In 2000, we learned that my grandfather had cancer. He went through chemotherapy, and my mother and I went up to help him and get him to doctor’s appointments as he ended up in assisted living. I was there the day he received his terminal diagnosis, and 7 of the next 10 weeks were spent trying to comfort him, and get things prepared for after the inevitable happened. It finally did in late July. I was very close to him- he was like another parent to me. It was devastating. Those months come to the forefront of my mind in contemplating Lulu Wang’s beautiful dramatic comedy, “The Farewell.” Inspired by her own life, Wang tells the story of her family whom, when they find out the worst about their beloved Nai Nai, they do what is unthinkable to most of us- they don’t tell her.
At ITOL we love getting a chance to speak to filmmakers, and we were especially excited to speak to Claire McCarthy after recently catching her latest film, "Ophelia". McCarthy is an Australian filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and visual artist. Throughout her career, she has brought audiences such films as "The Waiting City" (2009), "Little Hands" (2011) and "Skins" (2007) with actress Mia Wasikowska. Her feature film "The Waiting City", which starred Joel Edgerton and Radha Mitchell, was released in North America after premiering at TIFF 2010, and has gone to be sold to over 40 territories world-wide.
ometimes you see a film that encapsulates something so enraging and freeing and vindicating it’s like a punch in the face and you want to run up to your fellow cinemagoers and shout “wasn’t that amazing!!”
“Judy and Punch” (2019) is one such film. It’s darkly funny and a rallying call to a radical revolution of open-mindedness and inclusivity. These things are not the realm of wishy-washy millennial snowflakes as social media trolls would have us believe, but strong people willing to risk their lives standing up to tyranny and braying mobs who are choosing which rocks to stone them to death with.
There is a strangeness to “Knives and Skin” (2019) that makes it difficult to put into words precisely what it’s about and how it made me feel. Jenifer Reeder’s film is eerie, bright but dark, funny but upsetting. It puts you on edge but also has you really feeling for the people on screen.
If you like films by Peter Strickland or David Lynch you’ll love it. If not, I recommend pushing your cinematic comfort zone.
Fifteen year old Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) has an encounter with sexually aggressive Andy (Ty Olwin) which ends badly. She goes missing and the town is shaken. Her mother Lisa (Marika Engelhardt) slowly loses her mind but others in the community have just as tenuous a grip on reality.
While the idea of seemingly everything getting a reboot nowadays is starting to become a total drag, there was an odd amount of intrigue I still had for the “Charlies Angels” reboot/sequel/whatever it is. Maybe it was because I liked enjoyed the casting of the new trio of angels or maybe it was because I liked of seeing Elizabeth Banks behind the camera again after “Pitch Perfect 2”. Maybe it’s also because I kind of have a soft spot for franchise and I remember plenty of times that I’d catch “Full Throttle” on TV and always enjoy watching it. So, I had fair expectations going in that the film ultimately meets and exceeds at times, but also falls short of in the same breath.
When "Foxfire" came out in 1996, I was only one-year-old. While watching it only a few months ago, it became clear that Annette Haywood-Carter's drama exists in the dimension of exceptional productions. Those productions have a crucial influence on young women's lives.
Meet Legs Sadovsky (Angelina Jolie). Nobody knows where she came from. Tomboy-ish looking, young woman is a mystery, especially to Maddy Wirtz (Hedy Burress). Maddy, a high school teenager, doesn't even know that Legs will change her life forever. After hearing about the teacher's sexual harassment, the mystery girl teaches Maddy, Rita (Jenny Lewis), Goldie (Jenny Shimizu), and Violet (Sarah Rosenberg) to stand up against abuse and fight for their rights as women.
This is the female gaze like you’ve never seen it before. "Portrait"--a film set in Brittany, France in the 18th century--is a showcase of how the depths of insight and poignancy in a work of art comes as a result of the artist having a deep, loving, obsessive understanding of their subject. It is a film about two women on an island with hardly anyone else around them and the painfully, yet deliciously slow romance that materializes from a connection of their minds, bodies, and souls. The film is thematically rich and daring, yet never once seeks to shove a message or agenda down your throat; it’s a love story, plain and simple. Writer/director Céline Sciamma clearly isn’t interested in subverting history in an effort to appease the needs of a contemporary audience--yet in spite of that, this is a film brimming with human truths. It is reminiscent of the underpinnings and themes found Greek and Gothic literature and poetry. Tender, yet complex and multifaceted--this is in no way a political film, but rather, a subtle social commentary on the kinds of job opportunities available to women in the 18th century.
The 1992 film, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is not the same as the 1997 TV series screenwriter/creator Joss Whedon later made for The WB and UPN, but neither is it far removed from what was to come to television screens (and later, comic books), either. After watching it for the third time in almost thirty years, that comes more into focus.
The director of the “Buffy” movie, Fran Rubul Kuzui, was later a producer with her husband, Kaz Kuzui, on the TV series; this was the last feature she directed, and she never directed an episode of the series.
An underrated mastery of the psyche “The Invitation” (2015) directed by Karyn Kusama is one of my favorite horror/thrillers in recent years. We’ve seen a lot of psychological distress on screen, but this is truly at its finest here. That churning tension of uncertainty that is introduced early, ruminates throughout, giving us a party that’s not quite what it seems.
Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) are invited to his ex-girlfriend Eden’s home (Tammy Blanchard) for a dinner party, he's not really sure what to expect. When they arrive, they’re surrounded by several old friends, Eden’s new boyfriend David (Michiel Huisman) and some wildcard new acquaintances of the hosting couple, including Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch) who brings an extra element of creepiness.