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Guanajuato 2017 Dispatch: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World, Hello Destroyer

53 minutes ago

The Guanajuato International Film Festival (Giff) is celebrating its 20th edition with Canada as the spotlight country, Peter Weir and Fatih Akin as the principal guests, and certainly an interesting selection of films from all over the globe. Check out my reviews of a couple of these titles in the gallery below....

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Fantasia 2017 Review: Tokyo Idols, Fever-Pitch Fandom

1 hour ago

Teenage girl or young women solo music acts or bands (or boys, for that matter) exist in most countries in the world; some only famous in their own nation (such as the dozens of J-pop and K-pop bands), and others worldwide (Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys). Japanese filmmaker Miyake Kyoko's documentary Tokyo Idols examines one such sector of pop music: the young women who are the namesake of the film, whose particular brand of pop, and their age and the image they project, are the object of obsession for mainly middle-aged men in Japan. Following one particular singer, Rio, and her legion of fans (and their leader and her most devoted fan, Koji), Miyake takes a keen eye to the pros and cons of the music, its...

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Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Sahel Rosa on Breaking Taboos in West North West

2 hours ago

West North West’s bold, intimate study of three ladies brought together by attraction, yet isolated by race, religion and sexuality, features knockout performances by its leads.  Model, actress and television personality, Sahel Rosa spoke with me candidly about the challenges of growing up as an Iranian in Japan, and taking on the taboo of portraying a Muslima entranced by another woman.   The Lady Miz Diva:  Having spoken with your costar, Ms. Kan Hanae, she mentioned you, Ms. Yamauchi Yuka and herself getting together in cafés for long talks to create your characters amongst yourselves.  What was your most challenging aspect in creating Naima?   Sahel Rosa:  Actually, on my end, I did not know who was going to be playing Kei until being on set. {Laughs.}...

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70s Rewind: In Coffy, Pam Grier Goes Nuclear

21 hours ago

Don't mess with nurses. In Atomic Blonde -- read our review here -- Charlize Theron proves herself to be quite deadly as an MI5 undercover agent during the Cold War. In Coffy, released in June 1973, Pam Grier proved herself to be the most deadly nurse ever. Introduced as a seductive junkie in the back seat of a limousine, Coffin (Grier), known as Coffy, is the type of woman who gets right down to business. Just a few minutes into the movie, she's already blown a drug dealer's head off and pinned it on his henchman, to whom she's given a lethal dose of heroin. Call it poetic justice, call it whatever you like, but Coffy is angry and doesn't have time for any pretty...

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Fantasia 2017 Review: Almost Coming, Almost Dying Shreds Dignity For Laughs In Surprising Ways

22 hours ago

In french, an orgasm is sometimes referred to as, la petite mort, or little death. The phrase can also infer, with less existential hubris, simply a nervous spasm. Kobayashi Toshimasa playfully uses the two ideas in his feature film debut Almost Coming, Almost Dying to generate gentle comedy predicated on the suffering of a man who has failed to achieve orgasm, and by extension is failing at life. Anchored by a sweetly self-deprecating performance from deadpan Japanese comic Nou Misoo as an introverted, nerdy fusion of Matsumoto Hitoshi and Matthew Broderick. Looking a bit like the latter, half-way between Ferris Bueller and Election, Misoo plays an unemployed layabout on the cusp of his 30s named Nakagawa Manabu. Clearly a man-child with little prospects, he lives at home...

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Fantasia 2017 Review: November, The Beautiful and The Grotesque Intertwine

23 hours ago

Thomas Hobbes' famous saying that the life of man is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" could have been the mantra for the life of the characters in Rainer Sarnet's November. Luckily, the film itself is fantastical, strange, beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and just the right amount of weird to give us this strange fairy tale that we feel it's a world we might have inhabited in a past life. Based on a bestselling Estonian novel, November is set in the 19th century, in a small rural community. Liina, a teenage girl, lives her with her father and their 'kratt', a sentient creature made of spare tools, rags, and bones, which can perform simple tasks and has been given a soul by the devil. Liina...

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Exclusive Trailer: Mike Boy, Why Does Everyone Want to Die Today?

27 July 2017 9:05 AM, PDT

it begins quietly, and then the action kicks in, and then we see the guns, a lot of guns. In Mike Boy, guns play a big role, as showcased in our exclusive trailer, but there's also a secret society and an ancient prophecy. This is considered the first feature film by a director from the gulf countries (Hamzah Tarzan) and starring Emirati actor Hugh Massey (stage name). It's also considered the first cooperation between Saudi and UAE productions in Hollywood. Here's the official synopsis: After an orphaned waiter "Mike Boy" is identified as the chosen one from an ancient prophecy, a shadowy figure visits him and forces Mike to join a secret society that is determined to rule the world. The society wants Mike to...

