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Entries in Reviews (523)

Sunday
Feb122017

Gay Indie VOD Round-Up with Franco, Quinto and Juliet Stevenson

By Glenn Dunks.

It's sometimes hard to keep up with all the films hitting VOD from the festival circuit, particularly those under the LGBTQ banner that can so easily get lost by audiences. More and more films including those with big stars and major filmmakers are now taking the direct route so competition is fierce. Let's take a look at some of the titles hitting the regular services over these first few months of the year. If your interests extend beyond the buzzier must-see titles like Carol and Moonlight, you should definitely keep an eye out for them and others like them.

DEPARTURE
I’m just going to say it – Juliet Stevenson should be next in line for a Rampling/Huppert style dalliance with Oscar. She is far and away the best thing in this pretty if frustrating drama about a mother and son in the south of France. She is exquisite as Beatrice, a permanently sad Woman Who Lies To Herself™ on the verge of divorce who has travelled to the family holiday house to pack up their possessions so the place can be sold. Never too far away from a glass of wine or an angry/tearful breakdown, Stevenson’s performance is the kind of body-shaking reminder of her talent that, should they watch it, ought to inspire somebody to give her another showcase.

[More on Departure and three more queer titles after the jump]

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Tuesday
Feb072017

Doc Corner: 'Oklahoma City' As Relevant as Ever

Like many of the best documentaries, Barak Goodman’s Oklahoma City isn’t just about one thing. In fact, despite its title exclusively and definitively referencing the bombing of a federal building – the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil until 9/11 – Goodman’s compelling and ultimately very chilling and concerning film is about a larger swathe of domestic terrorism, detailing how the events of April 19 1995 were the inevitable culmination of an out-of-control spiral of white nationalism and anti-government revolt.

Despite the enormity of the event, the events of Oklahoma City have not been detailed on screen very often. For what reason that is, I’m not sure, but that absence of films (non-fiction or otherwise) would already be enough to allow this Sundance-premiering film extra weight and deserved attention. But in a depressing coincidence, and the reason Goodman’s film is as relevant 22 years later as it is, the wait to make a film has allowed the circumstances of the day, elements of the case that may have been forgotten or lost amid the debris, to hold a greater significance.

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Tuesday
Jan312017

Doc Corner Goes to Slamdance

by Glenn Dunks

Okay, so if we had really gone to Slamdance I feel like you would have noticed with some extra coverage given that it runs at the same time and in the same city as Sundance. So despite not travelling to the snowy surrounds of Park City, I was still nonetheless lucky enough to get a peek at Slamdance’s documentary slate. And here we are telling you about FIVE of the titles in this super-sized edition of Doc Corner. Those five include outback savages, musical amateurs and geniuses and more that should be coming to festivals and VOD over the next year...

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Monday
Jan302017

Review: "Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

You've seen the moment many times. Two future lovers see each other in a crowd, and something clicks. In West Side Story that moment prompts a blur on the edges of the frame, with only the lovers in focus. In La La Land, it takes the form of a camera push-in with all the lights, but for a spotlight, going out. The moment is so familiar in fantasies (and desired in reality) that there's even an old showtune about it.

Some enchanted evening, you will meet a stranger
You will meet a stranger across a crowded room.
And somehow you know, you know even then...

The last place you might expect to see it deployed is in a new French film which begins with 18 minutes of explicit activity in a sex club...

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Tuesday
Jan172017

Doc Corner: The Timely Reminder of 'Antarctica: Ice and Sky'

Director Luc Jacquet ventures into the past to show us our future in Antarctica: Ice and Sky, one of the best enviro-docs that I have seen in recent times. A film about climate change that revels in the captivating splendour of its natural subject as much as it does science and the ravages of humanity. It’s an appropriate film to watch right on the outset of what could very well be four of the most environmentally disastrous years on record. A timely reminder that even in the depths of the Cold War, the USA, France and Russia worked together for the greater good of the planet.

Like he did with Oscar-winning March of the Penguins, Jacquet shows a distinct knack for taking the potentially dry blueprint of a nature documentary and manipulate it into something more broadly cinematic. With the particularly impressive work of editor of Stéphane Mazalaigue, Jacquet has taken the 16mm archival footage of French glaciologist Claude Lorius’s expeditions to Antarctica and turned them into a compelling, thrilling story of scientific breakthroughs.

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Wednesday
Jan112017

TV Review: Taboo

by David Upton

Tom Hardy gets a mythical movie star introduction as Taboo opens, hidden alternately by camera and cloak before he pulls back his hood and the camera creeps reverently below him. The FX and BBC collaboration is a real passion project for the British actor, co-created with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and Hardy’s father Edward ‘Chips’ Hardy...

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Tuesday
Jan102017

Doc Corner: Debbie and Carrie's Bright Lights

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.” That was Meryl Streep at last weekend’s Golden Globe Awards ending her lifetime achievement speech with a quote by her friend Carrie Fisher. Despite working as a suitable mantra for much of Fisher’s autobiographical work, a broken heart lingers over Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, not just because the pair passed away in quick succession leaving behind generations of fans whose lives were forever changed by this most unique mother and daughter team.

No, there is also the very real breaking heart of Fisher who saw her mother’s health deteriorating and decided she needed to document her mother while she still had the chance. How was she or any of us to know the tragic circumstances that would befall the two of them and surround Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens’ documentary.

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Tuesday
Jan032017

Doc Corner: 'I Am Not Your Negro' is a Towering Achievement

In Doc Corner, Glenn Dunks looks at current, future and past documentaries of note...

With new year resolutions no doubt already a distant memory (it's been three days!), it’s probably time to remember that it is really hard for people to change. And I don't just mean quitting smoking. We can try all we want, but even those of us who consider ourselves ‘progressive’ probably can’t say with any real confidence that we're not set in our ways; the same person deep inside that we were a decade ago. And even if that isn’t the case, as hard as it is to change just ourselves, just think how much harder it is to change the larger mass. And with a new President about to be inaugurated on the back of violent, blatant racism, it is sadly even more pertinent to remember this.

Now, these are not necessarily ideas that are at the forefront of Raoul Peck’s superb I Am Not Your Negro, but as it was with 13th, 10 Bullets, 3 ½ Minutes, O.J.: Made in America and many other documentaries about race, it is a recurring theme that bubbles to the surface as if by default. The more we think things are changing, the more they sadly stay the same. A film about race in the 1950s and 1960s is, sadly and inevitably, a film about race in the modern age for we are doomed to repeat the sins of the past no matter what we do...

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