably not among friends. That is one cinema trope that comes to bear in “Spoor,” a new Polish thriller in which a forest becomes littered with the bodies of hunters. But while the mysterious eyes at night and hoofprints in the snow are visible to Janina Duszejko (Agnieska Mandat), an Earth Mother who communes with Nature and lives alone in a cabin in the woods, she has a hard time convincing the local police and prosecutor that animals are tied to a spate of deaths. That’s just too weird. But…

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