By Joanne Laurier, 20 January 2017
A nearly three-hour carnival of torture and cruelty, Martin Scorsese’s Silence aims to dramatize the persecution of Catholics in mid-17th-century Japan. Ben Affleck’s Live by Night is a mediocre gangster drama set in the 1920s.
By Hiram Lee, 18 January 2017
The latest collaboration of director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg is a right-wing tribute to law enforcement following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
By Fred Mazelis, 14 January 2017
The film is the first screen adaptation of any of the plays in Wilson’s cycle of 10 spanning the 20th century.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 January 2017
Hidden Figures retells the story of three African-American female scientists who made extraordinary contributions to NASA’s aeronautics and space programs in the 1960s. Passengers is a boiler-plate science fiction thriller.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 9 January 2017
The considerable international success of the German film certainly has something to do with frustrating and bitter experiences of broad sections of the population.
By Dorota Niemitz, 3 January 2017
Paterson is a city with a rich social and cultural history. Jarmusch pays homage to its history in his own, idiosyncratic manner.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2016
Although technologies have sped up and made possible many things, they cannot by themselves overcome the gap between reality and its artistic assimilation and representation.
By Kevin Martinez, 28 December 2016
Despite its use of exotic locales and beautiful people, this World War II era “romantic thriller” fails to make a lasting—or much of any—impression.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 December 2016
La La Land is an all-too appropriately titled romantic musical that celebrates Los Angeles as a place where ambitious artists can strike it rich. Jackie is a murky, superficial biographical portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy.
By Matthew MacEgan, 21 December 2016
December 16 saw the release of the first stand-alone Star Wars film. The plot of Rogue One is an exact prequel to the 1977 original.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 December 2016
Miss Sloane presents a fantastical view of Washington’s hired gun world of political lobbyism. Set at the beginning of the 2008 financial crash, All We Had is a limited drama about poverty and homelessness.
By Miguel Andrade, 13 December 2016
Filmed prior to Brazil’s impeachment crisis, Aquarius has since become an artistic point of reference (and a target) in the continuing political turmoil wracking the country.
By Thomas Douglass, 12 December 2016
The authentic and genuinely interesting character of the protagonists is one of Moonlight’s greatest appeals.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 December 2016
Kenneth Lonergan’s film is a humane examination of the suffering of an ordinary man, whose terrible personal tragedy has emotionally crippled him.
By Clara Weiss, 5 December 2016
The film, written and directed by Stuart Schulberg, was intended to advertise the principles underlying the indictment of the Nazi criminals at the Nuremberg Trials.
The Eagle Huntress is about real people—Rules Don’t Apply and Nocturnal Animals are about something else
By Joanne Laurier, 3 December 2016
The documentary, The Eagle Huntress, follows a cherry-faced 13-year-old Kazakh girl as she learns the art of eagle hunting; Rules Don’t Apply is Warren Beatty’s film about Howard Hughes; and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals is a violent revenge thriller.
By Glenn Mulwray, 30 November 2016
The critically-acclaimed film by Barry Jenkins, about a working-class youth in Miami, seeks to understand a person’s development in fairly narrow terms.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 November 2016
Bleed for This is a gritty biographical movie about a “blue collar” fighter who makes one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history. A difficult, friendless teenager finds her stride in The Edge of Seventeen.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 November 2016
Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is about the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II. Arrival is a feeble science fiction parable from Denis Villeneuve.
By David Walsh, 15 November 2016
The drama takes place in 2004. A unit of American soldiers, who have survived a brief but fierce battle with Iraqi insurgents, are being celebrated as “heroes” on a nationwide tour.
By Kevin Martinez, 11 November 2016
American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has made a documentary on the not so well-known, but hugely influential rock group, The Stooges.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2016
Sonia Kennebeck’s film, whose title suggests that drones should now be considered the US national emblem, is a documentary that brings to the screen the story of three whistleblowers.
By Carlos Delgado, 7 November 2016
After an intriguing start, the second season of the television drama about anti-corporate hackers spirals largely into gloom and incoherence.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 November 2016
Jeff Nichols’ film is a fictional recreation of the landmark case in Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s, which ultimately led to the striking down of state laws banning interracial marriage in the US.
By Dorota Niemitz, 2 November 2016
Volhynia (Hatred) is an honest attempt to recreate the background to the murder of thousands of Poles by right-wing Ukrainian nationalists during World War II.
