Current Film

by Matthew Lucas Current Film

Human Flow | Ai Weiwei

October 16, 2017
Human Flow 2

Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei takes a powerful look at the global refugee crisis in his new documentary Human Flow. Whether the refugees come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, or sub-Saharan Africa, Ai pulls back to examine their crises in the broadest possible context, recognizing the enormity of the problem while still managing to bear witness to the human toll of an era in which thousands are fleeing war and atrocity only to be turned away and demonized by people who will never experience…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

The Foreigner | Martin Campbell

October 13, 2017
The Foreigner

The Foreigner has the same elements as any number of generic procedurals: innocent victims are killed in a terrorist bomb blast, law enforcement officers track down leads and analyze forensics, and a crusading politician has his career put on the line. What none of these people (indeed, maybe not even the audience watching them) have reckoned with is that one of the victims’ fathers in all this mess is an ex-Viet Cong sapper played by Jackie Chan—and he is pissed.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Blade Runner 2049 | Denis Villeneuve

October 6, 2017
Blade Runner 2049

It’s worth remembering that, at the time of its 1982 initial release, nobody really knew what to make of, or much cared for, Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s one-time sci-fi flop (now duly reclaimed and canonized, and available in 5 different cuts) was deliberately meandering, opaque, and portentous—as well as drop dead gorgeous, a hypnotic drone, and a fabulous technical showcase (even in its sort of nascent original theatrical form). Blade Runner 2049 is basically all of these things, but often to a much greater degree.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

mother! | Darren Aronofsky

September 15, 2017
mother

It’s difficult to argue that Darren Aronofsky’s films are poorly executed, at least on a formal level; his largely allegorical works are often manic, intense, portentous, and meticulously designed, it’s just that they’re also so sophomorically pleased with themselves, rarely approaching their allegories from a perspective of any real insight. Requiem for a Dream is a whirlwind of a viewing experience, but it boils down to little more than a rote (and relatively misogynistic) cautionary tale about drug abuse.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Baby Driver | Edgar Wright

June 27, 2017
Baby Driver

Fanboy darling Edgar Wright has certainly earned his reputation as a passionate pastiche artist and intricate stylist; his genre-infused films pair narratives of arrested male development with whiplash camerawork and razor-sharp editing. That skill and craftsmanship is fully on display in Baby Driver, but it’s undercut here by a trite screenplay and an overweening sense that the film’s twee brand of coolness, inextricably linked to a jukebox of pop songs, is somehow irresistible.…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

Manchester by the Sea | Kenneth Lonergan

December 28, 2016
manchester

What Kenneth Lonergan understands, probably better than any other writer-director working today, is how difficult it is to communicate grief in a convincing way on screen. With three feature films thus far, Lonergan’s acute exploration of coping mechanisms seems almost universal in scope, yet minimal in execution; with Manchester by the Sea, he’s crafted another incredibly…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

The Handmaiden | Park Chan-wook

December 28, 2016
the-handmaiden

Park Chan-wook’s career has largely been steeped in a particular fusion of twisty revenge narratives padded with philosophical implications. His latest, The Handmaiden, feels particularly lacking in the latter area. In a 1930s, Japanese-occupied Korea, Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) is hired by conman Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) to assist in stealing the fortune of a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee of…

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by Lawrence Garcia Current Film

Toni Erdmann | Maren Ade

December 25, 2016
toni

On paper, the premise of Maren Ade‘s Toni Erdmann—a prankster father, Winfried (Peter Simonischek), drops in unannounced on his daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller), a high-powered managing consultant working in Bucharest—seems like a recipe for disaster, a concept more…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story | Gareth Edwards

December 13, 2016
star-wars-rogue-one

Soon, just as there are plenty of adults who no longer remember a world before The Simpsons, nobody will recall a time when, for good or ill, there was not a new annual Star Wars movie. It’s no longer enough (neither for shareholders nor pop culture at large) to expect a new installment of the core saga every few years (let alone every other decade), so with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney kicks off a line of one-off adventures. This one, set…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | David Yates

November 18, 2016
fantastic-beasts

The Harry Potter franchise officially becomes an Expanded Cinematic Universe with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in what Warner Bros. promises will be five J.K. Rowling-scripted original films, prequels to the Potter‘s proper. Centering around conservationalist wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who travels the globe capturing said fantastic beasts and shoving them into…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Doctor Strange | Scott Derrickson

November 3, 2016
doctor-strange

If the source material for Doctor Strange, the 14th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, suggested the company might finally be open to the surreal potential of their comics, what with sorcerers and cross-dimensional antics, the payoff is surprisingly dull, despite some frequently amusing eye-candy. The final third of last year’s Ant-Man was ultimately much trippier (and funnier), even though both films share the same problem…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Hacksaw Ridge | Mel Gibson

November 3, 2016
hacksaw-ridge

Based on the true story of Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield here), a devout Seventh-Day Adventist and conscientious objector who rescued dozens of soldiers while refusing to kill an enemy or carry a weapon, Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort is both a simple, deliberate Johnny-Goes-To-War melodrama and an incredibly brutal depiction of combat.…

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