8 items from 2015
In a 1939 short story by lifelong labyrinth aficionado Jorge Luis Borges, the king of Babylonia attempts to embarrass his guest, the king of the Arabs, by stranding him in a convoluted maze he’s constructed at his palace. Furious, the Arabian king responds by sacking Babylonia, riding the rival king out into the middle of the desert and leaving him to die, saying, “Allow me to show you my labyrinth.” Though lacking in Borges’ ironic symmetry, Wes Ball’s “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” a sequel to last year’s Ya adaptation “The Maze Runner,” pulls the exact same switcheroo. Containing no mazes but plenty of running, the film takes the original’s surviving characters and drops them into the middle of an entirely different type of movie, this one a desert-set zombie chase. Generally successful on its own as a strange survival-horror-action film for the pre-college set, but without »
- Andrew Barker
It’s been just under a year since I last interviewed comics writer Ales Kot, but the shaven-headed Czech seems noticeably more mature now. He’s still one of the comics industry’s most-buzzed-about young guns, but rather than raving about the revelatory power of hallucinogens, he’s more into discussing prison reform. He’s still creating comics that are challenging and unconventional, but instead of tales about spies and Marvel superheroes, he’s doing indie work about race, class, and torture. The 28-year-old Kot’s transformation isn’t surprising, as he’s had quite the year. He’s suffered from a debilitating bout of Lyme disease. Just as he was becoming one of Marvel’s biggest up-and-coming stars, he took a leap of faith and quit the company after wrapping up an acclaimed 15-issue run on Marvel’s Secret Avengers (which was more about Ptsd and Jorge Luis Borges »
- Abraham Riesman
A man is haunted by a woman, and a melody. He is a writer, and she is the ballerina he fell in love with 40 years ago after he saw her dance to a particular tune that, nearly half a century later, is wafting back into his mind by way of a dream. In writer/director Ben Chace's arresting "Sin Alas," we find the aging author Luis Vargas (Carlos Padrón) in Havana, Cuba, opening his newspaper to learn that the ballerina haunting his brain, Isabela Munoz (Yulisleyvís Rodrigues), has died. The news startles him into revisiting his buried past, and the bourgeois life he shed to pursue political revolution as a young man. Part mystery, part ghost tale, this seductive film draws inspiration less from film than from postmodern literature, specifically from the freely flowing writings of Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine midcentury author of slippery tales including the stories in "Ficciones" and "Labyrinths. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Ales Kot is one of the freshest, most cerebral voices in comics. He cut his teeth on DC Comics’ Suicide Squad with a run focused on the demented serial killer Jim Gordon Jr. before taking his talents to Marvel. Kot wrote two of their quirkiest titles, namely, Secret Avengers, which made supervillain Modok a full-fledged Avenger and had a good mix of references to Jorge Luis Borges and Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Coulson having existential crises in the middle of space. Speaking of space, he has also written Bucky Barnes, Winter Soldier, which followed the titular character’s trippy adventures on distant planets depicted in the style of Heavy Metal by artist Marco Rudy.
But Kot has also worked on creator owned comics as part of the Image Comics renaissance. Zero is an espionage series created by him and his Secret Avengers collaborator Michael Walsh and has found critical and commercial success. »
- Logan Dalton
The sculptures of Gonzalo Fonseca — hand-carved blocks of marble and limestone riddled with secret compartments, moveable pieces, mysterious emblems, and tiny staircases — look like Paleolithic dollhouses designed by M.C. Escher. They don’t quite make sense, but they radiate an internal logic so seductive it’s hard not to feel as though you once encountered them in a dream, wandering through the works like abandoned cities. While Fonseca enjoyed a one-man show at the Jewish Museum in 1979 and represented his native Uruguay in the 1990 Venice Biennale, after his death in 1997, his work has lapsed into obscurity. A forgotten man who made mazes, Fonseca could have emerged from the pages of Jorge Luis Borges. The lost artist is poised to make a dramatic resurgence, however, with a new documentary directed by Michael Gregory. Slated for the 2016 festival circuit, the film is one prong of a full-blown Fonseca »
- Zoë Lescaze
Simone Rapisarda Casanova’s pastoral documentary “The Creation of Meaning” revolves around shepherd Pacifico Pieruccioni, a fit, wiry man in his 60s whose every gesture feels like part of an unchanging rhythm that proclaims him entirely at home in his corner of the Tuscan Alps. But the land does not belong to him and is now up for sale. As he and his donkey, dog, goats and chickens pursue their peaceful routines, visitors drop by to swap stories of Italy’s past and present conflicts. Theatrical play seems a long shot, though this lovely, laidback reverie could flourish in niche venues.
Despite its rather pretentious title and superficial resemblance to Michelangelo Frammartino’s contrived bucolic art piece “Le quattro volte,” makes no attempt to awe viewers into ontological epiphanies. Instead it picks up on what Jorge Luis Borges called “Alephs” — ambivalent confluences of past, present and future, where meaning may lurk. »
- Ronnie Scheib
With more than 400 films being shown across the city of Buenos Aires at sites as diverse as an outdoor amphitheater, the planetarium and the city's opera theater, Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de cine Independiente (Bafici) is set to roll from April 15th through the 25th. Here is an overview of this year's lineup at South America's largest film festival. Both the opening night film and the closing night film are world premiers of works by Argentine directors, which Bafici showcases year after year. The opening film is El cielo del Centauro by director Hugo Santiago, who returned to Buenos Aires to shoot forty-three years after collaborating with the immortal Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges on the film Invasión. On closing night, Bafici will show the...
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We return with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting the recent independent horror news sent our way. Today’s feature includes release details on Amnesiac, The Atticus Institute, and Alien Outpost, multiple trailers, premiere details for Head, and a Q&A with the founder of The Philip K. Dick Film Festival:
Amnesiac Distribution and Release Details: “Amnesiac tells the story of a man (Wes Bentley) who wakes up in bed suffering from memory loss after being in an accident, only to begin to suspect that his wife (Kate Bosworth) may not be his real wife. The web of lies and deceit deepen inside the house where he soon finds himself a prisoner.
XLrator Media has acquired North American distribution rights to the psychological thriller Amnesiac starring Kate Bosworth (Still Alice, Superman Returns) and Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games series, Interstellar). XLrator Media will release the film in Summer 2015 on its acclaimed “Macabre” genre label. »
- Tamika Jones
8 items from 2015
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