White God (2014) Kornél Mundruczó

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White God (2014)
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó
Produced by Jessica Ask, et. al.
Screenplay by Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, Kata Wéber
Cinematography by Marcell Rév
Edited by Dávid Jancsó
Rated R for violence, including bloody images, language
(color; in Hungarian with English subtitles; 2:01)

Unless you’re into independent and/or international films, you probably haven’t seen either the poster or the opening image of White God: a 13-year-old girl speeding her bicycle through the empty downtown streets of Budapest as hundreds of angry dogs race after her. That may be enough to pique your interest to sit through a 2-hour Hungarian film with English subtitles. If so, you may come away from the film feeling exhilarated, disgusted, cheated, or maybe even a better human being, I don’t know. But you probably won’t forget the experience.

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) Ana Lily Amirpour

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Written and Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Cinematography by Lyle Vincent
Film Editing by Alex O’Flinn
In Farsi with English subtitles
(1:41)

I am convinced that director Ana Lily Amirpour is going to one day make a great film. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is not that film, but it’s pretty good and it sure gets your attention.

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The Imposter (doc 2012) Bart Layton

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The Imposter (documentary 2012) Bart Layton
(1:35)
Netflix streaming

Many people avoid documentaries for several reasons: they generally consider them boring, slow-moving, poorly made, they don’t feature real actors… The list of excuses is endless (and not always unmerited). I’d like to challenge those folks who avoid documentaries to watch Bart Layton’s The Imposter, a film that singlehandedly could change the way you feel about documentaries. Seriously.

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Ida (2014) Pawel Pawlikowski

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Ida (2014) Pawel Pawlikowski
(1:24)
Netflix Streaming

In the early 1960s, a young nun named Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her sacred vows in a Polish convent. Before she can do that, Anna is informed that she must first visit her family, which consists of only one aunt, a hard-drinking loose woman named Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Wanda’s not exactly excited to see her niece arrive, and within moments bluntly informs Anna that her real name is Ida, that she’s Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during World War II.

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Blue Ruin (2013) Jeremy Saulnier

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Blue Ruin (2013) Jeremy Saulnier
(1:30)
Anchor Bay
Netflix streaming

Blue Ruin is the leanest movie I’ve seen in years. Jeremy Saulnier – in his directorial debut – has delivered an impressive revenge story that contains no digressions, no sidetracks, and practically no subplots. It’s all extremely focused and never lets up until the very last image and even then, its impact continues to work on you.

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