Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

At some point, I imagine it will get old to keep watching sardonic dark satires about life in the Communist days made in the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Bloc; they’ve been all but a cliché on the film festival circuit for as long as I’ve been going to film festivals. […]

The Romanian New Wave that stormed into international prominence with The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu in 2005, 12:08 East of Bucharest in 2006, and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007 is still with us, though I think it’s fair to say that it lacks the sparkle of the new. Some while ago, […]

There’s a single characteristic about Sieranevada around which all the others revolve, and that is duration. The film is 173 minutes long. Other films, of course, have been longer, but that’s by all means an impressive span of time, and Sieranevada makes sure we feel it: a solid 150 minutes or more of the film […]

Starless Dreams is an exercise in pure heartbreak. The documentary has more on its mind than simply making the viewer feel terrible (it is, in fact, a social problem film, though one that offers nothing resembling a solution for the seemingly endless nightmare of human suffering it depicts), but feeling terrible is an unavoidable side […]

Early on in In the Last Days of the City, a filmmaker on a panel can be heard to grumble that he and his colleagues were there to discuss cinema, but that everything they’ve talked about has concerned politics. This is as close as this magnificently sloppy film comes to a direct thesis statement, for […]

Reposting on the day of the film’s U.S. theatrical release, because it was one of the clear highlights of my very satisfying 2014, and it never hurts to remind people when a masterpiece is hanging around, waiting to be seen. Winner of the Silver Hugo for Best DirectorScreens at CIFF: 10/15 & 10/16World premiere: 15 […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/10 & 10/12 World premiere: 18 May, 2014, Cannes International Film Festival There’s an entirely great film living solely within the footage that makes up the complete Force Majeure, and plenty of people would apparently argue that the great film is the final cut. Hence the film’s victory in the Un Certain […]

The business of being a fan of horror movies is a frustrating and thankless one, since they are so especially prone to being bad, but ever so often one comes along that you can stand up and cheer and point at and say “that one. That is what I have been waiting for”. And oh […]

Categories: ciff, horror, teen movies

Screens at CIFF: 10/11 & 10/12 & 10/22World premiere: 5 September, 2014, Venice International Film Festival If you like your stories of life in Islamic ex-Soviet states to be full of long takes with very little dialogue, a very literal concept of the link between the landscape and the people inhabiting it, and proud women […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/10 & 10/21World premiere: 17 January, 2014, Sundance Film Festival The business of being a fan of horror movies is a frustrating and thankless one, since they are so especially prone to being bad, but ever so often one comes along that you can stand up and cheer and point at and […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/18 & 10/19 World premiere: 28 August, 2013, general release in Iceland From its 2013 release in its native Iceland all the way to its present international festival run, the pitch for writer-director Benedikt Erlingsson’s terrific debut feature Of Horses and Men (the original Iclandic title, which is universes better in its […]

Winner of the Silver Hugo for Best CinematographyScreens at CIFF: 10/14 & 10/16 & 10/22World premiere: 7 September, 2014, Toronto International Film Festival 1001 Grams is, first and foremost, a precious movie. It has a darling little shadowbox of a plot in which heightened characters move through immaculately quirky setpieces on their way to a […]