By David Walsh, 15 April 2015
Penn’s views and activities are worth considering, especially in the light of his recent disgraceful comments about Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
By David Walsh, 11 April 2015
Michael Almereyda, who previously directed a version of Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke, has turned to one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, with intelligent results.
By Hiram Lee, 9 April 2015
The final project of German filmmaker Harun Farocki (1944-2014) brings together dozens of short films about working people.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 4
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 28 March 2015
One of the genuine contributions of the recent FICUNAM film festival in Mexico City was its presentation of the works of veteran film director Ali Khamraev.
28 March 2015
Filmmaker Ali Khamraev explains the difficulties surrounding the making of his remarkable film I Remember You in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 3
By David Walsh, 25 March 2015
The recent FICUNAM festival in Mexico City screened a number of films which, while not belonging to a single school by any means, provide the opportunity for something of a generalized overview.
By Christine Schofelt, 21 March 2015
Neill Blomkamp’s latest release presents an oddly sweet, if rather violent, tale, but something is missing.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 2
By David Walsh, 20 March 2015
There are filmmakers who devote themselves seriously and conscientiously to representing life, not life in the abstract, not “life as a river,” but concrete life, the life of social classes and relationships.
FICUNAM 2015: Part 1
By David Walsh, 18 March 2015
David Walsh and Joanne Laurier recently attended the film festival associated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.
65th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4
By Hiram Lee, 27 February 2015
New films from veteran German director Wim Wenders and Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi were screened at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
By David Walsh, 24 February 2015
Social and political realities found expression on Sunday in a manner that accords with the film world’s peculiarities and contradictions.
By David Walsh, 21 February 2015
If recent ceremonies are anything to go by, Sunday’s event will be thoroughly scripted and lacking in spontaneity.
By David Walsh, 16 February 2015
Set in Greece in the early 1960s, Iranian-born director Hossein Amini’s film, based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, follows a trio of Americans caught up in a series of increasingly traumatic events.
By Richard Phillips, 14 February 2015
The movie dovetails with the Australian government’s reactionary promotion of the war centenary and the Gallipoli incursion.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2015
Wild tells the true story of one woman’s 1,100-mile hike of self-discovery. Black or White recounts a custody battle between the white maternal grandfather and black paternal grandmother of a seven-year-old girl.
By Dorota Niemitz and David Walsh, 6 February 2015
Oscar-nominated Leviathan is a dark tale about an individual struggling against the power of the state in contemporary Russia.
By David Walsh, 5 February 2015
In Barry Levinson’s film, based on a Philip Roth novel, an aging stage actor, who has lost the appetite for performing, encounters a younger woman with interesting consequences.
By David Walsh, 31 January 2015
The campaign in defense of Clint Eastwood’s film is the latest means by which the political and media establishment in the US is promoting its war-mongering agenda.
By David Walsh, 28 January 2015
Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, his seventh feature, is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by well-known American writer Thomas Pynchon.
By Fred Mazelis, 27 January 2015
Timothy Spall gives a powerful performance as the complicated genius who had such a lasting impact on the history of painting.
By Matthew MacEgan, 24 January 2015
Clint Eastwood’s newest film tells the story of Chris Kyle, reputedly the deadliest marksman in US military history.
By Bryan Dyne and Christine Schofelt, 9 January 2015
Christmas 2014 marked the end of the eighth season of the rebooted British science fiction television series and the first season featuring Peter Capaldi in the title role.
By Charles Bogle, 7 January 2015
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 non-fiction work about Louie Zamperini’s harrowing experience in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II.
15th Tokyo Filmex—Part 2
By John Watanabe, 5 January 2015
Kabukicho Love Hotel is the latest film by Japanese director Ryuichi Hiroki. Amos Gitai’s Tsili takes place during World War II, and Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb during the First World War.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 January 2015
Tim Burton’s new film Big Eyes tells the story of Margaret Keane, the American artist who created the “big-eye art” that became a mass marketing sensation in the 1960s.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 30 December 2014
Some interesting films opened in North America in 2014, a greater number than in many recent years. At the same time, sections of the film industry associated themselves more than ever with the American state.
By Andre Damon and David Walsh, 29 December 2014
It is entirely fitting that The Interview has been embraced by the Obama administration as the vehicle of the values it represents.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 December 2014
Bennett Miller’s film is based on events that culminated in the shocking 1996 murder of an Olympic wrestling champion by the multimillionaire scion, John Eleuthère du Pont, of the American chemical dynasty.
