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A Bloody (Laugh) Riot: Mayhem

By Elias Savada. The tongue-in-check, over-the-top aspect of Mayhem, a looney tune of a film from director Joe Lynch, offers a steroid-infused day in the life of a really toxic office environment. And I do mean toxic, as in a nasty, infectious virus nicknamed ID-7, which first appears, appropriately, as a cartoonish drawing. Heck, why not […]

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“Shift to Sincere”: A Gray State

By John Duncan Talbird. In January of 2015 screenwriter and aspiring filmmaker David Crowley was found dead along with his wife, Komel, and five-year-old daughter, Raniya, in their Apple Valley, MN suburban home. Crowley had self-funded a promotional video for a proposed film called Gray State, a dystopian vision of America in which protesting citizens are […]

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The Paris Opera: A Rhapsodic Story

By Cecilia A. Zoppelletto. The sophisticated style of The Paris Opera, whilst weaving stories of mundane occupations with the artistic highlights of this world, turns the documentary itself into an opera. The story, which follows the classic formula of the backstage picture by taking place in a theatrical setting where the dramatic moments develop behind […]

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Alaskan Neo-Noir: Sweet Virginia

By Elias Savada. As the latest shadowy slant on the malevolent small town subterfuge melodrama – following a few weeks after George Clooney’s Coen Brothers-inspired Suburbicon, which takes the neo-noir thriller sub-genre to totally outlandish levels – Sweet Virginia is a more personal, low-key affair that follows the aftermath of a triple murder in a […]

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Trauma and Courage: Barbara Kopple’s A Murder in Mansfield (DOC NYC)

By Kate Hearst. Barbara Kopple’s latest documentary revisits a high profile domestic murder case in Mansfield, Ohio in 1989, and reveals how this tragedy continues to haunt. In vérité style, Kopple follows thirty-eight-year-old Collier Landry as he returns to his hometown, where at age eleven, he witnessed the murder of his mother Noreen Boyle by […]

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The Saga Doesn’t Begin – The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One

By Elias Savada. If you create a film and title it to suggest it’s the beginning of a series, you better hope that your audience will arrive in quantity and that your product will offer up quality. Tossing in some originality would help, too, rather than using the beg-borrow-and-steal approach for this low-budget effort from Australian […]

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Lancing a Bourgeois Boil: The Square

By Elias Savada. Auteur provocateur Ruben Östlund loves to pick at society’s scabs – and make you laugh and writhe at any unsettling pus that oozes out. As with the squirm-inducing Force Majeure (2014), the Swedish writer-director’s funny-sad journey into middleclass smugness, The Square, his latest bourgeois boil being lanced, viewers will be trick-and-treated to an […]

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Documenting the Final Days: Waiting for Kiarostami

By Ali Moosavi. Abbas Kiarostami’s passing in 2016 deprived the lovers of the 7th art of his unique blend of documentary and fiction, real and imaginary and left a very large void in Iranian and world cinema. Waiting for Kiarostami is the second tribute to the late master made after his death. While Seifollah Samadian’s 76 Minutes […]

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Two of a Kind: Faces Places

By Jeremy Carr. Once you accept and appreciate the superficial contrast between Agnès Varda (a legendary filmmaker, diminutive, inspirationally enthusiastic if rigid by age — she is pushing 90, after all) and JR (tall, lanky, young and mobile, a quintessentially hip modern artist), the rest of Faces Places begins to comfortably come together. The initial opposition […]

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It’s All About the (Many) Details – 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene

By Elias Savada. I can’t remember the first time I saw Psycho. I was a 10-year-old kid when Alfred Hitchcock’s menacing tale made more than a few people start avoiding motels. (Keep telling yourself: It’s only a motel! It’s only a motel!) The film wasn’t the kind of thriller my suburban middle-class parents would want to […]

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