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 […]

EXCLUSIVE: Stanley Tucci and Armie Hammer Discuss Art, Food, Stardom, Politics and ‘Final Portrait’

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: After the premiere of “Final Portrait,” which was extremely well-received at audience and press screenings alike last weekend, I had the opportunity to discuss all things art, food, inspiration, stardom, politics and activism, as well as the film industry narrative shift toward streaming services and the making of “Final Portrait” with Stanley […]

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 […]

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With ‘Vaya’ Director Akin Omotoso

2017 Berlin International Film Festival: After outstanding critical reception following its Toronto International Film Festival and its premiere last week at the Berlin International Film Festival (or “The Berlinale”) on Feb. 11, “Vaya” is on pace to be a festival circuit hit, and might even garner major awards attention as the year progresses. Awards Circuit had the chance […]

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: 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 […]

Film Review: ‘Patriots Day’ Is a Poignant and Affecting Portrait of a National Tragedy

Peter Berg knows the power of suspense, but even more than that, he knows the virtue of the human spirit, as is demonstrated by his work in “Patriots Day.” In a year that has already included an exhilarating demonstration with “Deepwater Horizon,” Berg has found his niche and comfort zone within filmmaking. Compelling and sobering, […]

Film Review: ‘Live By Night’ Has Luscious Looks That Can’t Save Its Numbing Plot

With an impressive trio of films that any working director would be lucky to have on their résumé, Ben Affleck has proven to be a powerful force in Hollywood. Winning an Original Screenplay Oscar for 1997’s masterpiece “Good Will Hunting” with pal Matt Damon, he returned to the ceremony in 2012 for his Best Picture-winning […]

My Life as a Zucchini

Film Review: Claude Barras’ Tender ‘My Life as a Zucchini’ Brings Social Realism to Animation

With a title like “My Life as a Zucchini,” you’d be forgiven for thinking that Claude Barras‘ new animated film would be a happy-go-lucky story with talking vegetables. But you would be sadly mistaken. Barras takes animation down rarely trod paths with this heartrending film centered around children dealing with issues surrounding death, depression and […]

Film Review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Is an Arresting New Chapter for Fans and Newcomers to Relish

The “Star Wars” universe is a world of endless possibilities about what stories you can explore, with an unprecedented amount of quality thematic elements that can be examined. With “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Lucas Films and Walt Disney Pictures have started the analyzing elements of looking at different ways to tell the stories […]