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Film Review: From Afar

23 hours ago

★★★☆☆ Winner of the prestigious Golden Lion at Venice last year, Lorenzo Vigas' debut film From Afar is a tightly controlled tale of quiet desperation and alienation set in present day Venezuela. Armando (Pablo Larraín muse Alfredo Castro) is a well-off small businessman with a false teeth business who regularly cruises the streets of Caracas for young street lads to come to his house and disrobe. Armando's preference is for the nudity to be partial and the sex act to be performed solo and at a distance: from afar, if you will. It is an apparently joyless fetish and a conversation with his sister makes it clear that Armando's coldness and his aversion to human contact is rooted in childhood trauma.

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- CineVue UK

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Interview: Rachel Tunnard and Jodie Whittaker

30 June 2016 4:13 AM, PDT

Writer-director Rachel Tunnard and leading lady-executive producer Jodie Whittaker are a bubbly pair. Sparky personalities and the closeness of their long-term friendship imbues kooky British indie Adult Life Skills with a warmth, familiarity and humour. The film - now playing in cinemas UK-wide - made its European premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival. They sat down for a chat with CineVue's Matthew Anderson in the Scottish capital.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: The Hard Stop

30 June 2016 4:13 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ To open his new documentary The Hard Stop, George Amponsah uses a Martin Luther King quote that acts almost as a catalyst for what follows: "A riot is the language of the unheard." It's with a view to providing the unheard with a voice that the filmmaker sought to understand the 2011 London riots and his search led him to two close friends of Mark Duggan, the Tottenham resident whose shooting by police sparked the unrest. The resulting film is an exemplar of fine balance, managing to be both a humane character study and issue-driven polemic, looking at the ongoing personal and social repercussions and contextualising the events.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: Queen of Earth

29 June 2016 5:53 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ A chamber piece constructed in pallid pastel shades, Alex Ross Perry's Queen of Earth marks a tonal if not thematic departure from the precocious misanthropy of last year's well-received Listen Up Philip. A feminist exploration of jealously contained within the lurid overtones of a domestic horror, the passive aggression gradually gives way to unbridled resentment in this disconcertingly unnerving psychodrama. Perry once again teams up with Elisabeth Moss, who puts in a remarkable performance as Catherine, Queen of Earth's tortured lead. The film opens on a close-up of her smeared mascara and tear blemished face as she sobs emphatically towards the camera.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: Notes on Blindness

29 June 2016 4:06 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Cinema may not seem like the natural medium to explore blindness. An art form dominated by images is surely ill-suited to the endeavour of trying to understand what it is like to be without sight. But cinema is memory and in the case of someone who has lost their sight, the idea of flickering frames of celluloid and light suddenly become unexpectedly poignant. That is precisely what happens with Pete Middleton and James Spinney's Notes on Blindness, which uses authentic sound recordings and reconstructed visuals to tell the story of a man coming to terms with his own loss of sight in the early 1980s.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: The Colony

29 June 2016 4:00 AM, PDT

★★☆☆☆ European middleweights Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl and Michael Nygvist form a strong foundation on which to build a semi-political historical thriller. Though Florian Gallenberger's The Colony aims for the likes of Munich and Argo, it falls some distance short, an early warning sign coming in the form of an 'Inspired by real events' fast and loose disclaimer. Set in early 1970s Chile, and prefaced with archival footage of the final days of Salvador Allende's presidency, The Colony paddles indecisively in the unspeakable ills of the Pinochet era without ever really taking the plunge.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach

27 June 2016 11:21 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆ Coming hot on the heels of his Palme d'Or triumph I, Daniel Blake, Louise Osmond's biographical documentary of Ken Loach Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach couldn't have been more timely and it is a fitting if suitably modest and workmanlike survey of the radical left wing filmmaker and his impressive body of work from almost fifty years of filmmaking. An impressive array of colleagues, actors and producers, as well as family members and friends line up to give an account of a man who friend and producer Tony Garnett calls "The most subversive left wing filmmaker England has ever had" while at the same time commenting on his conservatism, his love of 18th century architecture and how "he'd be at home at a vicar's tea party."

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- CineVue UK

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Open City Docs 2016: Depth Two review

27 June 2016 8:29 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ "No body, no crime," reads a note taken during a meeting involving Slobodan Milošević presented during Ognjen Glavonić's Depth Two. It's haunting not purely because of the powerful lingering effect of a statement of this kind, which refers to the secret ethnic cleansing of citizens of Albanian descent during the Kosovan War. It is also haunting because the film, a combination of audio testimony overlaid with present-day images of the sites of these atrocities, seems to conjure their very spectre on the screen. Unlike many documentaries of this ilk, Depth Two doesn't just discuss the ghosts of the past - it looks them starkly, squarely in the eye.

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- CineVue UK

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Criterion Review: Gilda

27 June 2016 12:52 AM, PDT

★★★★★ 'There never was a woman like Gilda', proclaimed the poster for Charles Vidor's classic 1946 film noir, and indeed, the mark that Rita Hayworth's character left on cinema is indelible. The woman who once sent the inmates of Shawshank State Penitentiary wild with desire has undeniable erotic appeal, but her definition as the archetypal femme fatale belies not only her legitimacy as a rounded character, but also as an empowered narrative agent with a range of complex and often contradictory motivations. Indeed, Hayworth's famous observation that men 'wanted to go to bed with Gilda, but woke up with Rita', is never truer than in the film itself.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: Triple 9

27 June 2016 12:35 AM, PDT

★★☆☆☆ Triple 9 is nothing if not muddled. Toplined by an all-star cast including Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson, John Hillcoat's latest is a messy and unsophisticated cop drama that quickly stumbles into a spiritless slumber. Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his crack band of crooked cops and ex-military professionals - Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus and Clifton Collins Jr. - pull off a bank heist for Russian mafia matriarch Irina (Kate Winslet) despite one or two hiccups. But instead of walking away scot-free, the crew are blackmailed into another, riskier heist on Homeland Security.

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- CineVue UK

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Open City Docs 2016: Mallory review

26 June 2016 5:26 PM, PDT

★★★☆☆ Czech filmmaker Helena Trestíková is one of the leading exponents of what she refers to as "time collecting" cinema. It is the kind of thoughtful, ruminatory documentary that explores a story over a protracted period, its the non-fiction answer to Richard Linklater's Boyhood, made famous by Michael Apted's Up series and recently utilised to startling effect by Polish director Hanna Polak in her tale of a young girl growing up in a Russian rubbish dump, Something Better to Come.

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- CineVue UK

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