12 items from 2016
A boy unravels haunting truths within his island community in Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Evolution. Recently released in theaters and on VOD from IFC Midnight, Evolution has now been slated for a March Blu-ray / DVD release from Scream Factory.
Evolution - This eerily seductive mind-bender is a dark, dreamlike descent into the depths of the unknown. Ten-year-old Nicolas (Max Brebant) lives in a remote seaside village populated only by boys his age and adult women. But when he makes a disturbing discovery beneath the ocean waves—a dead boy with a red starfish on his stomach—Nicolas begins to question everything about his existence. What are the half-remembered images he recalls, as if from another life? If the woman he lives with is not his mother, »
- Derek Anderson
Some movies revel in mysteries so well that they don’t require solutions. French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution” provides an ideal example. Ten-year-old Nicolas (Max Brebant) spends his days in an isolated seaside hospital, along with several other children, all of whom are subjected to an alarming medical process. His mother, and the other women who tend to the boys, obscure the reasons behind the confined setting. When Nicolas spies on them after dark, he gets no closer to answers — but the puzzle pieces gradually congeal into a pileup of transgressive sexuality, body horror and strange laboratory experiments. Nicolas doesn’t put it all together, but as he learns to look harder, he takes action against the ominous events around him. It’s the year’s wildest coming of age story.
Buried in the Vanguard section of the Toronto International Film Festival last year, “Evolution” defies simple categorization. Hadzihalilovic »
- Eric Kohn
As we slowly near the end of the year, more and more films are not only vying for the attention of critics and awards voters alike, but even the smallest of pictures are hoping to find some sort of foothold with audiences, no matter how niche the group may actually be. That’s exactly the case for director Lucile Hadzihalilovic and her newest and arguably best film, Evolution.
Despite having IFC and their side brand IFC Midnight behind their release both in theaters and eventually on VOD (likely where this film will garner it’s widest audience), Evolution is an absolutely superb drama but one that is so singular it verges on the mysteriously esoteric. The film tells the story of Nicolas (Max Brebant), who lives in a seaside village whose only inhabitants are pre-teen boys and adult women. However, their modest lives are upended when a young boy washes »
- Joshua Brunsting
For cinephiles who prize mysterious, forbidding atmosphere over a straightforward narrative, it’s been a long wait for Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s second feature. Her gorgeous debut, Innocence, played the festival circuit in 2004 (and got a tiny U.S. release the following year); viewers who’d read that she’s creatively involved with Gaspar Noé (Irreversible, Enter The Void), and braced themselves for something similarly confrontational, were instead treated to an uncommonly delicate coming-of-age allegory set in a very odd girls’ boarding school. Hadzihalilovic’s formal precision in that film, combined with the quietly outré choice of material (it was adapted from a 1903 novella by Frank Wedekind), was impressive enough to inspire intense curiosity about what she’d do next. For over a decade, though, what she did next was nothing. So it was cause for celebration when Evolution finally turned up, and a great relief to discover that »
- Mike D'Angelo
This week, IFC Midnight debuts Evolution, the new film from French filmmaker Lucile Hadzihalilovic. It’s been 12 years since Hadzihalilovic’s last film, Innocence, debuted in the U.S., and for fans of that film, Evolution’s poetic take on body horror is worth the wait. Set on an isolated island populated exclusively by women and young boys, the film evokes the fears that come when our bodies start to change during puberty in a symbolically rich fable that should also appeal to fans of slow-burn sci-fi like 2014’s Under The Skin.
The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd saw Evolution at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where he said, “‘Beguiling’ feels like a weird word for something so frequently gross and eerie, but Hadzihalilovic casts a singular dreamlike spell, her thin storyline evoking a cluster of childhood fears, preoccupations, and desires.” Now, we’re ...
- Katie Rife
This year’s holiday season is full to bursting with new movies, from the expected awards contenders to a number of festival favorites and some true-blue feel-good offerings to round out the pack, and we’re pleased to offer up 22 of the coming weeks’ best bets for film fans of all stripes. Whether you’re looking to beef up on your Oscar contenders, take the whole family to see something they all can enjoy or you just want to lose yourself in the magic of the movies, the rest of 2016 has something for you.
Take our advice, there’s no better place to spend the season than at the movie theater, so start here.
