ARCHIVES

Sundance 2020: Chasing news stories from the sky in “Whirlybird,” directed by Matt Yoka

[DOCUMENTARY]
What's in your storage unit?
Directed by Matt Yoka

PARK CITY, Ut. | (Film critic Eric Althoff is in Park City covering Sundance 2020 for Screen Comment) Matt Yoka found a rather unusual Los Angeles treasure trove in an unassuming storage unit. There, in multiple boxes, sat some 3,200 ¾ inch Betamax tapes of helicopter news footage, all of it captured in the nineties by a now-defunct aerial news firm called Los Angeles News Service. Yoka, an ... more >

REVIEW : Dark and outlandish humor abounds in Alfonso Llosa’s “La Restauración”

Some parting words from SBIFF2020
Paul Vega, Attilia Boschetti and Delfina Paredes
Directed by Alonso Llosa

Santa Barbara International Film Festival is up against Sundance this year, so the demands for top independent films are especially heightened this season, as are the demands on stars like Brad Pitt (bestowed an honor in California) to choose one or the other. As always, there are unexpected gems, including a rather offbeat comedy from South America I was able to see (review below), and which ... more >

Once upon a time, the twisted twins Jen and Sylvia Soska – INTERVIEW

"Follow your stupid fucking dreams" (Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska)

In the last decade twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska have doggedly pursued film ventures in the horror genre. Armed with ingenuity, a DYI ethos and a pledge to frighten honest, hard-working people, the Soskas have acted in, directed, screenwritten and produced movies that would give Lloyd Kaufman and Eli Roth a run for their money. The Soskas have directed such films as “Dead Hooker in a ... more >

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MOVIE REVIEW: “CHURCH & STATE”

DOCUMENTARY
Directed by Holly Tuckett and Kendall Wilcox

“Church & State” examines the remarkable true story of an inexperienced gay activist who, in partnership with a Salt Lake City law firm and members of the local LGBTQ community, successfully ended Utah's ban on gay marriage. Mark Lawrence, a middle-aged gay man, led the charge for gay marriage equality in Utah. He’s a bit of an acquired taste (he’s so off-putting to some that it made him ... more >

MOVIE REVIEW: “1917”

Mission impossible for real
Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay and Daniel Mays
Directed by Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes’s name for his film is right. It hits you in the face with the mud, blood and gloom that was there, heavily, relentlessly, during that terrible year following three years of horror and followed by an even worse one. Out of this war that Mendes described as “a chaos of mismanagement and tragedy,” he has made a war movie like none other. Eschewing regular scripts for war films, the ... more >

MOVIE REVIEW: “Star Wars : Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

"We've passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight" (Luke Skywalker)
Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Adam Driver
Directed by J.J. Abrams

The circle is now complete. Forty-two years after George Lucas forever changed Hollywood (and the lives of moviegoers around the world!) with the original “Star Wars,” director J.J. Abrams brings it all home with “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.” I was there opening weekend in 1977. When the music blared and the opening crawl began to roll, I knew I was in for something amazing. ... more >

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BEST OF 2019: “Tel Aviv On Fire,” “This Must Be Heaven” and others make this film critic’s year

"Tel Aviv on Fire" (directed by Sameh Zoabi) (featured image) This Israeli film by Sameh Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, comes to us boasting a number of awards but that doesn’t prepare us for the treat of this thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious story [...] (full review) "Pain and Glory" (directed by Pedro Almodovar) Antonio Banderas, in one of his most attaching roles ever (Banderas’s American ... more >