An awkward narrative transition, combined with a plurality of readings, could indicate a messy and unfocused story, but Riz Ahmed’s performance and the consistent tone created by director Michael Pearce ensure ENCOUNTER remains a captivating experience.
Justine Bateman’s feature film debut is full of ideas but desperately needs to triage them to let the best of them – and Olivia Munn’s excellent performance – breathe.
Too little is established in Jake Gyllenhaal’s main character for the tension to pierce or upend our understanding of him, and the focus on him in THE GUILTY is so intense that any broader metaphors or statements fail to emerge from that dense wildfire smoke.
CREATION STORIES occasionally hits a good note, but after the cacophonous entropy it generates getting tuned up, it struggles to recover anything harmonious from its orchestra of creative talents.
In the end, BLACK BEAR is a bit of a Penrose triangle of a film. Viewed from certain angles, it may make little sense, but when considered from a new vantage point or spun around, it paradoxically comes together elegantly and beautifully.
MINARI is an emotionally graceful portrait of a family whose members are trying to find their way in the world and amongst each other. Lee Isaac Chung lays out the path for their story with skill and a beautifully light touch.
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH doesn’t quite ascend to divine status, but it uses its lead actors’ bright performances to shine a new light on the infernal actions of intolerant institutions.
A beautifully shot film, THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET is a cinematic ballad to how humans are tested (often unfairly), how we adapt to even absurd circumstances and how we develop connections – or, indeed, do not – with those around us.
LUZZU premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Award in acting for the film’s lead, Jesmark Scicluna. Jim Ross spoke with director Alex Camilleri about the making of the film. You can read Jim’s review of the film here. Jim Ross: So, first of all, thank you for the film. I … Continue reading Alex Camilleri Interview
Fran Kranz’s intense chamber piece is a devastating and formally accomplished story on the nature of forgiveness, guilt and vindictiveness. Jim Ross reviews at Sundance 2021.