By David Walsh, 29 October 2016
The film and novel follow the life and eventual terrible misfortune of Seymour “Swede” Levov, the son of a glove manufacturer in Newark, in the 1960s and 1970s.
… And Christopher Guest’s Mascots
By Joanne Laurier, 28 October 2016
American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women consists of three vignettes adapted from short stories by Maile Meloy, dealing with emotional malnourishment and disaffection.
By Fred Mazelis, 27 October 2016
With his latest effort, Moore emerges as a chief promoter of the favored candidate of Wall Street and the Pentagon.
By Carlos Delgado, 24 October 2016
The film, a remake of the 1960 original, tells the story of a band of hired guns who defend a small town from marauders.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 October 2016
A fictional account of American academic and author Deborah Lipstadt’s legal battle with British Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000 in London.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 October 2016
In The Dressmaker, the art of beautifying the human body is the weapon of choice to vanquish intolerance and ignorance. The Girl on the Train is a murder mystery centered around a New York City suburb.
Toronto International Film Festival 2016—Part 6
By David Walsh, 12 October 2016
Marija follows the life of a Ukrainian woman immigrant in Dortmund, Germany. Past Life, set in the 1970s, comes from Israel, and Ember, about a love triangle of sorts, from Turkey.
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
By David Walsh, 12 October 2016
At the recent Toronto film festival, WSWS arts editor David Walsh spoke to Michael Koch, writer and director of Marija, about immigrants in Germany, the refugee crisis and other matters.
Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World
By Kevin Reed, 8 October 2016
The movie examines the origins and implications of the Internet and related technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things and space travel.
Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 4
Sami Blood from Sweden, Werewolf from Canada, Park from Greece: Society’s cruelty to its youngest members
By David Walsh, 5 October 2016
Amanda Kernell’s Sami Blood, from Sweden, is not an easy film to watch. It was also one of the most moving and authentic films shown in Toronto this year.
Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 3
By Joanne Laurier, 1 October 2016
Certain artists are being propelled to consider critical questions, while another group is ever more consumed by identity politics and the pursuit of personal celebrity and wealth.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2016
Eastwood directs a fictional version of the January 2009 incident in which pilot Chesley Sullenberger landed a commuter jet in the Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew.
Toronto International Film Festival 2016: Part 1
By David Walsh, 27 September 2016
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival screened some 400 feature and short films from 83 countries at 1,200 public screenings.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 20 September 2016
Veteran American filmmaker Oliver Stone has made a movie about National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.
By Toby Reese, 17 September 2016
Following a “sneak preview” of Oliver Stone’s new film, Snowden, he and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden participated in a live interview September 14.
By Charles Bogle, 14 September 2016
Scottish director David Mackenzie’s ninth movie, Hell or High Water, is a Western-influenced buddy/chase movie that demonstrates a social conscience and features superb performances.
By Kevin Martinez, 12 September 2016
Veteran documentarian Barbara Kopple has returned with a lively and inspiring film about soul singer Sharon Jones and her battle with pancreatic cancer.
By Hiram Lee, 6 September 2016
The latest entry in the Bourne series of spy films finds the former CIA assassin taking on the agency in a “post-Snowden world.”
By Kevin Martinez, 5 September 2016
Based on a true story about two young arms dealers who defrauded the US government out of millions, the film is a coarse yet oddly sanitized version of a little-known episode of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 September 2016
The new movie, Indignation, is a relatively faithful adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2008 novel, which examines war, religion and repression in post-war America.
By James Brewer, 1 September 2016
Although his work in film ended more than 25 years ago, Wilder will be long remembered for the humor and humanity he displayed in films like Young Frankenstein.
By Matthew MacEgan, 31 August 2016
This fictionalized account of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama in 1989 presents a racialized view of society served up with a large side of banality.
A further comment on Free State of Jones
By Douglas Lyons, 30 August 2016
In their attacks on the film, figures like Charles Blow of the New York Times are denigrating some of the noblest individuals in American history.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 August 2016
The new movie remains on the level of a violent action film, avoiding a more probing look at the Holocaust.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 August 2016
The film, set in the 1930s, takes its title from legendary clubs in Manhattan that welcomed black and white artists and performers. Unfortunately, the film is the opposite of everything those clubs stood for.
