Film

by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

New Directors/New Films 2018 – Dispatch 2

April 9, 2018
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The 47th edition of New Directors/New Films runs from Wednesday, March 28th, to Sunday, April 8th. For our final dispatch: a new feature from the co-director of Beyonce’s Lemonade film (Black Mother); the debut feature from “idiosyncratic” New York filmmaker Rick D’Ambrose (Notes on an Appearance); a film about “contemporary, post-colonial Algerian life” (Until the Birds Return); a werewolf film that’s also a class commentary (Good Manners); and more. Check out our first dispatch here. Across two features; several high-profile collaborations, including Beyonce’s Lemonade; and a widely…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

A Quiet Place | John Krasinski

April 6, 2018
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The opening of of A Quiet Place leaves you primed for an arthouse-inflected genre film, like something A24 would release, or that Alex Garland might direct. Shot with moody lighting and Malick-y closeups, a family silently raid an abandoned pharmacy, on what we’re informed is “Day 82” of something. All the actors sign their dialogue, and their big round eyes cringe at the slightest sound. But just as you start to worry that the whole film might be like this, all somber and serious, a little kid gets eaten by…

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by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

New Directors/New Films 2018 – Dispatch 1

March 30, 2018
Ava

The 47th edition of New Directors/New Films runs from Wednesday, March 28th, to Sunday, April 8th. For our first of two dispatches from the festival, we look at the FIPRESCI Discovery Prize winner at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (Ava); the late Chinese director Hu Bo’s sole film, a 4-hour “exacting depiction of depression”; the “precisely controlled” second feature from Valérie Massadian (Milla); a Taiwanese independent filmmaker’s “meditation” on a “bleak sociopolitical system” (The Great Buddha+); and others. Look for our second dispatch from the festival next week. An Elephant…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Pacific Rim: Uprising | Steven S. DeKnight

March 22, 2018
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Picking up 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim: Uprising follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost from the first film, as he does that thing where he finally confronts and accepts his destiny and his father’s legacy by doing the same thing the old man did, which in this case means saving the world from gigantic invading alien monsters by punching them with a giant robot. And that’s pretty much it. Uprising rockets through the bare minimum…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Unsane | Steven Soderbergh

March 22, 2018
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Unsane is a nifty little movie, a cheeky, intelligent thriller shot in secret on an iPhone and slipped into theaters in the space of a few months. That’s not to say that it’s anything other than another of Steven Soderbergh’s genre-infused larks. Claire Foy stars as Sawyer Valentini, a troubled young woman who finds herself involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, where she discovers that one of the nurses is the creep (Joshua Leonard) who previously stalked and threatened her. Or is it all…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Tomb Raider | Roar Uthaug

March 15, 2018
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What’s the use of rebooting a successful video game franchise if you can’t reboot the mediocre film series that it spawned? That appears to be the motivation behind the new Tomb Raider, which resembles nothing so much as a perfunctory early 2000s action programmer except that it has much nicer special effects. Alicia Vikander replaces Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, heiress to an incredible fortune and daughter of Lord Richard (Dominic West), who disappeared on a treasure hunt seven years ago. When Croft discovers…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

A Wrinkle in Time | Ava DuVernay

March 9, 2018
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Madeline L’Engle’s beloved A Wrinkle In Time is, if you haven’t read it lately, short on incident and quite long on dialogue and metaphysics. L’Engle used her early iteration of YA fantasy as a foundation for a treatise on spirituality and self-actualization aimed at kids. So there’s a lot to root for with Disney handing a black female filmmaker an enormous budget for a movie version. Sadly, Ava DuVernay’s adaptation mostly replaces the book’s broad ideas with a stale “believe in…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Death Wish | Eli Roth

March 2, 2018
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There’s probably a good remake to be made of 1974’s Death Wish, a seminal bit of vigilante-themed violence porn from the late, great sleaze-peddler Michael Winner. The story of a wealthy white man (Charles Bronson in the original, Bruce Willis here) who takes the law into his own hands after a brutal crime committed against his wife and daughter would certainly take on a host of complicated dimensions in a climate of mass shootings, economic inequality, white/male privilege, sexual assault, and…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Annihilation | Alex Garland

February 22, 2018
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Annihilation practically sits up and begs to be regarded as high-minded genre cinema. But really, it’s a thuddingly literal handful of barely engaged ideas and dangling plot threads standing in for conceptual and narrative ambiguity. Extremely loosely based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, writer/director Alex Garland’s film streamlines a work of really haunting interiority and curiosity into a mostly straightforward soldiers-meet-monsters exercise, substituting melancholy uncertainty and a genuine sense of awe in the face of the inexplicable with expository backstory and…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Black Panther | Ryan Coogler

February 16, 2018
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Black Panther arrives with a lot of fanfare; it’s sure to generate discussion about its status as a genuinely progressive piece of representation, and it should — but it’s also a seriously entertaining pop confection, not-infrequently visually arresting, idiosyncratic, and loaded with engaged performances from a stacked cast. It has actual dramatic stakes, which are not usually encountered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it snowballs into possibly the most satisfying crowd-pleaser the franchise has managed so far. The pop bliss on display isn’t…

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by Justin Stewart Film

Golden Exits | Alex Ross Perry

February 12, 2018
Golden Exits

Pivoting from the cerebral intensity of Queen of Earth — an Images, or Fassbinder, -like exteriorization of a woman’s mental breakdown — Alex Ross Perry’s latest is a mini-Magnolia, a threaded “network narrative” (to use a David Bordwell term) about a gaggle of 30 and 40-somethings in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn that might’ve been titled Desire by the Gowanus. Naomi (Emily Browning, all bee-stung lips and delicate hair wisps) is a young Aussie who arrives to assist Nick (Adam Horovitz), an…

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by InRO Staff Film Year in Review

Year in Review 2017 – Film

December 29, 2017
Film Feature

The finest films of 2017 simultaneously offered us a respite from, and a deeper reflection on, our fraught and fractured social and political realities. In sharp contrast to our unfortunate tendency to segregate ourselves with social media-fueled enclaves and ecosystems that do little more than reflect our own thoughts, opinions, and POVs back at us ad infinitum, these films cut through all that, artfully, and often provocatively, reminding us of the common humanity we share even with those who would seem to…

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