Film

#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Soft to the Touch: Radiance and a Decade of Naomi Kawase

January 18, 2019
Kawase

In the U.S., the films of Japanese director Naomi Kawase have often been met with apprehension, not accorded the same respect as other celebrated works from the European film festival circuit. Perhaps this is because it’s hard to formulate an academic assessment of films that unabashedly invite intimacy: Kawase evokes sensuous experience more directly than, say, Claire Denis, who prefers to circumscribe her imagery with intellectual frameworks; and she attends to form less rigorously than Michael Haneke, who often uses his cinema explicitly as a…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Glass | M. Night Shyamalan

January 17, 2019
glass

There’s a lengthy, terrific scene in Glass, in which the protagonists — three people with extraordinary abilities — are confronted both by each other and by a psychologist who is determined to prove to them that they aren’t superheroes, that they’re merely insane.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Sam Thomas-Redfern Film

Comanche Station | Budd Boetticher

January 12, 2019
Comanche

The decade of the Great Depression saw a slump in high-end Western productions. This indigenous genre had been immensely popular with audiences of the two previous decades yet became relegated to a genus of the ‘B’ movie with the advent of sound. Randolph Scott started his vocation in Westerns during this period, starring mostly in low-budget adaptations of Zane Grey novels; finally, in ’36, he moved up to ‘A’ productions, with the genre itself in close pursuit. Scott would go on…

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#StreamingScene by Alex Engquist Film

Occidental | Neïl Beloufa

January 10, 2019
Occidental

The first feature from French-Algerian visual artist Neïl Beloufa is an odd hybrid of comic arthouse thriller and Brechtian installation piece. Set in a shabby 1970s-chic Parisian hotel, in present day — with protestors facing off against riot police outside in the street — Occidental immediately establishes its atmosphere of retro Euro-sleaze tinged with a contemporary sense of impending doom. When louche, mustachioed Paul Hamy (the protagonist/lust object from João Pedro Rodrigues’s The Ornithologist)…

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#StreamingScene by Greg Cwik Film

Flowers of Taipei: Taiwan New Cinema | Hsieh Chinlin

January 4, 2019
flowers of taipei

In the early 1980s, as the West was succumbing to the avaricious allure of Reaganism, Taiwan was undergoing a profound, progressive transformation. The country began to democratize in the wake of the Zhongli incident, and became a global economic power, as trade unions proliferated and salaries rose across the country. The children of the ’50s and ’60s grew up and, having spent their youth combatting a flummoxing identity crisis inherited from their parents, they began to explore the tumult of the…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Film

Off Beat | The Blockbusters We Missed in 2018

January 4, 2019
Off Beat

There are a lot of movies released in a year — and that’s even once you cut the crop down to just those that receive a wide release. Among this past year’s blockbusters there was also a lot of probable-dross, stuff we just didn’t feel the need to get to right away; and there were films that we did see and felt that we could do more justice to given a little time to marinate; and of course there were films that we…

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#StreamingScene by Matthew Lucas Film

Bird Box | Susanne Bier

January 3, 2019
bird-box-netflix-sandra-bullock-2018-still

The central premise of Susanne Bier’s Bird Box sounds like some unholy (and unlikely) mashup of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, without the stylistic freshness of the former or the go-for-broke battiness of the latter. If we’re playing a game of This-or-That, Bird Box is worse than A Quiet Place but better…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Film Year in Review

Top 20 Films of 2018

December 29, 2018
jack2.0

Toxic masculinity had a year; scan the top three titles on this list and you’ll find three films about self-involved men belaboring the value of ‘their art’ — made by three self-involved men belaboring the value of their art. That may seem like a dispiriting regression, especially considering where we were as a culture like 24 months ago, and in many ways 2018 has been a backslide of a year. But take a closer look at those three films —…

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#StreamingScene by Joe Biglin Film

Bodied | Joseph Kahn

December 27, 2018
REV-Bodied-1

Bodied ends with a needle drop: “Hi, My Name Is.” As explicated in our Kicking the Canon piece, Eminem sought to make a villain of himself on this track, distilling all his anxieties and the absurdity of modern culture into high-proof venom. Homophobia and misogyny abound — and yet this provocateur still became the best-selling hip-hop artist of all time. Let’s reset… or like director Joseph Kahn, let’s come at this from a different angle: The central character of Bodied, Adam Merkin (Calum Worthy), isn’t…

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#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Tokyo Vampire Hotel: Episodes 8 – 10 | Sion Sono

December 23, 2018
tvh3

Two years ago, we published Sion Sono: Love Leaves Destruction in Its Wake, an exhaustive review retrospective of nearly every feature film that Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono had directed to date. Tokyo Vampire Hotel is one of Sono’s latest releases — an eight-episode series made available for streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. Over the next several weeks, we’re diverging from our usual program of film and music coverage to take a closer look at this “mini-series,” in several installments.…

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by Daniel Gorman Film

If Beale Street Could Talk | Barry Jenkins

December 23, 2018
beale street

The first shot is a marvel — a quiet, lovely reverie that ends with a punch to the gut. As a young couple walk hand in hand in a picturesque park setting, the camera cranes in over them, tracks them down a path, and slowly twirls around, as if swooning (or dancing). The man, Fonny (Stephan James), and woman, Tish (newcomer KiKi Layne), are in color-coded outfits that visually establish the link between them: her coat matches his shirt, his denim jacket matches her blouse.…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Aquaman | James Wan

December 21, 2018
aquaman-classic-costume-jason-momoa

Imagine a script development meeting where everyone involved in making Aquaman sat down to solve one all-important question: “How do we make Aquaman cool?” Now imagine if the answer was, “What if we don’t?” After the DC comics cinematic universe failed to take off as confidently as Marvel’s, Aquaman seemed doomed to failure.…

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