The Family Fang (2015)

JASON BATEMAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 2015.  Aggregate Films, Red Crown Productions, Blossom Films, ML Film Productions, Olympus Pictures, Papagjika Salloway Productions, QED International.  Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the novel by Kevin Wilson.  Cinematography by Ken Seng.  Produced by Jason Bateman, James Garavente, Nicole Kidman, Riva Marker, Per Saari, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech.  Music by…

Rate this:

The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers

BBBB (out of 5) Ben Rivers combines his uncompromising experimental style with a narrative taken, loosely, from a Paul Bowles story for a haunting and disturbing film.   Filmmaker Oliver Laxe is shooting a film in a North African desert, requiring some daring stunts from the local and mostly non-professional cast (much of this footage…

Rate this:

No Home Movie

BBBB (out of 5) Chantal Akerman films the last few months of her mother’s life in a sweet documentary that turns out to be her own swan song:  her mother Natalia passed away not long after filming, while Akerman took her own life not long after the film’s release.  Meditative images of the director’s travels are presented…

Rate this:

Embrace Of The Serpent (El Abrazo De La Serpiente)

BBBB (out of 5) A scientist at the turn of the century, suffering a mysterious tropical disease, ventures into the Amazon and enlists a native man who is the last of his tribe to help him find a plant known to have restorative powers.  Decades later, another European finds the same man and asks him to guide…

Rate this:

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

BBBBB (out of 5) Following the nation’s declaring independence from Russia in the early nineties, the people of Ukraine hope to increase their prosperity by joining the western world via membership with the European Union.  President Victor Yanukovich says all the right things about joining the EU but his intentions, it turns out, are aligned with Putin’s desire to maintain control of the…

Rate this:

Closet Monster

BB.5 (out of 5) A young boy raised in a broken home in Newfoundland grows into his sexual self-awareness carrying a lot of baggage, namely his loving but overbearing father (Aaron Abrams), and the haunting memory of having witnessed a gruesome hate crime as a child.  Aiming to eventually leave his sedentary hometown and make his…

Rate this:

Maggie’s Plan

BBB (out of 5) Greta Gerwig is a college professor who is absolutely sure that she is ready to have a baby, and since there is no father in sight, she has selected a donor and is prepared to do the rest on her own. On the eve of accomplishing this task she meets a fellow instructor (Ethan Hawke) who…

Rate this:

High-Rise (High Rise) (2015)

BEN WHEATLEY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  United Kingdom/Belgium, 2015.  HanWay Films, Film4, British Film Institute, Recorded Picture Company, Northern Ireland Screen, Ingenious Media, Scope Pictures, S Films, Backwell Productions.  Screenplay by Amy Jump, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard.  Cinematography by Laurie Rose.  Produced by Jeremy Thomas.  Music by Clint Mansell.  Production Design by Mark Tildesley.  Costume Design by Odile Dicks-Mireaux.  Film Editing by Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley.  Toronto International…

Rate this:

Sunset Song

BBBB (out of 5) A young woman (Agyness Deyn) grows up on a farm under the oppressive tyranny of her abusive father (Peter Mullan, who rarely plays anything else), watching as he dominates her desperate mother and makes an enemy of her thoughtful brother. Time passes, the seasons bring change and soon she is a…

Rate this:

Green Room

BBBB (out of 5) You can’t turn your nose up at a paying gig when your punk band has to siphon gas to travel from place to place, which is why the Ain’t Rights say yes to playing an afternoon set at a dingy bar deep in the heart of Klan country. They are about…

Rate this:

The Program

STEPHEN FREARS Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.   Stephen Frears applies his elegant style to a biography of Lance Armstrong, following a similar narrative structure to The Queen and Philomena with results that go nowhere near those films.  Armstrong is by now infamous as the cyclist who won the Tour de France seven consecutive times before being disgraced by revelations…

Rate this: