• Cinephilia

    Review: Extra Ordinary

    Heading to the movie theater might not be at the top of your list of Things To Do This Weekend, and it’s understandable if so. If, however, you’re more of the “measured-but-cautious” ilk and haven’t let recent public health concerns overly impact your day-to-day life, heading out to catch Extra Ordinary, a treat of a movie that effortlessly mashes up comedy, romance, horror and adventure, could be a great way to distract from the actual horrors of the day. The debut feature film from writing/directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, Extra Ordinary more than earns its place among cheeky genre films like What We Do in the Shadows and Shaun of the Dead.…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The Way Back

    In a parallel universe, there’s a version of Gavin O’Connor’s The Way Back, the story of a grieving former high school basketball star tapped to coach the struggling team at his alma mater, that’s released by Disney. It’s got all the hallmarks of an underdog story from the House of Mouse, the “will they/won’t they in the face of adversity” storyline, and none of the prolific (and colorful) foul language on and off the court. It’s a line O’Connor (and co-writer Brad Ingelsby) do their best to tow, instead aiming for something more gritty and personal as Ben Affleck portrays a broken, damaged man trying to find his way through his…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Emma

    Nearly every scene in Emma., the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel about a selfish young woman who sees the error of her meddling ways, looks as if it would be as at home in an Instagram feed as it is on the big screen. All cotton-candy pastels and effortless style, director Autumn de Wilde’s feature film debut brings her photographer’s eye to an endearing—and enduring—story in a new version that arrives as a period piece for millennials. Adapted by Eleanor Catton (a Man Booker Prize winner for her novel The Luminaries), the narrative is all plot, not wasting a single moment of its 125 minute runtime on things like superfluous character…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    There’s a moment in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s exquisite new film, when painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) gives up on an early attempt to capture the likeness of her subject, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). She’s been commissioned to paint the young woman as a way of ensuring a favorable marriage for her, but Héloïse is so against the idea of marrying (she’s only recently returned from a convent following her sister’s untimely death) that her mother (Valeria Golino) insists she can’t know she’s being painted at all. So Marianne has three-fourths of a portrait—a bodice and shoulders in an emerald green gown—but nothing above the neck, as daily…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Corpus Christi

    Believe it or not, there were other films besides Parasite nominated for this year’s International Feature Film Academy Award; even though the Korean film stole the show (and the most Oscars that night), four other films were vying for the one award of the night given to the country that submits the film. Spain sent in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory; Honeyland (from Macedonia) made history as the first film to be nominated as in Best Documentary, too; France inexplicably selected Les Miserables (despite Portrait of a Lady on Fire being a wildly superior film); and Poland snuck into the final five nominees with Corpus Christi, a film about faith, community and the lengths we’ll go…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: And Then We Danced

    Set in the world of Georgian folk dancing, with its sharp, deliberate choreography and percussion-driven rhythms, And Then We Danced is the story of Mareb (Levan Gelbakhiani), a promising young performer determined to join the national troupe if he can navigate family drama, personal injury and more along the way. Written and directed by Levan Akin, Mareb’s journey through the demands of his chosen art, a family coming apart and the seams and an unexpected—and incredibly taboo—romance is vibrant, emotionally rich and beautifully wrought. Under the training of a no-nonsense dance instructor who expects perfection in every movement, Mareb and his fellow dancers—including his older brother David (Giorgi Tsereteli), his…