15th Tokyo Filmex—Part 1
By John Watanabe, 17 December 2014
The Prince, the better of the pair of films, is a “docu-fiction” about the life journey of Jalil Nazari, an Afghan refugee in Iran, who subsequently applied for asylum in Germany.
Under the Skin (or aliens from another social class) and Mood Indigo (more inventiveness from Michel Gondry)
By David Walsh, 16 December 2014
Under the Skin is loosely adapted from Michael Faber’s 2000 science fiction novel. Mood Indigo is based on French writer Boris Vian’s famed 1947 novel, L’ Écume des jours.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 December 2014
As 2014 draws to a close, the WSWS will comment on a number of films that were released in North America and, in some cases, globally in the course of the past 12 months.
By Joanne Laurier, 4 December 2014
A young drummer at an elite music conservatory becomes the protégé of an abusive instructor who believes artistic genius is formed by sheer force of will.
By Walter Gilberti, 2 December 2014
Stephen Hawking has over the years become a familiar personage to millions. A brilliant physicist and cosmologist, Hawking’s nearly life-long battle with disease has become the stuff of legend.
By Marcelo Arias Souto, 29 November 2014
Interstellar takes place in a dystopian near future, when dust storms are destroying crops and threatening to leave the planet without food.
By Paul Mitchell, 26 November 2014
Night Will Fall explains the making of a remarkable work, the “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey”, which depicted the terrible crimes of the Holocaust in a ground-breaking and accurate manner.
By Christine Schofelt, 24 November 2014
With the third film in the Hunger Games series, the phenomenon is wearing increasingly thin.
By Joanne Laurier, 21 November 2014
Stewart, host of The Daily Show, has written and directed a film treating the Iranian government’s incarceration and torture of a London-based, Iranian-born journalist in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.
By Stefan Steinberg, 20 November 2014
The Festival of East European Cinema in Cottbus, Germany has been an annual event since 1991.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 12 November 2014
Annekatrin Hendel’s documentary focuses on Sascha Anderson, an artist and spy for the Stalinist secret police.
By David Walsh, 1 November 2014
David Ayer’s morbid and militarist film follows an American tank crew, led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), in the final days of World War II in Europe.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 October 2014
Birdman deals with the washed-up star of a super-hero franchise. The Skeleton Twins portrays two siblings trying to overcome a painful psychological legacy. St. Vincent features a misanthropic Vietnam veteran who forms a life-changing attachment.
By Robert Stevens, 29 October 2014
Matthew Warchus’ film about the 1984-85 conflict has been well received in Britain and was the third highest-grossing release on its opening weekend.
By Marcelo Arias Souto, 22 October 2014
Gone Girl wants to be a psychological study, a black comedy about the upper middle class, a social critique and a satire of media sensationalism. A few aspects are intriguing, even accomplished.
By Robert Stevens, 20 October 2014
Speaking of the NSA and the intelligence apparatus, Snowden asserts, in Laura Poitras’ documentary, “We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind.”
By Joanne Laurier, 17 October 2014
Michael Cuesta’s film tells the story of the journalist whose 1996 investigative series, “Dark Alliance,” uncovered ties between the Central Intelligence Agency and massive drug peddling by the right-wing Nicaraguan Contras.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 6
By David Walsh, 15 October 2014
Danis Tanović’s new film focuses on a scandal that stretches back at least four decades—the marketing of infant formula to women in poor countries, which has caused untold suffering and death.
By Dorota Niemitz, 13 October 2014
Munk, part of a generation of Eastern European artists struggling to deal with the postwar situation, was able to create a humane and authentic portrait of his times.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 5
Director Ramin Bahrani: “The villain is the system”
By Joanne Laurier, 10 October 2014
99 Homes deals with the foreclosure and eviction crisis, Shelter with the homeless. Also screened was a documentary about a Mexican citizen 30 years on death row, The Years of Fierro.
By Muhammad Khan, 8 October 2014
South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s latest film tackles environmental catastrophe and social revolution.
By Zaida Green, 6 October 2014
An underclass of trolls takes on the wealthy and corrupt White Hats in the new animated film from Laika, the Oregon-based studio.
