Documentary, Truth, and Narrative: James Marsh on Dance First

By Ali Moosavi. If you’re a documentary filmmaker, you’re perceived to be good at something, which is the truth. So almost certainly my interest in dramatic films is nearly always based on true stories.” The British director James Marsh came into prominence with his 2008 documentary Man on Wire about […]

Environmental Action in Opposite Directions: Extinction (2019) and Guardians of Life (2020)

By Dávid Szőke and Sándor Kiss. While Extinction and Guardians of Life declare “nonviolent open rebellion” and the urge to action for the survival of our natural world, the divergence between their stated ideals and their disruptive tactics in shaping public understanding of climate-related issues point toward starkly opposite directions.” […]

The Maestro and His Movie Majesty: Ennio (2021)

By Jeremy Carr. A reverent and vivid film about a man whose music has become inseparable from the movies he scored…” With Ennio, his 2021 documentary about legendary composer Ennio Morricone (and now in theatrical release in the U.S.), director Giuseppe Tornatore has fashioned one of the most compelling and […]

It’s Alive (and Horny)! Zelda Williams’ Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

By Thomas M. Puhr. Newton really shines and has a funny swagger about her. It’s too bad the surrounding film never quite matches this winning performance.” Lisa is lonely. Her widower father, who has promptly remarried and moved in with Lisa’s new stepmother and stepsister out in the candy-colored suburbs, […]

Youth (Spring): Wang Bing on Youth Labor

By Yun-hua Chen. The first installment of Wang Bing’s documentary triptych explores the textile industry in rural China and its young workers, aged 16 to 22, engrossed in intricate maneuvers for extended hours….” Having premiered in Cannes and subsequently showcased at major film festivals including Viennale and IDFA, Youth (Spring) […]

Illustrative but Incomplete: Dario Argento Panico

By Jeremy Carr. Ideal for Argento newcomers but ultimately lacking in fresh perspectives….” Dario Argento Panico, a new documentary about the iconic, enigmatic, and—especially during the peak of his career—astonishingly inventive director, is a well-illustrated and reasonably informative look at the life and work of the man who largely defined […]

Spies So Silly: Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle

By Elias Savada. An incredibly overproduced, over-CGI’ed Universal release.” Even before its release, rumors were frantically flying all over the internet that the only recently published “inspired by” source novel (released January 9th) for Argylle (released February 2nd), the latest film from producer-director-writer Matthew Vaughn, was written not by Elly […]

Outsiders on the Frontier: Kitty Green on The Royal Hotel

By Ali Moosavi. I knew that I didn’t want to see violence. I feel like I’ve seen enough sexual violence in cinema…. I was like how can we make a movie about the threat of that. And the threat of that should be enough to feel scared.” The young Australian […]

No Longer in the Wings: The 2024 Slamdance Film Festival

By Thomas M. Puhr. ‘Disrupting the status quo’ through diverse selections…. their documentary choices – including a feel-good athlete biography and a harrowing portrait of religious faith in a maximum security prison – exhibit a similar variety.” Ranging from a comedy-drama about the pitfalls of parenthood to a genre-hopping eco-parable/musical, […]