The Grab Bag (Mar. 3, 2015)

Categories: The Grab Bag
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Published on: March 3, 2015

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

Classroom Chaos: Top Ten High School Outsiders

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

Creature Feature: Top Ten Animals Gone Bad in the Movies

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

Of Human “Bond”-age: Top Ten Actors That Had Played James Bond

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

Shake A Tail Feather: Top Ten Dance Moments in the Movies

Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight

Interviews

Daniel Perlmutter and Ennis Esmer

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Talking ‘Big News from Grand Rock’ with director Daniel Perlmutter and star Ennis Esmer.

David Robert Mitchell – It Follows

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Maika Monroe – It Follows

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Rinko Kikuchi – Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Sam Lerner, Virginia Gardner, Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia and Allen Evangelista – Project Almanac

Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

Festivals: General Coverage

TIFF 2014: Report on Docs

Pat Mullen @ Point of View

  • Excerpt: Doc highlights from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival include ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Wanted 18′ and more!

Festivals: Individual Reviews

GFF 2015: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: Absolutely stunningly shot in a way that’s both aesthetically exquisite and uncomfortably bleak, the film takes you on a wonderfully offbeat odyssey through the human condition in microcosm.

GFF 2015: Still Alice

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: [Julianne Moore] gives a nuanced, raw, sincere performance in an extremely difficult balancing act of a role that could have been mawkish or overly showy in the hands of a lesser talented actress.

GFF 2015: Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: A sobering, eye-opening, often exasperating documentary filmmaking with the power to drive at the heart of both its difficult subject matter and the heavy emotion that it brings with it.

GFF 2015: The Grump

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: It’s widely appealing in the best sense; we all know someone like The Grump and the film captures the complexities, frustrations and, yes, cathartically comical moments of the universally relatable generational gap.

GFF 2015: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: Suitably gruesome in nature but there’s a leering quality to it missing from some of the better meta horrors over the years (namely Wes Craven’s Scream franchise), making for uncomfortable viewing in all the wrong, boringly repetitive ways.

GFF 2015: While We’re Young

Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film

  • Excerpt: It’s like the cinematic equivalent of a warm hug from someone who actually has something observant and important to say about life, growing old and acting your age.

Awards Coverage

2015 Oscar Predictions: Contenders & Controversies

Sarah Ward @ ACMI

7 Best Moments from the Independent Spirit Awards

Dustin Jansick @ Way Too Indie

87th Oscars: Post-Game Analyses

Lovell Wesley @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Our look back at the 87th Oscars.

Destroy All Monsters: Us, Them, And The Oscars

Matt Brown @ TwitchFilm

No Concessions: My Oscar Ballot, 2014 Edition

Robert Cashill @ Popdose

  • Excerpt: My picks for Sunday.

Essays

This Year’s Independent Spirit Awards Barely Differed From the Oscars — Here’s How to Fix Them

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: The Independent Spirit Awards have gone from Oscar’s scrappier indie cousin to just another damn Oscar run-up. What’s gone wrong?

Where Are All the New Sci-Fi Movie Franchises?

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: In this era of mega budgets and limitless effects possibilities, why has science fiction fallen so specifically prey to the endless sequel-remake-reboot machine?

Reviews of Short Films

De Planeta

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: British Animated Short Film Review

Não são Favas, são Feijocas

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Portuguese Short Documentary Review

Other Articles

Guess Who Came to Dinner

Betty Jo Tucker @ Movie Addict Headquarters

  • Excerpt: A podcast with actress Katharine Houghton talking about “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and film critic Mack Bates revealing his picks for Best Movies about the African American experience.

International Noir

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee

Monday Memo: Bruce Sinofsky Passes at 58, CITIZENFOUR Continues Awards Sweep

Jordan M. Smith @ STFdocs.com

  • Excerpt: In a week where Oscar pervaded our minds and the Independent Spirit Awards remind us that Hollywood and what the industry considers the indie film scene no longer seems to have an accurate dividing line, we’re left ruminating on the tragic loss of another beloved member of the documentary film community in Bruce Sinofsky.

Monday Memo: Remembering David Carr, Berlin Concludes, True/False Line-up Revealed

Jordan M. Smith @ STFdocs.com

  • Excerpt: With NBC news anchor Brian Williams losing the world’s trust over a pack of lies and the tragic death of 60 MINUTES correspondent Bob Simon in an automobile accident, this week has been rough for journalism, but the passing of beloved New York Times cultural commentator David Carr late Thursday evening may be the toughest to take for many in the documentary filmmaking community.

Classics and Other Films on DVD (Mar. 2, 2015)

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Published on: March 2, 2015

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Reviews of Classic Films

The Connection

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

My Winnipeg

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies

  • Excerpt: Relentlessly subjective, Guy Maddin’s ‘My Winnipeg’ is about 90% ‘My’ and only 10% ‘Winnipeg.’

Recent Home Video Releases

(more…)

This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2015)

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Published on: February 27, 2015

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2015

Wide (United States)

Focus

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Lazarus Effect

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Everly

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

  • Excerpt: If Pam Grier had starred in a 1970’s version of Oldboy directed by Jack Hill, it probably would’ve looked something like Everly

The Hunting Ground

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A hard-hitting and disturbing documentary about the treatment of women who have been sexually assaulted on U. S. College campuses.

