LFF review: David Lynch – The Art Life

David Lynch – The Art Life (dirs. Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, 2016) ★★★★


Before David Lynch was a filmmaker, he was a struggling painter, whose lifeblood was to “drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and paint.” That’s what he dubbed “the art life,” and what an image – as featured in the many contemporary photos seen in this new documentary – it is, the bequiffed 20-something Lynch sitting back in his Philadelphia studio, composing transgressive abstract artwork. Bookmarked by footage of Lynch working on his latest paintings in his Hollywood Hills penthouse, the wonderful new documentary David Lynch: The Art Life showcases the artistic developments of one of America’s most singular directors.

The review continues at The Film Stage

LFF review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (dir. André Øvredal, 2016) ★★★


André Øvredal’s last feature, the monster mockumentary Trollhunter, was thrillingly irreverent — a cruelly funny movie that turned Norwegian mythology into a riotous adventure. That subversive streak heralds his English-language debut, a high-concept horror thriller set in a morgue where not all is as it seems. “Every body has a secret” says Brian Cox’s Austin as he digs into the mysterious new cadaver they’ve just been delivered.

Read more of this review at The Film Stage

LFF review: Porto

Porto (dir. Gabe Klinger, 2016) ★★


One of Anton Yelchin’s final screen performances lifts this melancholic ode to one night’s lost passion in Porto, a messy, scattered drama that, for all its visual resplendence, is too narratively slippery to reach much in the way of profundity. Set in the picturesque Portuguese city of the title, the film demonstrates first-time fiction director Gabe Klinger’s eye for visual storytelling, but his script, co-written by Larry Gross, feels undeveloped for anything further than glib, Instagram-like testaments to cherished moments in time.

To read on, head to The Film Stage

LFF review: Mifune – The Last Samurai

Mifune: The Last Samurai (dir. Steven Okazaki, 2016) ★★★


This well-assembled documentary on the life of actor Toshirô Mifune, the long-time Akira Kurosawa collaborator, should be a worthy introduction to one of Japanese cinema’s greatest icons, if a little light on more revelatory findings. With a softly-spoken narration by Keanu Reeves and talking heads from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, as well as the sons of both Mifune and Kurosawa, Mifune offers a personal and professional tribute to an actor who reinvented the hero for a post-World War II age.

For more of this review, go to The Film Stage

LFF review: My Life as a Courgette

My Life as a Courgette (dir. Claude Barras, 2016) ★★★★


Orphanages conjure up images of the hard-knock life and servings of gruel. This tough, deeply moving, Céline Sciamma-penned, 66-minute stop-motion gem from France shows the flipside. Sure, harsh realities are inevitably encountered — sometimes in a more uncompromising fashion than you’ll ever see in what is ostensibly a children’s film — but Claude Barras’ feature-directing debut has heart enough.

Review continues at The Film Stage

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