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The Truth Lies….: Cold Case Hammarskjöld

By Michael Sandlin. It’s now been eight years since Scandinavian prankster filmmaker Mads Brugger donned his pith helmet and jodhpurs in Angola to impersonate a blood diamond buyer – recording on film the whole farcical mess that ensues for his 2011 documentary feature The Ambassador. Now mad Mads is back in Africa in his pith helmet and post-ironic […]

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An Old Soul Gone Too Soon: Love, Antosha

By Yun-hua Chen. Paying tribute to the late actor Anton Yelchin’s life, this biographical documentary extends far beyond his acting career. As Garret Price’s directorial debut premiered at the Sundance three years after the freak car accident in 2016 which took Yelchin’s life at the age of 27, the film traces Yelchin’s life from the […]

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Mike Wallace is Here – and Isn’t

By Christopher Sharrett. The premises of the new documentary Mike Wallace is Here are contradictory, and I suppose meant ironically so. The late TV journalist, most famous for helping start the television “magazine” 60 Minutes, is portrayed as the founding father of hardball electronic journalism – and a shameless huckster who sold things on TV, as well […]

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Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché – Saluting the Film Archival Community

By Elias Savada. In a way, I consider myself a film archivist. I don’t do that for a living now, but I do have close ties with many such institutions, especially in the United States (the larger repositories being the Library of Congress, NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, Rochester’s George Eastman Museum, the UCLA Film […]

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The Excelling Historical Document – Film and the Historian: The British Experience by Philip Gillett

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Some months ago, I struggled through a book about remembering British Television published by the BFI. My dissatisfaction with the contents stemmed from my feeling that it represented a theoretical top-down approach showing very little evidence of necessary field work whose empirical (a bad word in those days of […]

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Enthralling Familiarity: Claudio Giovannesi’s Pirahnas

By Ali Moosavi. Pirahnas, which won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, is based on a novel by Roberto Saviano, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Saviano also performed this double duty on Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, 2008). Pirahnas begins with a scene inside a deserted shopping mall. Two rival youth […]

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The Mountain: A Discouraging Word

By Christopher Sharrett. My subtitle is taken from a moment in Rick Alverson’s film The Mountain, where we see a black-and-white, furniture-bound TV, the type representative of the 1950s, showing Perry Como singing “Home on the Range,” a song that is close to a national anthem, and is referred to as an “anthem of the West.” […]

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Diverted Dreams: Astronaut (2019)

By Jeremy Carr. Septuagenarian grandfather Angus (Richard Dreyfuss) has harbored dreams of space since he was a child. Although the waning years of his life have generally clouded those fancies, thanks to life’s bitter two-pronged tinge of disappointment and regret, he still looks to the stars in order to “see where we belong.” In Astronaut […]

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On the Border, with Soap Opera: Tel Aviv on Fire (2018)

By Yun-hua Chen. What would bring the two opposing sides across the Israel-Palestinian borders together? Tel Aviv on Fire’s answer is, through a popular tear-jerking soap opera and some good hummus. The film follows a naïve and melancholic young Palestinian man, Salam (Kais Nashif), who initially works as an assistant to his TV producer uncle […]

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The Kurious Kase of a Kinski Krimi: Riccardo Freda’s Double Face

By Rod Lott. Ah, young love! When John (enfant terrible extraordinaire Klaus Kinski) meets Helen (Margaret Lee, Venus in Furs) on holiday in 1969’s Double Face, their courtship is instant and intense, with bedding and wedding in quick succession. Within two years, predictably, the white-hot flame of love has burned out. “Do you want a […]

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