By Christine Schofelt, 4 October 2014
In the opening scene, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) takes confession from an unseen man who recounts being sexually abused by a priest as a child, and informs James he is going to kill him “Sunday week.”
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 4
By David Walsh, 2 October 2014
The film, directed by Iraqi-Swiss filmmaker Samir, attempts to interweave the complex saga of the director’s own family with the larger history of Iraq over the past half-century or more.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 3
and a roundtable interview with writer-director Andrew Niccol and actor Ethan Hawke
By David Walsh, 26 September 2014
New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Niccol has taken on the subject of drone warfare in Good Kill, featuring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, Zoë Kravitz and January Jones.
Toronto International Film Festival 2014—Part 2
By Joanne Laurier, 24 September 2014
Christian Petzold’s Phoenix and Italian-born Giulio Ricciarelli’s Labyrinth of Lies are both skillfully made, intelligent films that delve, in quite different ways, into the legacy of German fascism.
By Elle Chapman, 22 September 2014
Produced over 25 years ago, the Japanese animation feature is a unique and emotionally intense story set in Kobe during the last months of World War II.
By David Walsh, 22 August 2014
A famed illusionist (Colin Firth) is brought in to expose a young clairvoyant (Emma Stone), but instead begins to have doubts about his own rationalistic world-view.
By Joanne Laurier, 20 August 2014
The documentary, directed by cousins Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, movingly chronicles the lives of three boys living in an impoverished, rural southwestern Missouri town.
By David Walsh, 19 August 2014
Using the same cast, the writer-director filmed sequences once a year for twelve years, centering on a boy, his family and their surroundings in east and central Texas.
By Hiram Lee, 16 August 2014
In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson is a super-powered intellect fighting to take down a Taiwanese drug cartel.
By Joanne Laurier, 14 August 2014
Tate Taylor’s film biography attempts with considerable success to penetrate the James Brown phenomenon. As the famed American singer-performer, Chadwick Boseman is mesmerizing.
By Kevin Martinez, 4 August 2014
The original Planet of the Apes (1968), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, with Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, was fairly silly, but it was not mean-spirited and had a certain humor to it.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2014
The film’s web site reports the staggering, and scandalous, fact that more than “2,000 people in the US are serving life-without-parole sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles.”
By Joanne Laurier, 26 July 2014
The “Kill Team,” the nickname applied by the media to members of a US army unit that committed war crimes in Afghanistan, is also the title of the film by documentarian Dan Krauss.
By Charles Thorpe and Norisa Diaz, 23 July 2014
Theroux’s new three-part series provides glimpses of the social crisis in Los Angeles, but the documentarian’s approach prevents him from probing very deeply.
By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Panini Wijesiriwardane, 14 July 2014
Vithanage’s film is a serious artistic effort and reveals how the decades-long communal war affected human relationships.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 July 2014
The 40-minute documentary on the postwar American painter Robert De Niro, Sr. is a delicate and moving homage, in which his son, the actor Robert De Niro, figures prominently.
Movie Review: LISTEN — the Film, by Ankur Singh
By Phyllis Scherrer, 4 July 2014
A review of Ankur Singh’s documentary on the impact of high-stakes testing on students.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 June 2014
Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort is a film version of the popular musical that premiered on Broadway in 2005 and revived interest in the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2014
Entre Nos dramatizes the plight of a Colombian immigrant and her two children in New York City. Red Father, a documentary, recounts the life and career of Bernard Ades, a lawyer and longtime member of the Communist Party.
By Ed Hightower, 20 June 2014
The television series, based on the experiences of a former inmate, takes a generally serious and realistic look—something terribly rare on American television—at the prison population in the US.
A great Soviet film about World War II
By Dorota Niemitz, 19 June 2014
The film is a story about two young people, Boris and Veronica, who are in love and plan to get married. Their plans are postponed when the German army invades the USSR in 1941.
By Wolfgang Weber, 19 June 2014
The Cranes Are Flying was a great success in East and West Germany, as it was in the Soviet Union.
By David Walsh, 4 June 2014
Estera, a middle class Jewish girl in Bucharest, has to make a choice between pursuing a job in Atlanta, working for a nouveau riche thug, or joining her mother in Israel.
Film portrait of an American radical iconoclast
By Fred Mazelis, 2 June 2014
The newly released documentary on the life of writer and social critic Gore Vidal has much to recommend it.
