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.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3:
By Bernd Reinhardt, 7 March 2016
Vincent Pérez’s film is a new adaptation of Hans Fallada’s novel Every Man Dies Alone (published posthumously in 1947).
By Joanne Laurier, 5 March 2016
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a semi-comic treatment of the tragic Afghan conflict; A War from Denmark is ostensibly a more serious effort. Desierto takes up the war against Mexican immigrants.
By Kevin Martinez, 3 March 2016
Although Deadpool tries to subvert the clichéd conventions of the superhero genre, the film is more than anything a conformist effort.
By Fred Mazelis, 1 March 2016
The Oscar awards ceremony Sunday night included some welcome notes and surprises, and generally, despite the disorienting campaign waged under the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, revealed a more humane side of Hollywood.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2:
By Verena Nees and Bernd Reinhardt, 27 February 2016
This is the second in a series of articles on the recent Berlin international film festival, the Berlinale, held February 11-20, 2016.
66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1:
By Stefan Steinberg, 22 February 2016
The main prize of the festival went to Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi, dealing with the fate of refugees attempting to enter Europe.
By David Walsh, 13 February 2016
Veteran independent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart is opening in theaters in the US this week.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 February 2016
Hail Caesar!, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a comedy about Hollywood set in the early 1950s.
By David Walsh, 5 February 2016
In Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, a childless, middle class couple living in a provincial English town, are on the eve of their 45th wedding anniversary.
Flint pre-screening of the documentary MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic
By Tim Rivers, 4 February 2016
Following a preview screening of the film MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic, which documents the epidemic spread of lead across America, a panel of parents was joined by the director of the film and a state expert for lead risk assessment.
By David Walsh, 30 January 2016
It is no exaggeration to point out that, in ideological terms, Cara Buckley in the New York Times and others, in their obsession with race, are spouting a conception of society and art identified historically with the extreme right.
By Kevin Martinez, 30 January 2016
Hollywood’s latest propaganda piece tells the story of the 2012 attack on a US base in Libya from a right-wing perspective, with predictable results.
By Joanne Laurier, 29 January 2016
The documentary brings together opponents of the CIA drone program and includes interviews with two former US Air Force drone pilots.
By Dorota Niemitz, 28 January 2016
The debut film of Hungarian director László Nemes depicts the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the prisoner uprising of October 1944.
Charlie Kaufman’s often charming, moving Anomalisa (and Michael Moore’s feeble Where to Invade Next)
By Joanne Laurier, 23 January 2016
Anomalisa is an adult animated film created with stop-motion puppetry centering around an angst-ridden, self-help author. Where to Invade Next is a non-comment on Washington’s never-ending wars.
By Richard Phillips, 19 January 2016
The 72-minute film provides a general outline of neo-realist cinema, but it is a seriously limited one.
By Joanne Laurier, 16 January 2016
The Revenant is a sensationalized account of the life of American fur trapper Hugh Glass, who famously survived a mauling by a bear. Youth is a banal meditation on aging.
By David Walsh, 15 January 2016
The Academy Award nominations revealed the usual muddle-headedness, liberal good intentions and severe limitations of the social grouping that decides these things.
By Alan Gilman, 14 January 2016
Despite its limitations, Concussion serves to bring before a mass audience the grave risks inherent in playing America’s most popular sport.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 January 2016
The two films address significant subjects that could potentially shed light on society and its moral and psychological condition.
By Hiram Lee, 7 January 2016
Tarantino’s latest is a deeply unpleasant work, another in a long line of the director’s blood-soaked revenge fantasies.
By Charles Bogle, 6 January 2016
The box set contains five pre-Code movies: Ladies of Leisure (1930), Rain Or Shine (1930), The Miracle Woman (1931), Forbidden (1932) and The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933).
The failure of David O. Russell’s Joy, or, what any “sensible” person should know about modern society
By David Walsh, 5 January 2016
Russell’s film is loosely inspired by the life story of millionaire inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, who created a self-wringing mop and other products.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015
Adam McKay’s new film The Big Short is a hard-hitting comedy-drama about the 2008 financial meltdown.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2015
The most interesting films we saw in 2015, both those that played in a movie theater in the US and those not yet distributed.
By Mark Witkowski and Fred Mazelis, 29 December 2015
If nothing else, Wiseman’s new documentary is a reminder of the fact that, even in this wealthiest city in the world, the working class makes up the vast majority of the population.
By Matthew MacEgan and David Walsh, 22 December 2015
The new Star Wars offering serves as the first part of a “sequel” trilogy that tells the story of the next generation by reusing many of the same ideas and visuals.
“Bloody instructions ... return to plague the instructor”
By George Marlowe and David Walsh, 19 December 2015
A new version of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard emphasizes the bloody, barbaric times.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 December 2015
Legend is a British crime drama about the Kray twins, London’s most notorious gangsters in the 1960s; Room concerns a mother and her five-year-old son held prisoner in a shed for seven years.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 December 2015
The satirical film, based on the novel of the same title by Timur Vermes, has been seen by over two million people, making it one of the most watched in Germany this year.
By Kevin Martinez, 15 December 2015
The documentary is a disturbing look at TASER International, the company that has cornered the market for police electro-shock weapons.
By George Marlowe, 14 December 2015
In Spike Lee’s latest film, young women in Chicago seek to end gang violence and social breakdown by means of a sex strike.