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4 items from 2017

Berlin Film Review: ‘Devil’s Freedom’

12 February 2017 6:30 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Don’t be fooled by his film’s slim running time: Everardo González, Mexican documentarian and laureate of various international festivals, can pack an awful lot of bleakness into 74 unhurried minutes. But thanks to a simple, chillingly inspired device, “Devil’s Freedom” — a mournful investigation into the phenomenon of Mexico’s “disappeared” from the perspectives of those bereaved by, and those responsible for, some truly barbaric acts of kidnapping, torture, and murder — is deeply compelling despite toiling in the grimmest recesses of human behavior. González’s subjects, whether perpetrators or victims, all wear masks: grotesque, flesh-colored balaclavas with crude cutouts for eyes, nose, and mouth. This single flourish, without compromising the authenticity of the first-person testimony that forms the bulk of the film, lends a surreal cast to the visuals, and introduces a host of disturbing and provocative associations.

The masks alternately suggest the bandages of burns victims or bring »

- Jessica Kiang

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Kuso’

27 January 2017 6:48 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Nearly every year at the Sundance film festival, some out-there entry ekes a modicum of press attention from reports that viewers fainted, barfed, or walked out en masse. This year, that film would be Midnight selection “Kuso,” though so far the drama hasn’t escalated beyond walkouts (an apparent sizable minority at public screenings, a majority at the press screening attended). Instead of deterring everyone, such notoriety inevitably whets the appetite of people who 50 years ago would have been lining up for their 10th viewing of “Mondo Cane” — the sort of audiences forever on the lookout for something weirder or more extreme to make them go, “Ewwwww!”

Those viewers, as well as some among the habitually-stoned, will constitute the primary fans of this first feature by “Steve,” aka Steve Ellison, better known as electronic musician, producer, and deejay Flying Lotus. Everybody else is going to want to take a wide »

- Dennis Harvey

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‘Newness’ Review: Nicholas Hoult And Laia Costa Can’t Save Drake Doremus’ Dating App Drama — Sundance 2017

24 January 2017 3:10 PM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Have you guys heard about millennials? Well, Drake Doremus has — he’s one of them! — and he’s got some thoughts about all that random sex they’re having. Doremus, who won Sundance with 2011’s sensitively simple “Like Crazy,” has never met a flimsy romantic premise he couldn’t populate with beautiful people and banal observations. It was only a matter of time before this prolific indie auteur turned his eye toward the hedonistic thunderdome of dating apps.

Set in contemporary Los Angeles, “Newness” tells the story of two horny (but also sad) twentysomethings who mysteriously regain their feelings and fall in love, causing tensions between themselves and their society. This is not to be confused with Doremus’ last film, the sci-fi slog “Equals,” which was set in an emotionless utopia where two horny (but also sad) twentysomethings mysteriously regain their feelings and fall in love, causing tensions between them and their society. »

- David Ehrlich

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Glasgow Film Festival 2017: Complete line-up revealed

19 January 2017 2:58 AM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

The complete programme for the 2017 Glasgow Film Festival, which kicks off on 15th February has been released. The festival, which runs through until February 26th, will feature over 310 separate events and screenings of films from 38 countries.

UK Premieres include Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey, Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome and Aki Kaurismäki s The Other Side of Hope.

Paul Verhoeven’s Golden Globe-winning Elle, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire; Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest; Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, and Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling will also play at the festival.

As we announced previously,  John Butler’s Irish coming-of-age charmer Handsome Devil will open the festival on the evening of the 15th February, while Mad To Be Normal, starring David Tennant as infamous Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, will close the festival on the 26th.

The festival »

- Paul Heath

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