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Susan Sarandon to Receive Grand Honorary Award at Sitges 2017

27 July 2017 8:00 AM, PDT

Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, the premiere genre festival of Europe, has announced two of its awards winners for the 50th anniversary edition: director William Friedkin and actor Susan Sarandon. As well, legendary Spanish actor Santiago Segura will receive the Time Machine Award. This is in addition to previously announced guests Johnnie To, and Guillermo del Toro, who will be the 'godfather' of this year's festival. Along with this announcement comes a slew of exciting titles. Catalan filmmaker Jaume Balagueró returns with his latest film Muse, starring Christopher Lloyd, Franke Potente and Leonor Watling; Black Hollow Cage, which recently won the Jury Prize at BiFan, will screen for the Sitges audience; Xavier Gens's Cold Skin; German horror with Replace; American quirkiness with Dave Made...

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Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Kan Hanae on Sex and Religion in West North West and Unleashing Rap Fury in Yamato (California)

27 July 2017 7:00 AM, PDT

Having begun her acting career at age 10 in the hands of legendary Japanese director Suzuki Seijun, Kan Hanae has never stopped working.  Attending Japan Cuts, with not one, but two films, Kan spoke with me about the challenges of playing a lesbian in West North West, and containing the inner rage of a wannabe rapper near an American airbase in Yamato (California).   The Lady Miz Diva:  How did you become involved with West North West?    Kan Hanae:  At first, I was confused because I have never experienced that situation.  And at that time, I didn’t want to work as an actress.  I wanted to stop.  I was thinking about it but director Nakamura really wanted me to act in the film.  ...

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Poster Premiere For Sci-Fi Flick Infinity Chamber

27 July 2017 6:00 AM, PDT

Travis Milloy's sci-fi flick Infinity Chamber (formerly Somnio) will be in U.S. cinemas on September 15, 2017 and available on iTunes and VOD on September 26, 2017. Screen Anarchy has your first looks at the poster for the flick so you know what to look for this Fall in theatres or online.    Christopher Soren Kelly (Ink) and Cassandra Clark (Englishman in L.A.) star. XLrator Media is handling the North American release.     Trapped in a futuristic automated prison and subjected to relentless computer interrogation, a wrongfully imprisoned man must outwit his captors and escape to the outside world that may already be wiped out. Fans of cerebral science fiction will savor this haunting dystopian vision evoking Philip K. Dick and George Orwell. ...

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Durban 2017 Review: Liyana Inspires, And Wins For Artistic Bravery

27 July 2017 2:00 AM, PDT

Liyana documents the inspiring story of a young girl in rural Swaziland, whose parents die from AIDS, and whose little twin brothers are stolen by child traffickers after she and her frail grandmother are assaulted and abused. Liyana must then set out, against all the odds but with her loyal white bull by her side, to find her brothers and save them from men and monsters.    If this sounds closer to fiction than documentary then you are not entirely wrong, but where that dividing line actually lies is decidedly unclear. Liyana, the girl, is the fictional creation of a group of young Swazi orphans. These children are guided through the creative process by Gcina Mhlophe, a South African icon of storytelling, who uses her...

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Watch Now: Short Flick The Privates Burns Down the House... and Then Some

26 July 2017 8:00 PM, PDT

Dylan Allen's short film The Privates is one of my favorite shorts of 2017. It's funny, it's weird and it's chock full of a dynamic bunch of characters that jump off the screen and make you long for further adventures from this indie band of seriously nuclear oddballs. After a string of festival dates, Allen and co. premiered the film online with Vimeo and that means you can watch it right now. An unknown rock band struggles with a radioactive energy in their music that blows up amps, liquefies tape decks, and starts electrical fires. On the eve of their first (and possibly last) show, they must decide whether to risk life, limb, and legacy for a 1Am slot on a Tuesday. It could change...

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M.F.A: Raven Banner Entertainment Claims Canadian Rights For Revenge Thriller

26 July 2017 7:00 PM, PDT

Our friends at Raven Banner Entertainment have acquired all rights here in Canada to Natalia Leite's revenge thriller M.F.A. The thriller about sexual violence on campus was written by Leah McKendrick who also stars in the film.    Raven Banner Entertainment announced... that it has acquired all rights in Canada to M.F.A., a critically acclaimed powerful thriller starring Francesca Eastwood in a stand out role. The film, from female director and female screenwriter, takes on the searing current issue of sexual violence on campus. Raven Banner will release this fall alongside Dark Sky Films in the U.S.   M.F.A. was directed by Natalia Leite (Bare) from a debut screenplay by actress Leah McKendrick (Bad Moms). McKendrick also co-stars in the film along with Clifton Collins...