“Allied” (November 23)
Robert Zemeckis has had an interesting relationship with on-screen history. “Forrest Gump” reimagined decades worth of Americana and “The Walk” turned a grace note of New York history and crafted a spectacle. “Allied” finds him in historical thriller mode, »
- Kate Erbland, Eric Kohn, David Ehrlich, Steve Greene, Graham Winfrey, Zack Sharf and Chris O'Falt
"I saw a dead body. In the sea. There was a star on his belly." A boy makes a haunting discovery underwater in the trailer for Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Evolution, but it's what's happening on the ground that is the real nightmare. Viewers can learn the sinister secrets of a mysterious island for themselves on November 25th when IFC Midnight releases Evolution theatrically in New York and Los Angeles, as well as on VOD.
Press Release: IFC Midnight is proud to present Evolution, Lucile Hadzihalilovic's evocative, mysterious latest feature film. The film's world premiere took place at the Toronto International Film Festival, and marked the very welcome return of Hadzihalilovic's (Innocence) distinct voice on the international cinematic stage. The film went on to enthrall audiences at Fantastic Fest, BFI London Film Festival, the San Sebastian International Film Festival where it won the "Special Jury Prize" as well as "Best »
- Derek Anderson
"...10-year-old 'Nicolas' lives with his mother on a remote island, in a village inhabited solely by women and young boys. In a hospital overlooking the ocean, all the boys are subjected to a strange medical treatment. Only Nicolas questions what is happening around him.
"He senses that his mother is lying to him, and is determined to find out what she does with the other women at night, on the beach.
"What he discovers is the beginning of a nightmare into which he is helplessly drawn. But in 'Stella', a young nurse at the hospital, Nicolas finds an unexpected ally..."
Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "Evolution"...
- Michael Stevens
Ahead of a release this November, the unsettling U.S. trailer has arrived for Evolution, writer-director Lucile Hadzihalilovic first feature since 2004’s Innocence. The mind-bending fever dream follows Nick, who lives in a hospital in a small seaside town where the only residents are boys and women. When Nick comes upon a dead body in the ocean resting beneath a starfish, he begins to question the very fabrics of his world, which includes the question: “why am I here?” What follows seems to be a visually compelling journey into the bizarre, which one critic has described as a cross between Jacques Cousteau and David Cronenberg.
While it is assuredly visually stunning — as many of the reviews covering the trailer state — the question remains of whether or not its narrative and deeper thematic trappings can hold up to its aesthetic qualities. We said in our review: “Despite all the needles going into skin throughout, »
- Mike Mazzanti
2Nd Update (9/23, 3:23 Pdt): An earlier version of this article listed Elle Evans as the actress who plays the title role in The Love Witch. That distinction in fact goes to Samantha Robinson. We regret the error. Update (9/22, 11:37 Pm Pdt): The same day this article was published, Paramount pushed back the release date for Rings from October 28 to February 3, 2017. Original Article: Fall has traditionally been viewed as the prime time of year for the horror film, but this summer was actually a pretty good one for the genre, with movies like The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, and the surprise smash Don't Breathe doing gangbusters business in the midst of blockbuster season. But the year's not over yet! With September in full swing, there are a number of worthwhile (and, yes, questionable) titles looming on the release calendar over the next three months. Below, you can find a rundown of 12 upcoming horror films, »
- Chris Eggertsen
The trailer for Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala's great Austrian horror film Goodnight Mommy went viral last year after it was deemed by several outlets to be one of the scariest of all time (my own reaction was a tad more measured), a designation the movie itself couldn't possibly live up to but which nevertheless goosed its North American box office take to $1.1 million -- an impressive total for a foreign art house film directed by unknown filmmakers. I found Mommy to be an insightful, provocative, disturbing and ultimately devastating portrait of grief, and I couldn't help but think of it while viewing the new trailer for another European horror film, Lucile Hadžihalilovi?'s intriguing Evolution. First off, what a trailer. Unlike the advertising for so many American horror films (including this one that just dropped today), it gets under your skin by leaving much to the imagination, creating a sensuous, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Writer-director Lucile Hadzihalilovic (who directed Marion Cotillard in Innocence and worked with Gaspar Noé on Enter the Void) returned this fall with her new film, Evolution. Debuting at Tiff and stopping by AFI and Fantastic Fest, the film centers on Nicolas (Max Brebant), a ten-year-old boy living on a remote island that is solely inhabited by women and young boys. All of the boys are subjected to strange medical treatments and Nicolas becomes determined to find out exactly what his mother and the other women are up to. Ahead of its U.K. release — and months in advance of a U.S. fall opening — a new preview has arrived.
This sounds intriguing, but it didn’t work for us. As we said in our review, “A silly horror movie at heart, Lucile Hadžihalilovic’s Innocence follow-up seems to confuse “ideas” with “prolonged silences,” certainly pertaining to both our young protagonist »
- Nick Newman
12 items from 2016
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