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Crimson Peak | Blu-ray Review

1 hour ago

Unfortunately, Guillermo Del Toro’s original Gothic romance Crimson Peak didn’t translate to box office gold, netting thirty one million at the domestic box office (it was budgeted at fifty-five million) and receiving criticism for a basic narrative failing to live up to the promise of inventive visuals. Still, one can appreciate Universal’s gambling on Del Toro’s vision and hope the property is considered lucrative enough to continue supporting unique visions from auteurs. Featuring a talented cast (despite the questionable casting of Jessica Chastain), Del Toro’s period suspense thriller collapses under close inspection, but is worth a glance as a piece of glossy strangeness.

Borrowing mercilessly from yellowed clichés of romantically inclined gothic literature, screenwriters Del Toro and Matthew Robins (whose last collaboration was the 1997 mutant insect thriller Mimic) plunder Edgar Allan Poe templates infused with the emotional melodrama oozing eternally from the pages of the »

- Nicholas Bell

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99 Homes | Blu-ray Review

2 hours ago

Director Ramin Bahrani scores his most lauded venture yet with the critically acclaimed 99 Homes. Premiering in competition at Venice in 2014, Broad Green Pictures released theatrically a year later, though its limited booking didn’t reclaim its budget of eight million. Michael Shannon landed a Golden Globe and Indie Spirit Award nod for Best Supporting Actor, but a hushed awards campaign didn’t break into Oscar territory. A social issue drama masquerading as a potential genre film, this film should obtain a wider audience for the highly regarded Bahrani.

Though his 2012 farming melodrama At Any Price found the filmmaker gaining wider visibility with notable cast members, its Death of a Salesman treatment of modern capitalistic woes in America’s heartland left much to be desired, even as it showcased a surprising couple of performances, notably from Zac Efron. The filmmaker returns to look at a similar situation in a different market, »

- Nicholas Bell

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Victoria | Blu-ray Review

3 hours ago

Earning about as much praise as criticism (including tying for the Silver Berlin Bear in 2015) is actor/director Sebastian Schipper’s fourth feature, Victoria, the impressively formulated, single take romance/bank heist thriller. Completed after three attempts and largely improvised (the initial script was only twelve pages), it’s a testament to the ambitious possibilities of cinema, and potentially an argument for the necessity for multiple takes in the first place. Although its limited Us theatrical release in October, 2015 courtesy of distributor Adopt Films didn’t garner the same excited response it received on the international circuit (it was actually bypassed by the Toronto International Film Festival), this will be a title now referenced as the gold standard for narratives transpiring within a single take.

Opening in the throes of a dance floor of a packed techno club, Victoria (Costa), makes her way to the exit. Dawn is approaching, and she’s scheduled to work, »

- Nicholas Bell

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Haynes, Hhh, George Miller, Sean Baker & Bruno Dumont Lead the 2016 Ics Award Noms

21 hours ago

The more “international” body of tastemaker critics have anointed Todd HaynesCarol, Hou Hsaio-Hsien’s The Assassin, George Miller’s Mad Max, Sean Baker’s Tangerine and Bruno Dumont’s Li’l Quinquin as the better film items for 2015 and top vote getters with the most noms for 2016 Ics Awards. Winners of the 13th Ics Awards will be announced on February 21, 2016. Here are the noms and all the categories.

Picture

• 45 Years

Arabian Nights

• The Assassin

Carol

Clouds of Sils Maria

The Duke of Burgundy

Inside Out

• Li’l Quinquin

Mad Max: Fury Road

• A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Tangerine

Director

Sean BakerTangerine

Bruno Dumont – Li’l Quinquin

Todd HaynesCarol

• Hou Hsaio-Hsien – The Assassin

George MillerMad Max: Fury Road

Film Not In The English Language

Amour Fou

Arabian Nights

• The Assassin

Hard to Be a God

Jauja

• La Sapienza

• Li’l Quinquin

• Phoenix

• A »

- Eric Lavallee

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Little Men | 2016 Sundance Film Festival Review

8 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST

Gentrified Agreement: Sachs’ Poignant Examination of a Childhood Friendship

For his sixth feature, Ira Sachs returns to Brooklyn with Little Men, a perceptive study of a friendship made tenuous by the apathetic realities of gentrification. While such a description seems to guarantee a pointed examination of untoward socioeconomic realities, it’s a quietly discerning exercise in human connections agitated by unfortunate circumstances. Built carefully around two newcomers and featuring a seasoned international supporting cast in the adult roles, it’s another wonderful assortment of vibrant, complex lives from the director and his partner/screenwriter Mauricio Zacharias, following collaborations on Keep the Lights On (2012) and Love is Strange (2014). Tender and tragic, it’s an unpretentious portrait of love and friendship tempered by powers beyond its characters’ control, building poignancy as affirming as it is staunchly sorrowful on certain inevitabilities.

Following the death of his grandfather, Jake (Theo Taplitz) is forced to »

- Nicholas Bell

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