Review: ‘A War’ explores war’s quiet, forgotten horrors

Review: ‘A War’ explores war’s quiet, forgotten horrors

More than 14 years later and the war in Afghanistan is still going on. President Obama declared the end of U.S. military combat operations in Afghanistan in December of 2014, but 9,800 American troops and 3,200 NATO troops remain there to prop up the ineffectual Afghan Army as the longest war in U.S. history unofficially […]

‘The Fool’: A modern propaganda film

‘The Fool’: A modern propaganda film

Dima Nitikin is an honest plumber who lives with his wife and son in his parents’ apartment. Studying architecture in his spare time, he’s what you might call ambitious, but not by his mother’s standards. She berates him and his father for refusing to play the system: when all of the neighbours are stealing to […]

Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice: At sea in search of love

Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice: At sea in search of love

  A mechanic in the French navy, Alice (Ariane Labed) spends much of her life on board cargo ships. Her new boyfriend Félix, a Norwegian graphic novelist, waits patiently for her at home. She is called to serve on the Fidelio to replace a man who has died on board. Having taken over the dead […]

Silence tells the story in “Ida”

Silence tells the story in “Ida”

The alarming precision of nuns singing chromatically descending chants. The hollow, circular depression of earth on the grounds of the convent where a life-size statue of Jesus stands, and where Ida paces restlessly. The hermetic insularity of these images and sounds are what give “Ida” its incisive narrative force. Despite its circular and deceptively simple […]

Drinking Buddies (2013)

Drinking Buddies (2013)

With no end in sight to the glut of autobots and decepticons, board game adaptations and bloated Marvel costume parties passed off as narrative storytelling, Tinseltown could use a little more mumble in its movies.

Before Midnight: Unevenly Matched

Before Midnight: Unevenly Matched

Before Midnight offers a long-awaited update on the lives of Céline and Jesse, the couple who met on a train to Vienna in the 90s, then came together again in Paris the 2000s after Jesse wrote a book about their brief encounter. The second film, Before Sunset, ended ambiguously, with the possibility that Jesse might […]

Why did we watch ‘Amour?’

Why did we watch ‘Amour?’

I am not fluent or even remotely familiar with the French language. But, after watching Michael Haneke’s “Amour” and listening to it play out four more times in the movie theater where I work, I became attuned to repetitive patterns in the dialogue. From merely listening to “Amour,” I learned the French translation for the […]

No: Too Good at Recreating the 80s

No: Too Good at Recreating the 80s

In 1988, Chile held a referendum to decide whether dictator Augusto Pinochet should stay in power. For one month, both sides could express their views in daily 15-minute TV slots. Pablo Larraín’s new feature, No, stars Gael García Bernal as adman René Saavedra, who is asked to lead the ‘No’ campaign. When he first meets […]

Lawrence of Arabia: Deserving of its Place in the Sun

Lawrence of Arabia: Deserving of its Place in the Sun

This year marked the 50th anniversary of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. To mark the occasion, a digitally restored edition was released, and I had a chance to see it on the Empire Leicester Square’s biggest screen: an auditorium vast enough to complement the scale of the film’s setting, but normally reserved for mediocre Hollywood […]

Sound of My Voice (2012)

Sound of My Voice (2012)

Sometimes, maybe most of the time, ambiguous endings are cop-outs. The crime isn’t in subverting audience expectations—who wants movies without surprises?—but in betraying the stories themselves. Most stories deserve definitive endings, and audiences are rightfully frustrated when they don’t get them. But sometimes the situation is reversed and an ambiguous ending is the only way […]

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