Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer) returns with a loose reimagining of a classic Chinese novel -- and it's characteristically bug-eyed and silly, by turns creative, clever, and exhausting.
Read Eric D. Snider's review of Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, starring Qi Shu and Zhang Wen.
"Hilarious, felonious, painful, and disgusting" -- if that sounds like a fun combination to you, we have just the movie for you: Cheap Thrills, directed by E.L. Katz. Either incisive commentary on the current American socio-economic condition or just a hell of a good time, the film pits desperate (and drunk) men against increasingly outrageous dares. Read Eric D. Snider's review.
A week later, Jürgen takes a look back at the 64th Berlin International Film Fest -- and lists the five moments from smaller movies that stuck with him: Rinko Kikuchi says good-bye to her bunny Bunzo in Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Denis Lavant joins a monk during his slow-motion walk through Marseilles in Tsai Ming-liang's Journey to the West, and a transvestite samurai beheads garden gnomes in Der Samurai.
Robin Wright plays a very of herself--real and animated--in this science-fiction film that's partially based on a Stanislaw Lem novel. Directed by Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), The Congress is "meta-referential, loosely satiric, and vaguely disquieting," writes Eric D. Snider in his review.
A mouse and a bear become unlikely friends in this Oscar-nominated animated feature from the team behind A Town Called Panic. Eric D. Snider found the film both tender and goofy, evoking a unique sense of wonder and imagination. Read his four-star review.
Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac Vol. I are just two of the big-ticket competition entries at this year's 64th Berlin Film Festival. Jürgen's first dispatch from one of Europe's premier festivals covers his favorite competition films during the first five days, which also include Yann Demange's Northern Ireland drama '71 and the remake of a French classic, Two Men in Town, starring Forest Whitaker. Read Jürgen's Berlinale diary.
Gareth Huw Evans, writer-director of the 2011 surprise martial-arts hit The Raid returns with the more ambitious follow-up, once again starring Iko Uwais. Reviewer Eric Snider is impressed with "some of the sharpest fight sequences in moviedom." Read his review of The Raid 2.
An entire movie about one guy driving a car is a risky endeavor, but it helps if that one guy is Tom Hardy (Black Hawk Down, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises.) As Ivan Locke, a posh-accented Londoner, Hardy drives through Stephen Knight's sophomore film while his life falls apart around him. Eric Snider likens the film to a "breathlessly paced piece of live theater excellently performed by a skilled actor." Read his review of Locke.
The Past, Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi's followup to his Oscar-winning drama A Separation, is about the past (no surprise there), and how decisions made then can dramatically affect the future. On paper, the plot is melodramatic and soapy, but in Farhadi's hands it feels sensible and restrained, full of drama but not with histrionics. Read Eric D. Snider's review of The Past.
If you put this cast on Broadway, you'd sell out a year in advance: Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, and Chris Cooper star in John Wells' adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer-winning drama August: Osage County. In his review, Eric. D. Snider finds that this whole family of pot-stirrers and openers of old wounds is a "fun way to spend a couple of hours." August: Osage County is now playing in theaters.