By Susan Allan, 31 May 2014
John Pilger presents a stark picture of Aboriginal disadvantage and oppression but blames racism, not capitalism.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2014
Amma Asante’s film recounts the remarkable 18th century story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race girl who ends up in the care of William Murray, England’s lord chief justice. James Gray’s The Immigrant is set in New York in 1921.
“Are they going to throw him away?”
By Christine Schofelt, 28 May 2014
Brian Lindstrom’s powerful documentary provides an unblinking look at police brutality in Portland, Oregon and deserves a wide audience.
San Francisco International Film Festival 2014
By Joanne Laurier, 26 May 2014
A film about Colombia, a short conversation with its director, and a documentary about the civil rights movement in the 1960s, among other things.
Event marks 80 years since theater festival in Woodstock, Illinois
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 23 May 2014
Welles remains one of the most remarkable figures in the history of the cinema and theater in the 20th century.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 23 May 2014
During the recent celebration in Woodstock, Illinois, commemorating 80 years since the Todd Theatre Festival organized by Orson Welles, we had the opportunity to speak to a number of the presenters and participants.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 15 May 2014
The orientation of Austrian-born director Feo Aladag’s film is very much in line with efforts by the German government and the defense ministry to weaken opposition to foreign military operations.
By Kevin Martinez, 10 May 2014
The film concerns the efforts of Chavez (Michael Pena) to unionize farm workers in California’s Central Valley during the 1960s and early 1970s.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 April 2014
This is the latest film installment featuring Marvel Comics’ character Captain America, one of the most prominent and patriotic superheroes introduced in American comic books in the World War II era.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 April 2014
Actor-director Jason Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a petulant, miserable 40-year-old who breaks into the spelling bee circuit by taking advantage of a loophole in the rules.
By John Watanabe, 2 April 2014
The film about Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War II is part of a concerted campaign to revive militarism and condition young people for new wars.
By Christine Schofelt, 27 March 2014
Divergent, billed as the “next Hunger Games,” offers greater depth.
By Joanne Laurier, 25 March 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a stylish, fantastical film, sometimes comic and sometimes tragic in its re-imagining of the period between the two world wars and the emergence of fascistic forces in Europe.
By Hiram Lee, 24 March 2014
On March 14, the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied a showing of Charlie Chaplin’s classic film The Gold Rush in Kentucky.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 March 2014
The intriguing documentary centers on the attempt by Texas inventor Tim Jenison to explore the possibility that painter Johannes Vermeer used optical devices to help achieve his intricate interweaving of light, color and proportion.
64th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 6
By Bernd Reinhardt, 7 March 2014
Austrian director Johannes Holzhausen’s film is a fond, and at the same time scathing documentary about the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) in Vienna.
By Nick Barrickman, 7 March 2014
José Padilha’s RoboCop is based on the 1987 film of the same title.
By David Walsh, 5 March 2014
The Past takes place in Paris. Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) arrives from Tehran to finalize a divorce from his French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo, The Artist ), after a four-year separation.
By David Walsh, 4 March 2014
Sunday’s awards ceremony in Hollywood was undistinguished for the most part by excitement, urgency or social insight.
64th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1
By Stefan Steinberg, 20 February 2014
A notable feature of the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival was the manner in which certain leading figures in the film word openly promoted their retrograde political agendas.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2014
George Clooney’s new film is the story of a squad of art experts serving in the US and Allied military who, toward the end of World War II, attempt to rescue art masterpieces stolen by the Nazis.
By Dorota Niemitz, 3 February 2014
There are issues and problems associated with both periods—before and after Stalinism—of Kieślowski’s work. However, particularly in his earlier works one finds a sincere attempt to portray social reality.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 January 2014
The Invisible Woman, directed by Ralph Fiennes, sets out to treat the relationship between 45-year-old novelist Charles Dickens, then at the height of his fame in the late 1850s, and his 18-year-old mistress Ellen Ternan.
August: Osage County and Lone Survivor: Sound and fury signifying not too much…and a celebration of the US military
By Joanne Laurier, 22 January 2014
John Wells’s film is a star-studded, “timeless” family drama set in rural Oklahoma; Peter Berg’s effort is a reprehensible tribute to American military death squads.
By David Walsh, 18 January 2014
The Academy Award nominations were announced January 16 at a press conference at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California.