Ghost in the Shell is beautiful to look at, its nameless Asian city resembling Blade Runner’s dystopian future Los Angeles complete with even more, and larger, holographic advertisements cutting though the dreary concrete landscape. What’s missing in the milieu are a heart, soul, and brain – even though all of those things are constantly mentioned as integral to the imitative narrative.
The bizarre tale of a woman’s body found in a New Hampshire farmhouse and the search to understand what led to her death is an intriguing premise. Not a murder, not a suicide, the passing of Linda Bishop was a result of, remarkably, both her incredible optimism and then her crippling fear of the outside world, brought on by her delusions.
Offering unbelievable insight into the mind of Bishop in her final days, a pair of notebooks left in the farmhouse detail her thoughts as she examines the world through its windows. Directors Todd and Jedd Wider weave together shots of the home’s interior and exteriors with interviews with friends and family as they tell the story of Linda Bishop — her early life and her final days.
If you are looking for one of the best comedic directors working today then look no further than Christopher Good. His debut feature, Mudjackin’, from 2013 happens to be one of the best comedies to come out within the last decade and after spending the last three years mainly directing music videos, for various acts like PWR BTTM, Jens Lekman, and Strand of Oaks, he is back with yet another comedic offering bursting with creativity.
Olga Hepnarová was the last woman to be executed in Czechoslovakia back in 1975, convicted of murder after she deliberately drove a truck onto the sidewalk, running over several citizens that happened to be waiting for the tram. Eight people died, twelve people were injured. Kazda and Weinreb’s film, I, Olga Hepnarová, is based on this true story and utilizes the real-life writings of the condemned. With that, an immediate question arises - why and for what purpose?
There is nothing fancy about Bloomin Mud Shuffle, the latest from writer/director Frank V. Ross. No high concept or high drama; there is no sensationalizing the alcoholism and depression that is set in at the core of the narrative’s fabric. It is stripped of adornments and embellishments, stripped down into glimpses of a life not overtly suffering from these issues but more so continuing in spite of these issues. It is not flashy because there is no reason for Ross to employ flash considering the way in which he is able to quietly mine genuine emotion from day-to-day minutiae of life.
Sci-fi thriller Life halfheartedly goes through the motions of a monster in space movie, failing to raise any intriguing existential questions or validate the gory mayhem. A bunch of really smart people float around and do really stupid things, each of them speaking fluent exposition and sporting the thinnest of character traits. Their Martian antagonist is even less interesting.
We’ve all wondered, at least for a moment, what we would do if we were the only person on Earth. Would we explore the remains of society, hole up in shelter or simply bask in the planet’s daunting silence? It’s a fun question and one that writer-director duo Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan examine in Bokeh. For Riley (Matt O’Leary) and Jenai (Maika Monroe), a young American couple vacationing in Iceland, this query of what to do if the human race vanished isn’t hypothetical. One morning, they wake up and discover that it has become their reality.
I am usually not a fan of music documentaries; they often feel self-infatuated, and having worked as a music columnist, I am a bit fatigued by them. Yet I Called Him Morgan is a refreshing, absolutely fascinating doc about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, told by those musicians who played alongside him, as well as - amazingly - by his own murderess.
With Valeria, Vassilopoulos taps into the inherent peculiarity of Eva’s ordeal, opting to focus on the most immediate question one would probably have after receiving someone else’s skin for one’s own face: who was this person? The film tackles the idea of transference and how a transplant can fundamentally change a person. With all of this, Vassilopoulos encapsulates the film with an air of mystery, from the overall tone to the lighting and the cinematography from Mia Cioffi Henry. All of it feels otherworldly, much like you would imagine it feeling if you had someone else’s face as your face.
Sometimes I feel like my job can be murder, like the time I had to sit down and write a review for Greg McLean’s The Belko Experiment, but in Greg McLean’s The Belko Experiment, the concept of a life-sucking office job is taken quite literally when employees are forced to murder each other.
One of the hottest topics on the national stage at the moment is the future of our country’s healthcare system. As I write this, there's probably no more timely discussion than that of accessible, affordable access to healthcare for all Americans.
It’s no mystery that the criminal justice and healthcare systems in the U.S. have yet to catch up with scientific research, most especially that of mental health. Point of View Pictures’ When the Bough Breaks (not to be confused with last year’s When the Bough Breaks by Sony Pictures or the 2006, 1994 or 1947 films of the same name) centers around the taboo topic of psychosis after giving birth, as well as postpartum depression and the more general “baby blues” that many women, across all walks of life, cultures, geography and age, experience.
I have no doubt that a movie like The Other Half takes considerable emotional dedication to make (of course, this could be argued about any movie). For lead actors Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, it very well may have been draining. As a couple in real life, the struggles and pains of their characters’ troubled onscreen relationship must have felt, on one hand, more accessible and, on the other, far more intimate and difficult. Joey Klein, the film’s writer and director, builds on an already restrained tone with muted color motifs and a dour landscape.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ DVD/Blu-ray digital combo for its latest princess pic, Moana, is absolutely packed with special features. A suitable follow-up to its big-screen release, the take-home version of Moana provides tons of footage from the years leading up to the film, when the filmmakers were visiting Oceania to research the characters, locations and music that would inspire the film.