Berlinale Review: ‘Logan’ Redefines a Tired Genre by Diminishing Excesses and Finding Its Humanity

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: A visceral, violent, sensitive and heartbreaking film, “Logan” overwhelmingly exceeds the hype. James Mangold‘s second entry into the standalone “Wolverine” franchise marks Hugh Jackman‘s last time dawning the now-iconic adamantium claws. The tone of “Logan” is set immediately, with the film’s setting portrayed as a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland in the year […]

Berlin Critics’ Week Review: ‘California Dreams’ Is an Ambitious Blend of Documentary and Fiction

2017 Berlin Critics’ Week: From director Mike Ott (“Actor Martinez,” “Lake Los Angeles”), “California Dreams,” a docu-comedy, is one of the first of its kind. It is wonderfully funny, bleak and depressing, blending fiction with reality; the film uses real people not trained actors. It stars Cory Zacharia and follows the lives of five people – Cory, Patrick, Neil, Kevin (A Dog […]

Berlinale Review: ‘Weirdos’ Is a Beautiful Coming-of-Age Ode to the 1970s and American Counter-Culture

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: “We are all weirdos. That’s what makes us beautiful.” This quote from the film, “Weirdos” by Bruce McDonald (“Pontypool,”Roadkill”) consummately encapsulates the main theme of this eclectic period piece. Set in 1976 Nova Scotia, Canada, on the cusp of America’s bicentennial, the film follows two days in the life of two teenagers who embark […]

Berlinale Review: ‘Final Portrait’ Provides Perfect Perspicacity Into the Life of Swiss Artist Giacometti

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: Actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci (“Big Night,” “The Lovely Bones”) undertakes his fifth directorial effort with “Final Portrait,” a film about Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush), the esteemed and eccentric Swiss painter and sculptor. Based on James Lord’s biography, “A Giacometti Portrait,” the film follows Lord (Armie Hammer), an art critic, […]

Berlinale Review: ‘DISCREET’ Another Step Forward for Auteur Travis Mathews

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: “DISCREET” follows the metaphysical journey of an emotionally compromised man named Alex (Jonny Mars). It is Travis Mathews‘ feature follow-up to the critically acclaimed and uncompromising film, “Interior. Leather Bar.” The tone is immediately established through creepy visuals and odd, whispery and snapping sound effects. The film begins with a young […]

Berlinale Review: ‘T2 Trainspotting’ Deftly Balances Sentimentality With Sobering Substance

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: Danny Boyle‘s original “Trainspotting” was a seminal masterpiece (and based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name). Welsh’s novel is reminiscent of the “Angry Young Men” movement founded by British literary figures, playwrights and filmmakers. Referred to as “kitchen sink realism,” the movement morphed into exploring the issues of the lower […]

Berlinale Review: Steve Coogan’s Career-Best Performance Saves ‘The Dinner’ From Falling Apart

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: Writer and director Oren Moverman is no stranger to intense subject matters. The Tel Aviv, Israel native was the mastermind behind “The Messenger,” a film which catapulted Ben Foster into superstardom, about the men in the United States military who are assigned to give the unfortunate news of soldiers’ deaths to their families. […]

Berlinale Review: ‘Vaya’ Offers Rare Glimpse of Life in Johannesburg

2017 BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The film “Vaya,” by acclaimed South African director Akin Omotoso (“God is African,” “Man On Ground”), which debuted last year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), takes place in”Jozi,” or “Joburg,” or Johannesburg. Our very own staff writer Shane Slater briefly covered this film when it debuted last September. As Berlinale […]

Oscars Film Review Catch Up: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Falls Short of Fantastic

There are a lot of things to like about “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” But, it is not quite as magical as the Harry Potter series from which it is derived. Fans of the billion dollar Potter franchise instantly recognized the film’s title as the name of a Hogwarts School textbook. The book was written […]

my father die

Film Review: ‘My Father Die’ Sacrifices Taste For Style

Sean Brosnan’s merciless “My Father Die” plunges audiences into the deepest, darkest denizens of Southern swamp life. Following a visually enthralling prologue wherein childhood tragedy is witnessed via black-and-white filtering, the film devolves into gruesome revenge porn. Back in the spring of last year, SXSW attendees reported their wild enthusiasm following Brosnan’s debut. However, once the […]

Film Review: ‘The Bye Bye Man’ Is Conceptually Stellar but Murders Its Execution

Stacy Title‘s mentally terrorizing “The Bye Bye Man” is a spiritual sibling to films as recent as “It Follows” and as classic as “Nightmare on Elm Street.” This modern update of the “Boogeyman” archetype distorts audience perception on what is real and what is demonically manipulated. There’s some clever plot twists and innovative effects to […]