by Lawrence Garcia

#StreamingScene by Lawrence Garcia Film

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs | Joel & Ethan Coen

November 19, 2018
balladbuster

Composed of six dime-store tales from the frontier — complete with color plates! — and boasting an appropriately storybook feel (courtesy of cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who helms this first foray into digital), The Ballad of Buster Scruggs articulates, with ruthless efficiency, Joel and Ethan Coen’s bleak, sobering worldview. The result is “downright Archimedean,” to borrow from Buster Scruggs himself (Tim Blake Nelson), a preternaturally jolly psycho-killer who wreaks gleeful havoc all over the film’s first episode.…

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#StreamingScene by Lawrence Garcia Film

The Wild Boys | Bertrand Mandico

November 19, 2018
The Wild Boys

The Wild Boys opens with a shimmering black-and-white title card, an homage to Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks, and voiceover that soon takes the viewer back to the violent origin of this delirious, gender-bending tale. Fueled by an impulse dubbed only “TREVOR” (which may stand in for hormonal adolescent fervor, violent masculine tendencies, or both), a group of five pubescent boys (all played by women) assault and murder their literature teacher in an orgiastic recreation of Macbeth.…

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by Lawrence Garcia Retrospective

Hotel by the River | Hong Sang-soo

October 26, 2018
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Even for a career with no discernable lack of winter pictures (cf. The Day He Arrives, The Day After), Hotel by the River stands out as Hong Sang-soo’s coldest film to date. Set in a curiously unfrequented hotel by the Han River, in the dead of winter, the film follows two guests: Younghwan (Ki Joobong), an aging poet who is visited by his two estranged sons (Kwon Haehyo and Yoo Joonsang); and a young woman (Kim Minhee), who’s recovering from…

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by Lawrence Garcia Retrospective

List | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
List

For Hong Sang-soo, whose working method and steady output has been, and continues to be, (relatively) unburdened by production constraints, the notion of artistic freedom has never been much in question. And so it is with 2011’s List, a half-hour short film about a young woman (Jung Yu-mi) and her mother (Youn Yuh-jung) visiting a seaside town. After dodging her mother’s questions about potential marriage prospects, the woman composes a list of activities that she aims to complete by the…

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by Lawrence Garcia Retrospective

Hahaha | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Hahaha

True to its title, 2010’s Hahaha is very funny — amusing in ways that might even cloak its generous, searching ambition. The film follows two skirt-chasing, barely-employed Korean men: Joong-sik (Yoo Jun-sang), a depressed film critic pursuing an extramarital affair, and Moon-kyung (Kim Sang-kyung), a director set to leave for a dead-end trip to Canada (and possibly the most pathetic manchild that director Hong Sang-soo has ever written).…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Lawrence Garcia Film

Unfriended: Dark Web | Stephen Susco

July 20, 2018
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It could be that Stephen Susco, the first-time director of improbable horror-sequel Unfriended: Dark Web, is just a previously-undistinguished virtuoso, here aided by a team of tech wizards. More likely, it’s that the film’s text (i.e., the “dark web” of the Internet) is so generative — and the corresponding tools so under-explored in cinema — that the result is just riveting. The hacking at the outset here is its own self-contained joke, serving not just as sleek exposition, but as…

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by Lawrence Garcia 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 Lawrence Garcia Festival Coverage Film

Vancouver Film Festival 2016 – Future // Present

October 28, 2016
werewolf

One of the most exciting developments of this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival was the introduction of Future // Present, a program focused on new films from emerging Canadian filmmakers. Curated by critic and programmer Adam Cook, the eight films shown—from predominantly first-time feature filmmakers—were diverse in form and content, ranging from narrative fiction…

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by Lawrence Garcia Festival Coverage Film

Vancouver Film Festival 2016 – Dispatch 3

October 20, 2016
tower

The 35th Vancouver International Film Festival wrapped on October 14th, capping a two–week marathon of cinema gorging. This third and final dispatch covers two acclaimed holdovers from the Locarno Film Festival, The Dreamed Path and The Human Surge; films from Eugene Green (Son of Joseph) and Hong Sangsoo (Yourself and Yours); a writer biopic, Nelly, from French-Canadian…

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by Lawrence Garcia Festival Coverage Film

Vancouver Film Festival 2016 – Dispatch 2

October 14, 2016
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The 35th Vancouver International Film Festival is past its halfway point and continues to deliver a refreshingly varied cinematic slate. This second dispatch covers three less-heralded films from the fest’s Dragons & Tigers program, and two higher-profile world cinema titles, the Olivier Assayas ghost story Personal Shopper and Terence Davies’ Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion. Also covered in this dispatch are…

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by Lawrence Garcia Festival Coverage Film

Vancouver Film Festival 2016 – Dispatch 1

October 10, 2016
viff1

Coming just two weeks after the end of the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, the 35th Vancouver International Film Festival (September 29th – October 14th) boasts an impressive lineup, showcasing a huge number of world cinema’s major titles (including some, such as Alain Guiraudie’s Staying Vertical and Eugene Green’s Son of Joseph, that skipped TIFF) in addition to its typically strong Dragons & Tigers program, dedicated to East Asian cinema (which this year includes…

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