Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

It is occasionally the case that a film has such a perfect first shot that, the moment it appears before your eyes, you already know that you’re about to see a masterpiece. Atlantics has such a first shot: a sleek new skyscraper rising in the background above a street in Dakar, capitol city of Senegal. […]

Winner of the Silver Hugo for Best DirectorScreens at CIFF: 10/15 & 10/16World premiere: 15 May, 2014, Cannes International Film Festival There is a heightened irony at the heart of Timbuktu that is completely obvious, and which fuels the rage that drives every moment of Abderrahmane Sissako’s first feature in eight years, following the great […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/17 & 10/19 & 10/20World premiere: 9 August, 2013, South Africa The ability to completely discombobulate the audience is one that any good thriller-make should count among their skills, and with Of Good Report, director Jahmil X.T. Qubanka proves that he has that down cold. Lord knows it’s not the first film […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/18 & 10/20 & 10/21World premiere: 28 January, 2013, Göteborg International Film Festival There was a time, believe it or not, when 70 minutes or so was considered quite a fine running time for a feature film – certainly on the short side of things rather than the long side, but common […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/14 & 10/18 World premiere: 12 October, 2013, Chicago International Film Festival There is, as far as I can tell, nothing wrong with Cold Harbour (which I first saw and reviewed under its festival title, Black South-Easter) That is the good news. It’s a snugly-plotted cop thriller in which the […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/13 & 10/14World premiere: 26 March, 2013, New Directors/New Films In a lot of ways, the debut film of director Alex Pitstra, Die Welt, is a paint-by-numbers affair – the lines flawlessly filled in, which not everyone can do, but still – but I think it’s fair to start talking […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/13World premiere: 13 February, 2013, Berlin International Film Festival There’s symbolism and there’s SYMBOLISM, and João Viana’s The Battle of Tabatô tends to traffic in the latter: it has characters and a plot in the strictest sense, but even they are functions more of what the film wants to say […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/19 & 10/21 World premiere: 11 September, 2012, Toronto International Film Festival There are so many examples across the years of a culture under-represented in mainstream art forms making itself known through the means of a crime drama set on the mean streets of a poor neighborhood that Burn It […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/13 & 10/16 World premiere: 10 February, 2012, Berlin International Film Festival The scenario underlying Tey, alternately known as Aujourd’hui – it is not clear at all to me which is the more “official” title, though both words mean “today” in their native language – is too fantastic for realism, […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/14 & 10/18World premiere: 21 July, 2011, Durban International Film Festival Dramas about apartheid are rare; South African films are rare; South African dramas about apartheid are thus exceptionally rare. And for that reason alone, I feel guilty about finding so little particular merit in Otelo Burning, a film about […]

The biggest problem with recommending movies to other people – not as a critic, but as an ardent cinephile who loves to share the films I adore with friends and family and people I’ve just met at a bar – is that, after the title and maybe the director, the first thing anyone wants to […]

Brainy sci-fi thrillers are always a treat, especially in a summer like this one, where the popcorn tentpole movies have for the most part been fairly uninspiring duds. So let’s be thankful for Neill Blomkamp’s remarkably assured feature debut, District 9, which although hardly flawless, rips along at a devilish pace unheard of, to my […]