Creation from Abandonment and Abuse: Nora Unkel’s A Nightmare Wakes

by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. Mary Shelley’s nightmare wakes, explains the film, because her life was a waking nightmare.” The events surrounding the birth of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein are almost as famous as the novel itself. During the rainy summer of 1816, the scandalous Lord Byron played host to […]

Hollow Metacinema from Turkey: The Cemil Show

By Gary M. Kramer. This ambitious Turkish film is often artificial and pretentious.” Screening as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, February 4-7, the ambitious Turkish film, The Cemil Show, opens with a black-and-white square frame sequence from the (fictional) B-movie Kabus. Actor Turgay Göral (Basar Alemdar) is carrying […]

Extremism by the Numbers: Kimo Stamboel’s The Queen of Black Magic

By Thomas Puhr. Gorehounds will likely feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth, but some may find a bitter taste – one unrelated to the on-screen viscera – lingering in their mouths.” Although gross-out horror movies often follow a tried-and-true recipe (an isolated setting, a series of increasingly-complex and nauseating special […]

In Another Country: David Perrault’s Savage State

By Thomas Puhr. Too plodding for genre enthusiasts and hackneyed for arthouse devotees, Savage State will likely underwhelm both audiences.” Westerns set during the American Civil War are a dime a dozen, but David Perrault’s Savage State (L’état sauvage, 2019) offers an enticing twist: that of a French family attempting […]

A Scorching Slow Burn: Paul Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers

By Jeremy Carr. Lingering apprehension goes on and on like some unyielding, if seemingly uneventful dream, which befits the film’s surreal and otherworldly constitution.” Colin and Mary (Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson) are two English tourists on holiday in Venice, and they’re hungry. The hotel concierge directs them to a […]

Jorge Ameer Does the Yuletide Decorating with The Family Tree

By Elias Savada. No doubt the film is somewhat stifled by its technical faults (at least in my online viewing). The Family Tree offers up a spiritual dish in a different setting, probably outside your comfort zone.” Panamanian indie filmmaker Jorge Ameer’s name (and initials) is all over the place […]

Two Tales of the Border: Identifying Features and No Man’s Land

Identifying Features By Gary M. Kramer. The austere approach of Identifying Features contributes to the film’s haunting quality,,,,, (while) No Man’s Land‘s bluntness is why it is ineffective.” Two films that deal with characters crossing the U.S.-Mexican border are being released January 22. Identifying Features is a potent drama, but […]