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Dementia 13: Chiller Films Releasing Coppola Remake This October

26 July 2017 9:30 AM, PDT

Yesterday Chiller Films announced that they would be releasing Richard LeMay's Dementia 13 in U.S. cinemas and on VOD and Digital HD throughout the month of October. As you peruse the press release below you will see that LeMay's film is a remake of Franics Ford Coppola's 1963 film. The dates for each release are also listed below. There does not appear to be a trailer available for this new version yet.    Chiller Films Releases ‘Dementia 13’   In Theaters October 6, 2017 and on VOD and Digital HD October 10, 2017    Chiller Films announces today the release of the upcoming horror thriller Dementia 13, in theaters on October 6, 2017 and on VOD and Digital HD on October 10, 2017.  This retelling...

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Fantasia 2017 Review: Friendly Beast, Man Is the Most Dangerous Animal

26 July 2017 9:00 AM, PDT

It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. The waitress, Sara (Luciana Paes) and kitchen staff just want to go home, while the boss, Inácio (Murilo Benício) struggles with money troubles, a nagging wife, and a desire for power and control in his life. A difficult couple enters, wanting a full meal, and Inácio forces the staff to keep working. Enter a pair of robbers, and the situation gets worse; but not as bad when the boss is able to get the upper hand, and suddenly an already dangerous situation turns deadly as sides are taken and people turn to the most abhorrent behaviour in the blink of an eye. Thus begins Friendly Beast, the debut feature from Brazilian filmmaker Gabriela Amaral Almeida. It's a...

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Critical Distance: The Assignment, Man-Made Women

26 July 2017 8:00 AM, PDT

Impeccably made and persuasively acted, The Assignment is a thriller that's a throwback to director Walter Hill's prime period in the late 70s and 80s. It never throws off the stink of its odious premise, but it's so otherwise entertaining that it makes for a discomfiting watch. The outlandish premise, which understandably drew condemnation and scorn when taken out of context, appears to be that the greatest punishment that a man can ever receive is to be transformed into a woman. It's the kind of idea that two men might cook up while drunk in a bar late at night: 'Hey, you know what would be worse than death?' In context, however, within the confines of the film's story and its characterizations, it becomes apparent...

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Review: In Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron Breaks the Glass Ceiling By Punching Through the Berlin Wall

26 July 2017 7:00 AM, PDT

I love a good espionage thriller, and what better setting than the fifty year Cold War between the Western democracies and their deadly enemies in the Communist East? This underground conflict has bred some of the most magnificent films of the last fifty years, not only through individual flashes of brilliance like The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, but most famously the longest running continuous film series out there, the adaptations of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It's no wonder that filmmakers continue to go back to that well, as it's an easy place to imagine a world of spies and assassins that very few people actually saw. There is a magnificent amount of artistic license afforded Cold War films becauase there is...

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Fantasia 2017 Review: A Day (하루), Blockbuster, Rinse, Repeat

25 July 2017 7:00 PM, PDT

When a child dies in an accident, regardless of fault, the parents will live that horrible day over and over again in their mind. They will wonder if only something was different, a phone call, a change of plans, an extra hug on the way out the door, might things have been different? It is a feeling of powerlessness when the universe is cruel and as good as any notion of what Hell probably is. Humanitarian doctor Jun-Yong is flying back to Seoul from New York City after giving a big talk to the United Nations. Due to a series of small events, a medical emergency he handles at the de-boarding gate, a surprise press conference in the airport concourse, and a clumsy parking agent,...

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Fantasia 2017: Free Tribute Screening of George A. Romero's The Crazies This Friday

25 July 2017 5:30 PM, PDT

The news of George A. Romero's passing was a shock to all in the fantastic cinema community. This Friday the Fantasia International Film Festival will honor the famed director with a free screening of the 4K restoration of his film The Crazies.    This Friday at The Fantasia International Film Festival - A Free Tribute Screening: George A. Romero’s The Crazies (New 4K Restoration)   In recognition of George A. Romero’s tragic passing, Fantasia will be presenting a free tribute screening of his under-seen 1973 masterpiece The Crazies, showing in a new 4K restoration courtesy of Arrow Films.  Imbued with an urgency that remains topical to this day, The Crazies is a work that showcases all the qualities that made Romero such a vital filmmaker...

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Run Away! An Exclusive Clip From The Gracefield Incident

25 July 2017 2:30 PM, PDT

Mathieu Ratthe's weekend gone awry flick The Gracefield Incident opened in U.S. cinemas and arrived on Digital HD and On Demand last Friday, July 21st.    Our man down in the MXCity, Eric Ortiz Garcia, had... issues... with the film, but by chance you are interested in all things that go pear shaped when meteorites crash to Earth and wreak havoc on unlucky weekenders then consider the clip below.    Matthew Donovan, a video game editor, embeds an iPhone camera into his prosthetic eye to secretly record and document a weekend with friends in a luxurious mountain top cabin. The weekend takes a terrifying turn when a meteorite crashes the party forcing everyone to face the darkest, screaming nightmare while somehow connecting life, love, and...

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