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Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

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Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Film

"The Personal History of David" Puts a Playful Spin on Dickens' Social-Climbing Epic

Armando Iannucci veers sharply from pitch-black satire to a more upbeat comedy with The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel as a hero who would have been eaten alive in Veep.

Film

Michael Almereyda's 'Tesla' Imagines Its Man

Faced with the limitations of historical documentation of inventor Nikolai Tesla, director Michael Almereyda and actor Ethan Hawke choose instead to convey his spirit.

Film

Apocalypse '45 Uses Gloriously Restored Footage to Reveal the Ugliest Side of Our Nature

Erik Nelson's gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage in Apocalypse '45 makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy".

Film

The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.

Music

​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Film

Paranoia Goes Viral in 'She Dies Tomorrow'

Amy Seimetz's thriller, She Dies Tomorrow, is visually dazzling and pulsating with menace -- until the color fades.

Film

Luchino Visconti's L'Innocente Lushly Escalates Emotional Intensity and Moral Quagmire

The wealthy, spoiled, entitled, monstrously egotistical male protagonist in Visconti's L'Innocente spends his time in various states of suffering, often sweating profusely and sometimes with eyes puffy and tear-stained.

Film

Edgar Allan Poe Drives Bela Lugosi Mad in These 3 Horror Films

Lugosi films Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and The Raven give more than a head-rolling nod to the master of poetic horror, Poe.

Film

Laurel & Hardy's Genius of Everyday Chaos

The opposite of the idealized embodiments of masculinity seen in male cinema heroes Hapless Man-children Laurel & Hardy are creatures of the id.

Film

On Hillbilly Elegy, 'Spring Night Summer Night'

Joseph L. Anderson's film 'Spring Night Summer Night' and its characters are embracing uncertainty and therefore defying conventions and expectations. They're making it up as they go.

Film

'The Rental' Is an Airbnb Horror of Hipsters in Peril

In Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg's hipster horror flick The Rental, the looming threat surrounding a vacationing foursome feels less crucial than the lies they tell each other.

Film

A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.

Film

The Bizarre 'Deerskin' Makes Black Comedy Out of a Familiar Masculine Crisis

Led by a misanthropic yet oddly charming performance from Jean Dujardin, Quentin Dupieux's take on the midlife crisis, Deerskin, gains power from the absurd and the enigmatic.

Film

'The King of Staten Island' Presides Over Self-Pity

Judd Apatow's latest arrested development comedy, The King of Staten Island, is short on laughs and long on running time.

Film

Masaki Kobayashi's 'Kwaidan' Horror Films Are Horrifically Beautiful

The four haunting tales of Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan are human and relatable, as well as impressive at a formal and a technical level.

Film

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Gorgeously Conveys Our Need for Poise and Elegance

The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.

Film

'The Ghost of Peter Sellers': When an Actor Destroys His Own Movie

Peter Medak's documentary about his ill-fated 1974 pirate comedy, The Ghost of Peter Sellers, is less bonkers tale of a production gone mad than therapeutic excursion into a traumatic memory.

Film

From the Smoker to 'The Oscar': The Sweet Stink of Success

Russell Rouse's The Oscar is fabulously gaudy and kitschy, with overdone sets and costumes. The film practically hyperventilates in mood, story, and acting. You should see it.

Film

Disruptive Films and Political Turmoil

Facet's Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power, Volume Two documents the multiple approaches a variety of filmmakers take in wielding video and celluloid for social change.

Film

'Capital in the 21st Century': Pie for the Rich, Crumbs for the People

Justin Pemberton's film version of Thomas Piketty's landmark book on the dangers of today's yawning income inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, is more TED Talk than documentary, but it's a handy summary nonetheless.

Film

Before Ru Paul and Trixie Mattel There Was the Ball Circuit: 'Paris Is Burning'

Told through the voices and movements of the legends and pioneers of the '80s Harlem drag-ball scene, Paris Is Burning is an indispensable look at one of America's most influential subcultures of the last half-century.

Film

Pop-Ups Desirable: The Bizarre Delights of '3-D Rarities II'

After the nymphs wave their diaphanous rags at the camera, the boys parody their terpsichorean poses with a magically appearing ball. These and other delights in Flicker Alley's 3-D Rarities II.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Film

'The Serpent's Egg' Marks One of Ingmar Bergman's Strangest Efforts

The Serpent's Egg bares many of the Bergman's trademark features – the suffocating auras of despair and an underdog's sense of triumph over tragedy – but falls short of a more intelligent rendering of human drama.

Film

Ross Is the Name, Crime Is the Game: 'My Name Is Julia Ross'

My Name Is Julia Ross is fast, direct, and easy fun. It never tests the viewer's patience with unnecessary trills.

Film

Great Scots: 'Whiskey Galore!' and 'The Maggie'

Two Scottish comedies from Alexander Mackendrick, Whiskey Galore! and The Maggie, were part of Ealing Studios movies meant for a depressed postwar England to "let off steam".

Film

Yasujiro Ozu on the Arts of Pachinko, Baseball, and Marriage

Yasujiro Ozu's films can often be described as movies in which nothing happens -- nothing except the revelation of a world, its inhabitants, and a deep understanding of their contradictions.

Film

In 'Downhill', Getting Dark Just Means Getting Harsh

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's comedy, Downhill, paints in broad strokes and peaks early, never matching the clever satire of its source material, Force Majeure.

Film

Lurking and Smirking: Anthony Perkins and Charles Bronson Match Wits in 'Someone Behind the Door'

If we judge a film by keeping us on the edge of our seat, 1971's Someone Behind the Door, starring Anthony Perkins and Charles Bronson, is a success.

Film

'Eyes of Laura Mars' Is Best as a Document of '70s New York

A romantic thriller that boasts a contribution from John Carpenter, Eyes of Laura Mars benefits greatly from the gritty '70s Manhattan scenery.

Film

Richard Fleischer's 'Trapped' Escapes from Noir Obscurity

Thanks to Richard Fleischer's Trapped, Lloyd Bridges got the chance to shine in a starring role as unregenerate slimeball Tris Stewart, among the most amoral self-centered leads in noir.

Film

In Sophie Hyde's 'Animals', the Party Must End, Already

Animals is both a personal and creative coming of age story, and a satisfying yet frustrating tale about avoiding the tragedy of getting left behind.

Film

Leaving Is Just as Hard as Loving in 'Marriage Story'

Noah Baumbach's attention to the daily agonies of divorce in Marriage Story displays love's enduring power—or at least, its residue.


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