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    AFI Fest Review: ‘The Planters’ Grows Into a Fragile State of Mind

    2019 AFI FEST: Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder’s “The Planters” represents a stunning feat of auteur announcement. The dynamic duo both star and direct their debut with tour de force confidence, commanding every frame of their black comedy with tonal preciseness. Every gesture, expression, line-read, and framing technique is meticulous in forming a world of […] More

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    AFI Film Festival Review: ‘The Truth’ Solely Revolves Around Catherine Deneuve

    For as long as there has been theater, there’s been the trope of the prima donna actress. When done best, it either exaggerates the behavior to comic degree (see Dianne Weist in “Bullets Over Broadway”) or makes efforts to take their concerns seriously (see Juliette Binoche in “Clouds of Sils Maria”). As he showed in the Oscar-nominated film “Shoplifters,” […] More

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    Film Review: ‘Relaxer’ Could Not Be More Uncomfortable

    2018 AFI FILM FESTIVAL: How far will someone go for a bet? “Relaxer” pushes all bounds of taste as it hurls its protagonist into the most mindless challenge possible. The set-up, can our protagonist beat a video game? In order to win, both the protagonist and the audience are subjected to nausea, claustrophobia, toxic masculinity […] More

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    Film Review: There’s Nothing Great About ‘The Great Pretenders’

    2018 AFI FILM FESTIVAL: “The Great Pretenders” fails at every genre it pretends to be. As a romance, it never makes you believe its characters relationships. As a comedy, it fails to make you laugh at the characters it seems to have active contempt for. Finally, as a film with a puzzle structure, the different […] More

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    Film Review: ‘Shoplifters’ Is Guaranteed To Steal Your Heart

    AFI Film Festival (2018): No genre touches all my emotions quite like the “unconventional family that adopts a child” narrative. While squarely falling into that classification, “Shoplifters,” the latest film from Hirokazu Kore-eda, proves itself to be more adventurous. The notion of family gets redefined by this group of people, all relying on each other […] More

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    AFI Film Review: ‘Gemini’ Looks Like a Film Noir But Doesn’t Act Like One

    2017 AFI FILM FESTIVAL: For all its glitz and glamour, Hollywood remains the home of the noir. Whether it’s modern noir (“L.A. Confidential”), an old classic (“Chinatown”), a genre-bending head trip (“Mulholland Dr.”) or even a cartoon (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit”), film loves to pull back the curtain of Hollywood’s seedy underbelly and expose the […] More

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    AFI Film Review: ‘Foxtrot’ Pays Off With a Bold Storytelling Approach

    2017 AFI FILM FESTIVAL: Who names a war film after a popular dance move? If that proves anything, it’s that the film “Foxtrot” is far from simple. Told in a three-part structure, spanning from a high rise in Tel Aviv to the desolate desert checkpoints, “Foxtrot” takes a bold approach to narrative storytelling. This seems […] More