Film Review: ‘The Age of Shadows’ Is a Fun, Pulse-Quickening Spy Yarn

In 2015, South Korea selected Lee Joon-ik’s “The Throne” as their official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Based on the life of the Crown Prince Sado, it was crafted around a rather sadistic premise where said prince was ultimately forced to be locked up in a rice chest until death. Unsurprisingly, the Academy […]

Austin Film Festival

Middleburg Film Review: ‘La La Land’ Examines the Dark, Unforgiving Nature of Hollywood

2016 MIDDLEBURG FILM FESTIVAL: It is extremely difficult to live up to any expectations, especially when they’re set by yourself in your own psyche. It can sometimes be nearly impossible for one of the most anticipated films of the year to match those expectations. Damien Chazelle‘s highly anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Whiplash” was not just […]


Middleburg Film Review: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Uses Words as Weapons and Images as Pure Power

2016 MIDDLEBURG FILM FESTIVAL: Following magnificent and sophisticated documentaries about the civil rights movement, “I Am Not Your Negro” from Raoul Peck had huge shoes to fill. Seemingly struggling to find its footing earlier on in the picture, by the mid-way point, the film finds its way to an ending that will leave you in tears. […]


NYFF Film Review: ‘Elle’ Tantalizes Its Viewer With Difficult Material and Isabelle Huppert’s Striking Portrayal

2016 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: Paul Verhoeven has established himself as one of the most controversial directors working today. Constantly pushing the boundaries, and hitting contentious and often heavily questionable beats and choices, the “Showgirls” director has seemed to hone in most of that and put it to good use in his provocative thriller “Elle.” […]


Film Review: ‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki’ Packs a Featherweight Punch

You’ve seen it countless times before. An underdog fighter gets the chance of a lifetime to compete for the world championship title against a formidable opponent. He undergoes rigorous training to overcome the odds, often to triumphant ends. Juho Kuosmanen breaks away from the formula with “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki,” […]


NYFF Film Review: ‘Things to Come’ Is Straightforward but Not Particularly Compelling

2016 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: Honest and real, Mia Hansen-Løve‘s look into the life of a woman whose world comes crashing down is at times compelling and provocative. Anchored by a strong leading turn from Isabelle Huppert, “Things to Come” is an ultimately satisfying examination, even if it slugs through its own narrative. Hansen-Løve focuses […]


NYFF Film Review: ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Focuses on Technology and Nothing Else

2016 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: With a luxurious resume that includes timeless films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain,” there has been an expectation that there isn’t anything that director Ang Lee can’t accomplish. His last venture “Life of Pi,” which also premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2013, pushed the […]


Film Review: ‘Jackie’ Commands the Screen With Natalie Portman Heading the Charge

A biopic that breaks the barriers and conventions of the genre, Pablo Larrain‘s “Jackie” layers itself as a deeply felt drama masquerading as a new form horror venture. Exulting an adept and dexterous performance from Natalie Portman, “Jackie” transcends the ideas and imagery of the former first lady, and thrusts her into the spotlight of […]


Film Review: ‘Long Way North’ Delivers Compelling Adventure and a Strong Heroine

If there is one thing that the current hoopla surrounding Disney’s upcoming live action “Mulan” proves, it’s the evolving tastes of today’s audiences. Amid the anti-whitewashing protests, many were also concerned about the perceived prominence of the romance element. Indeed, audiences are no longer satisfied with the “princess needs Prince Charming for her happily ever […]

Sky Ladder scheduled to stream on Netflix. Shown: Remembrance, chapter two of Elegy: Explosion Event for the Opening of Cai Guo-Qiang: The Ninth Wave, realized on the riverfront of the Power Station of Art, August 8, 2014. Photo: Lin Yi, Courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix

Film Review: ‘Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang’ Showcases an Awe-inspiring Artist

At one point in “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang,” the film mentions its subject Cai Guo-Qiang’s desire to top the great Pablo Picasso. Under normal circumstances, the statement would appear to be overly arrogant. But as director Kevin Macdonald proves in this new documentary, Cai Guo-Qiang is no ordinary artist. Indeed, this account of his […]


NYFF Film Review: ’20th Century Women’ Redefines Family and Relationships

2016 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: Clever and beautifully endearing, Mike Mills‘ beautiful portrait of five people in the late 1970s is one of the year’s most glamorous efforts. Vaunting an exceptional ensemble, Mills’ wistful and ingenious script stands tall above the competition. Sweet-minded and shimmering in its comedic beats and even more irresistible in its […]


NYFF Film Review: ‘Toni Erdmann’ Is Ambitious but Ultimately Flawed

2016 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: Maren Ade‘s touching, and often funny “Toni Erdmann” finds the nuance in many family relationships. Its look into the lives of a father and daughter struggling to take the serious out of their life, and vice versa, is quite charming. It is weirdly neurotic and reckless, but by credits end, […]


Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Is a Vanity Project Sending a Terrible Message to its Target Community

The importance of minority filmmaking is at an all-time high. The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag provided a spotlight onto a dark matter into an industry we love. It’s with movements like this that co-writer and director Nate Parker is afforded the opportunity to make “The Birth of a Nation.” He also gets to lend his tremendous acting […]

Yorgos Pirpassopoulos and Efthymis Papadimitriou in CHEVALIER

Film Review: ‘Chevalier’ Is a Buddy Comedy With a Touch of Class

Like her Greek contemporary Yorgos Lanthimos, director Athina Rachel Tsangari has an unorthodox sense of humor. As leading figures of what The Guardian termed “The Weird Wave of Greek Cinema“, they have delivered some of the most unusual premises and characters to the big screen. That trend continues in Tsangari’s latest film “Chevalier,” an unusual buddy […]