There are brilliant and daring conceits that elevate and enhance the viewing experience of a film, and then there are shameless and hollow gimmicks that do little more than hook the viewer in and fail to deliver anything meaningful. 'The Tribe' both promises and delivers on the former with a premise and a narrative concept unlike anything in conventional cinema: a story told from the perspective of a Ukrainian boy attending a school for the deaf where everyone speaks in sign language, and we're given no voice over or subtitles to hold our hand.
Throughout David Fincher’s adaptation of ‘Gone Girl,’ it was almost as if my subconscious was telling me that this movie shouldn’t be as good as what I was watching. That’s not a slam on Gillian Flynn’s novel (obviously; I haven’t read it), it’s just that the book is presented in such a unique way, which would at least seem almost impossible to pull off – just in a basic book vs. movie sort of way. Look, I understand that this following statement can be said about most movies, but in a less capable director’s hands – and with a less capable cast -- this movie could have easily have been garbage. Actually, this movie should have been garbage.
The last few years in horror have felt rather stale, but hot on the heels of watching the terrifying and refreshing 'The Babadook' at Fantastic Fest comes 'It Follows,' the sophomore effort from writer/director David Robert Mitchell. Similar to the lo-fi tone of his debut film, 'The Myth of the American Sleepover,' the comparisons end there for Mitchell's follow-up, which smartly and horrifically explores the politics of young adult sexuality.
“If this were a TV show, I’d watch it every single week.” These were the words I spoke right after watching Antoine Fuqua’s theatrical version of ‘The Equalizer,’ which is kind of a dumb thing to say considering that ‘The Equalizer’ was a TV show. Though, this updated version of ‘The Equalizer’ bears little resemblance to the mid-‘80s version, even though it kind of has everything to do with it.
'50 Shades of Grey' has officially been put on notice by 'The Duke of Burgundy,' the gorgeous and glorious sophomore effort from British director Peter Strickland, the vivid mind behind 'Berberian Sound Studio.' A film which features not a single male actor and which examines the ins and outs of a dominant/submissive relationship, 'The Duke of Burgundy' is also an incredibly smart and surprisingly funny relationship drama.
It's become increasingly rare for horror films to make an effort to truly scare us these days, but Jennifer Kent's 'The Babadook' gets under the skin in ways that are both visceral and highly emotional. A mediation on a mother's grief and the displacement of that grief onto her son, the film echoes Stephen King's 'The Shining' in many ways, while lead actress Essie Davis gives a chill-inducing performance evocative of vintage Sissy Spacek and Mia Farrow.
Keanu Reeves seriously does not get the credit he deserves. Over the years it seems like he's just been accruing knowledge from project to project, figuring out what works for him and what doesn't, and now he's distilled and perfected something that's almost hard to define. Last year he brought the crazy, crowd-pleasing martial arts flick 'Man of Tai Chi' to the Fantastic Fest film festival, and this year he returns with 'John Wick.' It's a ridiculous action thriller in which Reeves plays a former hitman-type out for revenge because some obnoxious Russian gangster's son steals his cool muscle car and kills the puppy his dead wife sent him as a present -- yeah, really.
This weekend, you now have a choice: You can continue to solve your favorite maze puzzles in the privacy of your own home or you can watch a movie about mazes. No matter how you break it down, this is a very exciting and difficult decision. Hopefully, that decision will become a little easier after we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘The Maze Runner.’
It’s impossible to separate 'Rosewater' from the personality that is Jon Stewart. On the surface, this statement makes little sense, because many films are deeply culturally intertwined with its director. But 'Rosewater' is a little different, because it’s a person not known for directing -- or even really acting, for that matter. Jon Stewart is famous, but famous for something almost completely unrelated. It would be as if Derek Jeter or Joe Biden directed a movie. The public curiosity with 'Rosewater' is all because of who directed 'Rosewater,' not what 'Rosewater' is about.
‘Foxcatcher’ – directed by ‘Moneyball’ director Bennett Miller – premiered Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival after a highly successful debut at Cannes earlier this year. It’s the true story of the intricate relationship between two brothers and Olympic wrestlers -- Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) – with their wrestling team financier and sort of coach, John du Pont (Carell), of the famed and extremely wealthy du Pont family … a relationship that ends in paranoia and disaster.