By David Walsh, 10 August 2016
David Ayer’s film concerns a team of psychotics and criminals recruited by the US government as part of a top-secret program to combat terrorism.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 July 2016
Writer-director Matt Ross’s film is a semi-anarchistic tale about a family’s “off-the-grid” existence in the Pacific Northwest.
By Richard Phillips, 29 July 2016
The feature-length documentary is a harrowing account of the systematic cruelty and de-humanisation of asylum-seekers in Australia’s offshore detention centres.
By Richard Phillips, 29 July 2016
The filmmaker explained to the WSWS why she decided to lift the veil of secrecy on Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.
By Dorota Niemitz, 27 July 2016
The film traces the history of the Louvre Museum’s art collection under conditions of war, while proposing a pessimistic view of human culture and its future.
By Joanne Laurier, 21 July 2016
Our Kind of Traitor, a British spy thriller directed by Susanna White, is based on the 2010 novel of the same name by John le Carré, the veteran novelist.
By David Walsh, 20 July 2016
The new film comprises four stories, loosely linked by the presence of a “wiener-dog” (dachshund). Each has at least one or more satirical, telling moments or elements.
By David Walsh, 14 July 2016
The Iranian director will be best remembered and long honored for the series of feature films, including documentaries, that he made between 1987 and 1997.
By David Walsh, 7 July 2016
Cimino is best known as the director of The Deer Hunter (1978), which won numerous Academy Awards, and Heaven’s Gate (1980), which was denounced by leading critics, lost a great deal of money and severely damaged Cimino’s career.
By David Walsh, 2 July 2016
British director Michael Grandage’s film is about American novelist Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and his famous editor, Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth).
Charles Blow of the New York Times
By David Walsh, 30 June 2016
Free State of Jones, about a white farmer in Mississippi who led an insurrection against the Confederacy from 1863 to 1865, has come under sharp attack from the “new right” of identity politics advocates.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 June 2016
Gary Ross’s film is a fictional account of an intriguing, but little known chapter in American history.
Alf Sjöberg’s Miss Julie (1951) and G. W. Pabst’s The Threepenny Opera (1931): Films worth noting … and seeing
By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2016
Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg’s Miss Julie is based on the play by August Strindberg. Austrian filmmaker G.W. Pabst’s film The Threepenny Opera is an intricate movie version of the legendary Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill work.
By Fred Mazelis, 22 June 2016
An Israeli filmmaker has brought 50-year-old tape recordings about the Six-Day War and their implications to life on the screen.
“All the terrifying things all really happened”
By David Walsh, 18 June 2016
Czech director Jan Němec, who died in March 2016, made a film about the surrealist painter Toyen in 2005, which is now available. The film is intriguing and sometimes deeply moving.
(And, briefly, Terence Davies’ Sunset Song and Hany Abu-Assad’s The Idol.)
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 17 June 2016
The Nice Guys is set in 1977 and follows the investigation into a disappearance, which turns out to be part of a broader conspiracy. Sunset Song and The Idol have recently opened in movie theaters in the US.
By David Walsh, 11 June 2016
In Yorgos Lanthimos’ film, individuals without a mate are sent to a “hotel” where they have 45 days to find a partner or be turned into an animal. Then, there are those who escape.
By Charles Bogle, 10 June 2016
HBO’s All the Way is a serious effort, devoid of contemporary identity politics, to portray a significant moment in American history.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 June 2016
In England in 1790, Lady Susan Vernon, widowed and penniless, schemes to reverse her fortunes.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 May 2016
John Carney’s Sing Street is a musical comedy-drama set in Dublin in the mid-1980s. Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, based on a 1969 French thriller, takes its name from a painting by British artist David Hockney.
By David Walsh, 27 May 2016
Like the novel, the film—set in the mid-1970s—begins with its central character calmly sitting on the balcony of his 25th floor apartment eating roast dog.
By David Walsh, 25 May 2016
Cash Only is an independent American film set in the Detroit area. The film takes place in the Albanian community.
By David Walsh, 23 May 2016
What are these performers doing in this film? Is there any major film actor at present who would say “No” to this sort of project?
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 4
By Joanne Laurier, 20 May 2016
Some not very good new films—and better old ones.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2016
Money Monster is the latest film to depict the consequences of the 2008 financial crash and the criminal manipulations of the financial elite.
