Archive for July, 2013

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San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: The Attack

July 30, 2013

directed by Ziad Doueiri, 2012

ATTACK

The titular attack in Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri’s The Attack seeks to expand the scope of moral conscience in modern-day Israel. For all intents and purposes, the calibrated efforts to make this film a provocative and insightful commentary on suicide bombers and those they leave behind is uniformly slight and simplistic. Adapted from a novel by Yasmina Khadra, The Attack is tonally all over the board in what it seeks to accomplish. Carrying on as a thriller, procedural and drama doesn’t quite fit here, with the end result being one of small human stakes and obvious moral ambiguity.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Fantasia Film Festival: Vessel

July 29, 2013

directed by Adam Ciancio, 2013

vessel

Writer and director Adam Ciancio’s Vessel aims to create a dialogue and original discourse between humans and extraterrestrials, a concept explored in many forms and in many films throughout the years, but quite possibly never as hopelessly uninventive as portrayed here. While its conceptual conceits and low budget charm set out to be a welcome addition to this particular sci-fi sub-genre, Vessel never fully articulates its feelings and emotions on the otherwordly and its seemingly life altering affect on the human condition. The film’s creative outlets are specifically whittled down to minimalist degrees in an attempt to bring into focus the film’s human element, one which fails at grasping at any interesting or reflective emotional perspective.

Read full review at Sound on Sight

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Killing Season

July 16, 2013

directed by Mark Steven Johnson, 2013

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When viewed as a battle of awful accents and shoddy cat and mouse intrigue, Killing Season fully succeeds. The tagline for the film reads “The purest form of war is one on one,” quite the contrary here, as the latest film from Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, Daredevil) is a dead-on-arrival slog of post-wartime revenge and redemption. Killing Season is entirely okay with resting on its pure surface levels laurels, as its intended “thriller” approach grows increasingly familiar and forgettable.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Viola

July 13, 2013

directed by Matías Piñeiro, 2012

viola

Viola runs only 65 minutes long, featuring hymns of candid expression and dancing revelation; its tactful sneakiness and willingness to reverberate is found in its fable-like moral glare. Almost defiantly free of some clear definable form, the unfurling of feeling and emotion within Viola is tied to Piñeiro’s probing of the “life as a grand stage” model. While the first 10-15 minutes of Viola can come across as quite trying, the quotidian shifting of this world is uncanny, producing an endless aroma of repetition and grace. The film is largely a riff on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, centering on a troupe of young female actors and their seemingly endless musings on romance and love. Comprised of a mix of 7 plays, the text of Twelfth Night and the drama of Viola eventually shift backstage as the narrative leaves us floating alongside these beautiful actresses and their wide collection of insights and revelations.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Drug War

July 9, 2013

directed by Johnnie To, 2012

Drug War

Equipped with a hardened zeal and a swift set of genre kinetics, Drug War is close to perfect: a lean and airtight spiraling saga of bullets, busts, and betrayals. While it would be apt to characterize To’s structurally dense and assured crime picture as another run-of-the-mill actioner, fear not, as To essentially takes a torpedo to said characterization by way of seamless formal and narrative control.

Read full review at Sound on Sight

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My Month in Films: June ’13

July 1, 2013

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Best first time viewings
1. Before Midnight (Linklater, ’13)
2. Post Tenebras Lux (Reygadas, ’12)
3. Passion (De Palma, ’12)
4. Sparrow (To, ’08)
5. The Happening (Shyamalan, ’08)
6. This Is the End (Goldberg/Rogen, ’13)
7. You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet! (Resnais, ’12)
8. Dark Skies (Stewart, ’13)
9. Uncle Kent (Swanberg, ’11)
10. The Strange Little Cat (Zurcher, ’13)

Worth mentioning
Sun Don’t Shine (Seimetz, ’12)
Stoker (Park, ’13)

Worst
V/H/S/ 2 (Various, ’13)
Silver Bullets (Swanberg, ’11)
Man of Steel (Snyder, ’13)
The Purge (DeMonaco, ’13)
World War Z (Forster, ’13)
Gangster Squad (Fleischer, ’13)

Best rewatches
The Color Wheel (Perry, ’12)
Upstream Color (Carruth, ’13)
Spring Breakers (Korine, ’12)
Side Effects (Soderbergh, ’13)
Captain Ron (Eberhardt, ’92)