‘The Girl Down Loch Änzi,’ which had its North American premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs film festival, is a ghost story. Laura lives on a Swiss farm that borders the fabled Änziloch – a deep ravine that, legend has it, is home to the ghost of a woman cast out from the village several centuries before, and either left to die or imprisoned below. …An unusually stylish documentary, with beautifully-composed shots and scenes that play out with a feature film’s attention to blocking…
The point of the story is that, like so many vampires, he’s been transformed against his will into a creature he can’t quite make peace with. It’s an insight into vampires – backed by what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of how they have been portrayed in film – but just as interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s an insight into how our experiences shape us; how early the die can be cast on the type of people we grow up to be.
‘Pencils Down!’ chronicles the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike that largely brought television production to a standstill, through a combination of footage shot at the time, and reflective interviews shot in 2014-15. … In exploring the WGA strike, and the economics of how TV writers are compensated for their work, ‘Pencils Down!’ circles back to the same core issues of fairness and greed.
It’s like Plato’s overused allegory of the cave – everything we knew about this world before was shadow and puppetry; now we’ve seen a glimpse of the real thing. ‘Moonlight’ deals with highly politicized content – race, class, sexuality, gender expression, drug use – in a disarmingly nuanced way. It parachutes into territories dominated by stories about hate and dares instead to tell us stories about love.
Interview with First-Time Web Series Creators Ilana Rubin and Lana Schwartz on Comedy Thriller ‘Secrets & Liars’
[Web series are] “the best opportunity we have to express our voices, because we can use any type of format we want. I think it’d be great to see more shows that represent different viewpoints and experiences than are typically seen in comedy…” “The internet has been great for creators to get their voices heard! … I think having a diverse writer’s room isn’t just essential but should be mandatory.”
Most people (rightly) expect more from art than they do from porn; we expect art to offer a perspective or point of view, to have a message, to be more than a spectacle to press the pleasure centers of our brains. … And, while I don’t think it’s wrong to say that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ fares pretty poorly as art, I do think it’s wrong to single it out, as if our cinemas aren’t full of spectacle already.
The first feature film from Nicholas Verso, ‘Boys in the Trees’ is a coming-of-age story focused on questions of masculinity and wrapped in a delightful – and visually stunning – cloak of Halloween. …They explore what it means that their friendship fell apart – what childhood loses to adolescence, what adolescence loses to adulthood, what we gain in either case, and what we give away when we stop hoping that something amazing could happen to us.
…I’m left with the feeling that Tom Ford’s second feature film is a love letter to sexist movies instead. … Like a lot of sexist stories, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is vague about its attitude toward women, because it doesn’t truly regard women as anything but objects – things that derive meaning only through their relationship to the real subjects, men.
The characters are thrown into an adrenaline-fueled, confusing, science-fiction quest from scene one. They don’t have time to make anything more than impulsive decisions, there’s a plot twist every time they think they know what’s going on, and every double-cross turns out to be a double-double-double cross instead. The story doesn’t always make sense, but it’s a wild ride that holds your interest from beginning to end.
Both Nacho Vigalondo’s monster movie, ‘Colossal,’ and William Oldroyd’s period piece, ‘Lady Macbeth,’ are solid, carefully-made films built around a stunning performance from their lead actors – Anne Hathaway and Florence Pugh, respectively – and both tell the story of a woman surrounded by men who try to control her. Rightly or wrongly, both films also seem to presume that the best way for women to be strong and empowered is through physical violence.
They’re moved to realize that, after everyone talked shit about them for weeks or months on end, someone actually appreciated what they did. It’s a moment of art imitating life that mirrored my experience with ‘Ghostbusters’… I also vastly underestimated how powerful it would be, and how great it would feel, to watch an action-comedy with only women in the leading roles.
The documentary, from director Nanfu Wang, follows Chinese activist Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) as she protests the lack of prosecution in a child sexual abuse case and suffers retaliatory harassment, surveillance, and imprisonment. … ‘Hooligan Sparrow’ is, both intentionally and unintentionally, about the legends that activists build for themselves.