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 3
By David Walsh, 17 May 2016
Radio Dreams is a pleasurable experience. Other films at the San Francisco festival––The Event, No Home Movie, Counting, Five Nights in Maine––fared less well.
By David Walsh, 17 May 2016
The WSWS spoke to Babak Jalali during the recent San Francisco International Film Festival.
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2
By Joanne Laurier, 13 May 2016
In a number of the films screened at the festival, their creators were evidently overwhelmed by the disintegrating social structures in some of the most impoverished parts of the world.
San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 1
By David Walsh, 11 May 2016
The recent San Francisco International Film Festival, in its 59th edition, screened some 175 films, including approximately 100 feature-length films, from 46 countries.
By Hiram Lee, 10 May 2016
Everybody Wants Some!! is the latest coming-of-age tale from the American independent film director.
By John Harris, 9 May 2016
The movie centres on the efforts of a lower middle-class couple to find their runaway teenage daughter and only child.
Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
Are the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet a genuine alternative to contemporary filmmaking?
By David Walsh, 7 May 2016
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, beginning May 6, is presenting a retrospective of the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, the Franco-German filmmakers.
By Joanne Laurier, 6 May 2016
Two ostensible comedies, Elvis & Nixon and A Hologram for the King, drain their stories of their most important social and historical content.
By David Walsh, 4 May 2016
The film follows the relationship that develops after a young American journalist in Miami in the mid-1950s writes an admiring letter to novelist Ernest Hemingway, then living in Havana, Cuba.
By Norisa Diaz and Kevin Martinez, 2 May 2016
The film is a lyrical and honest look at the poverty and social neglect that affects one of the most historically oppressed communities in the United States.
By Fred Mazelis, 29 April 2016
Children of hedge fund managers attend private school on Manhattan’s Tenth Avenue, across the street from one of the city’s public housing projects.
By Carlos Delgado, 20 April 2016
The film tells the story of Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a New York investment banker who experiences an emotional unraveling after his wife dies in an automobile accident.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 April 2016
Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special is a disturbing science fiction thriller that conveys deep anxiety about the state of the world.
By David Walsh, 9 April 2016
The latest film from veteran British director Stephen Frears dramatizes the saga of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s rise to the top and his subsequent disgrace in a doping scandal.
By John Andrews, 7 April 2016
Films based on the lives and personas of post-World War II jazz musicians Chet Baker and Miles Davis have been released recently.
By Carlos Delgado, 6 April 2016
The price tag of the film, including production and marketing costs, approaches half a billion dollars, and some analysts believe it would need an $800 million box office to recoup its investment.
San Diego Latino Film Festival 2016—Part 3
From Cuba a grim drama (La obra del siglo) and from Argentina a political thriller (El Clan) and a road trip (Camino a La Paz)
By Kevin Martinez and Toby Reese, 1 April 2016
The festival showcased films and documentaries from throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including Cuba, Spain, Mexico, and South and Central America.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 March 2016
Eye in the Sky is a political-military thriller in which British and American officials weigh the consequences of a drone strike in Nairobi, Kenya.
San Diego Latino Film Festival 2016—Part 1
By Kevin Martinez and Toby Reese, 28 March 2016
The festival showcased films and documentaries from throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including Cuba, Spain, Mexico, South and Central America.
By David Walsh, 26 March 2016
Marc Abraham’s film is an account of the last decade in the life of American country music performer Hank Williams (1923-1953), who died tragically at the age of 29.
By Joanne Laurier, 25 March 2016
Two Auschwitz concentration camp survivors plot to kill the SS guard who murdered their families in Atom Egoyan’s latest film, Remember, a psychological drama.
By David Walsh, 19 March 2016
Thematically and stylistically, Malick’s latest film follows in the footsteps of his two previous efforts, The Tree of Life (2011) and To the Wonder (2012).
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4:
By Bernd Reinhardt, 14 March 2016
A new adaptation of the immortal Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, about Nazi persecution, and a film about Palestinian refugees in contemporary Germany.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 March 2016
Spanish filmmaker Fernando León de Aranoa’s movie A Perfect Day deals with international humanitarian aid workers in the Balkans near the end of the war in the mid-1990s.
By Alan Gilman and David Walsh, 10 March 2016
Stephen Hopkins’ film centers on critical events in the life of African-American track and field legend Jesse Owens.