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Maps to the Stars

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Salvation

Chris Barsanti @ Film Journal International

  • Excerpt: A brawny and bullet-pocked Danish oater in which Mads Mikkelsen tries on a variety of scowls while battling the scum who killed his family; nothing that hasn’t been seen before.

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Jens Schlosser’s cinematography is stunning, at least until [director] Levring goes style crazy at the film’s midpoint, fetishizing the visuals until his film bears more in common with “Sin City” than “Dodge City.”

2015 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

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Reviews: Song of the Sea (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 12/4/14] | Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice
    • Excerpt: An Irish folktale about facing our fears, embracing death and human frailty, walking in wonder and returning home as transformed lovers.
  • [New – 2/19/15] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: [Moore] turns to Irish folklore for his story, incorporating the Pictish markings of stone carvings and shapes from nature into his stunning animation design. ..resembles a mosaic not unlike the Scottish jewelry made from the dyed stems of heather
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: Moore’s second film continues his aesthetic style … It’s like a storybook in motion.
  • [New – 12/12/14] | Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
  • [New – 12/26/14] | Carson Lund @ Slant Magazine
    • Excerpt: Even as it entertains increasingly far-fetched detours, the film’s folkloric narrative offers an ideal vehicle for [Tomm Moore’s] pictorial play.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: What makes Song of the Sea so memorable is not just its bittersweet story, nor its rich visual artistry, but the way that everything harmonizes so splendidly.

Reviews: National Gallery (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: Leviathan (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 1/22/15] | Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy
  • [New – 1/29/15] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Zvyagintsev builds to a crescendo with the force of an ocean storm…”Leviathan” is a great, literary work of existential despair, as magnificent as its titular creature.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: Leviathan’ Is The Feel-Bad Movie Of The Winter
  • [New – 2/19/15] | Jonathan Richards @ www.jonrichardsplace.com
    • Excerpt: It contains scenes of exhilarating, and devastating power, including a leviathan-like appearance near the end of the devouring jaws of modern machinery. But there are flaws in the storytelling, which can be both disconnected and, at nearly two and a half hours, heavy-handedly drawn out.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Ron Wilkinson @ Monsters and Critics
    • Excerpt: Change the things you can, accept the things you cannot, and go to jail and die either way.
  • [New – 1/29/15] | Jamie S. Rich @ DVDTalk
    • Excerpt: Zvyagintsev is more concerned with letting his audience settle into the lives of his characters than he is the more conventional happenings of the script outline. He lets us discover who Dmitry is and why he’s visiting Kolia and what Kolia is so angry about matter-of-factly, the way we might were we just casually observing.

Reviews: Alive Inside (2014)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

Reviews: The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 2/26/15] | Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: [I]t’s not too much to expect that, if a movie is going to ask the big questions, it at least follow through in exploring them with some degree of curiosity.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
    • Excerpt: The Lazarus Effect’ Should Come With A Do-Not-Resuscitate Order
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Been to hell? Who cares, here’s some jump scares and flickering lights.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: The Lazarus Effect isn’t a terrible horror movie, but it’s so by the book, and you see so many ways that it has potential to be much more interesting, that you can’t help but be disappointed by how flat and generic the final product is.

Reviews: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 2/26/15] | Jim Dixon @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: “Hot Tub Time Machine” was one of the genuinely pleasant surprises of 2010. Five years later, a drearily inevitable sequel is hitting screens, and it can only disappoint fans of the original.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: [I]t’s pretty clear that Hot Tub Machine 2 is running on creative fumes…
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Crass, homophobic and misogynistic – pull the plug and empty the Jacuzzi!
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Does all it can to prove Idiocracy is a documentary.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Slapdash, unctuous and wearying, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2″ is just too much of a numbingly stupid thing. Maybe a hot tub should just stay as a hot tub.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
    • Excerpt: A second dip sinks like a stone
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: Even for a half-assed sequel, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2″ is incompetent and desperately flails around, not sure what to do.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Frank Ochieng @ SF Crowsnest
    • Excerpt: Relentlessly pointless, tasteless and desperately attention-getting, this second serving of ‘Hot Tub ‘overflows its witless waters with jerky Jacuzzi-style humor so uninspired in lukewarm laughter that you might consider drowning yourself to save the agony of its time-traveling tepidness.

Reviews: Focus (2015)

Categories: 2013 Films
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Published on: February 26, 2015

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • [New – 2/26/15] | Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: Will Smith, once a brand name, finds himself with something to prove. Luckily, his latest movie Focus proves it — reminding us why he became a star in the first place, and providing a glimpse of where he might go from here.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
    • Excerpt: Though Will Smith is remarkably well preserved and edging into the suavely mature chapter of his career, his last rated R film was Bad Boys II in 2003, when co-star Margot Robbie was a pre-teen.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Writer/director Glenn Ficarra & John Requa’s (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”) latest is a little bit “Now You See Me,” a little bit “Out of Sight”…a nice bounce back for Will Smith.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: In the end, we get the sense that Focus is rigged against us.
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: Look at the movie poster – that is a 22-year age difference. Will Smith asked himself, “What would Michael Douglas do?”
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
  • [New – 2/26/15] | Andrew Wyatt @ St. Louis Magazine
    • Excerpt: Focus is a nimble and gratifying work of escapism, oozing with style and just clever enough to stand out from the pack.
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