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Stuck in the Sprawl: Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium

By Thomas Puhr. With just two features under their belts, director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley have already mapped out a distinct approach to genre filmmaking. “Mapped” is the operative word here, since both Without Name (2016) and Vivarium (2019) share a preoccupation with hostile, maze-like landscapes: a labyrinthine forest in the former and […]

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All Senses Considered – Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel by Gerd Gemünden

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. I received Gerd Gemünden’s Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel without having seen a single film by the titular artist. To say I’ve been missing out is an understatement. The movies themselves are evidence enough of Martel’s singular vision and its significance to global cinema, but having the additional opportunity […]

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Light and Silly: Love Type D

By Elias Savada. Love Type D is a light, silly satire that could use a little more development in its wacky plotline. Still, the feature debut from writer-director Sasha Collington does have its moments until it rushes to solve one big scientific riddle with a bit of madcap ho hum in its finish. This British […]

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Folks, Please Lock Your Doors!: The Dark End of the Street

By Elias Savada. World premiering at the DC Independent Film Festival, director-writer Kevin Tran’s feature debut brews up a disconcerting cross-sampling of concerned residents in a middle-class, suburban New York City neighborhood. They want to think they are in Mayberry (where no one locks their doors), but one wonders why they don’t in today’s world. […]

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An Immersive Observational Doc: Paris is Burning (Criterion Collection)

By Gary M. Kramer. Jennie Livingston’s vibrant, groundbreaking 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning, about the Harlem drag-ball scene, has been digitally remastered and released by Criterion on DVD and Blu-ray. The film, which was part of the New Queer Cinema movement, remains a stunning achievement thirty years after its initial release. (It played to sell-out […]

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Suspense Gone Sluggish: The Burnt Orange Heresy

By Gary M. Kramer. The Burnt Orange Heresy purports itself to be the power of the critic in shaping the experience of a viewer, or, rather, how one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Well the truth about this film, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, and written by Scott […]

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(Re)considering Rudolph Valentino

By Thomas Gladysz. We are going to see why Rudolph Valentino got his first star billing, in a picture called Blood and Sand…. In 1922, when that picture was released, it was considered the absolute epitome of adult entertainment. Well, it is still a good show. Before this picture, his type was unknown on the […]

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Trans Lives Matter: The Garden Left Behind

By Elias Savada. Director Flavio Alves’s indie feature The Garden Left Behind is all about dreamers, whether they are transgender people looking for acceptance, or illegal immigrants hoping that armed authorities are more than an arm’s distance away. Alves seriously explores the trials and tribulations of a young Mexican trans woman’s hopes and aspirations in […]

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Home Sweet Ho-Hum: José Ramón Larraz’s Deadly Manor (Arrow Video)

By Rod Lott. One month after releasing 1998’s Edge of the Axe on Blu-ray, Arrow Video returns to the José Ramón Larraz well with Deadly Manor, another of the late Spanish director’s three career-twilight reciprocations to the slasher trend. The 1990 film stakes another claim on his CV, being his final foray into horror. Deadly […]

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Sound and Vision: Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole

By Thomas Puhr. You hear before you see anything: a muffled gurgling noise accompanies the black screen over which the opening credits play. This disorienting audio elicits several questions (Who, or what, is making these noises? Are they sounds of pleasure, discomfort, pain?), all before a single image appears. With this enigmatic opening, Kantemir Balagov’s […]

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