Sundance review: Wild

Wild (dir Nicolette Krebitz, 2016) ★★★

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It’s love at first sight for Ania and a young handsome stranger lurking in the woods. Animal magnetism finds a new meaning in Wild, an intriguing, passionate drama between woman and wolf that falters only in that it doesn’t go quite far enough with its bestialistic premise.

Continues at The Film Stage

Sundance review: Frank & Lola

Frank & Lola (dir Matthew M. Ross, 2016) ★★★★

Frank & Lola

Frank & Lola, a noirish erotic thriller from journalist-turned-director Matthew M. Ross, finds leads Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots in top form. They excel as lovers in this tightly-wound psychosexual love story that has elements of the best of Eyes Wide Shut.

Frank (Shannon) is a high-flying chef working in top-end restaurants in Las Vegas. At the bar of his establishment he meets Poots’ Lola as she glides into his bar, and director Ross sets the scene by opening the film on the ensuing sex, a moody awkward sequence that heightens a sense of menace behind these beautiful starlets.

Continues at The Film Stage

Sundance review: Equity

Equity (dir Meera Menon, 2016) ★★

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There were many great films about strong women at this year’s Sundance – Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and Antonio Campos’ Christine to name two of the festival’s best features in their own right. Meera Menon’s Equity, a female-driven (written, directed, produced) corporate thriller set in the cut-throat workplace of Manhattan high finance, is a solid addition to this camp, although with nothing of the style or verve of either of those pictures.

Continues at The Film Stage

Sundance review: The Fundamentals of Caring

The Fundamentals of Caring (dir Rob Burnett, 2016) ★★★

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Films revolved around disabled people often focus on the inevitable demise of their main characters. Not so in the bracingly optimistic road movie The Fundamentals of Caring, a witty and at times very funny bromance between Craig Roberts’ wheelchair-bound teenager and his carer, a perfectly-cast Paul Rudd. Writer-director Rob Burnett, adapting Jonathan Evison’s The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, finds nuggets of comedy in the blindspots in your typical accounts of degenerative diseases.

Continues at The Film Stage

Sundance review: Love & Friendship

Love & Friendship (dir Whit Stillman, 2016) ★★★★

Love & Friendship

Whit Stillman’s films are often concerned with the absurdities of human interactions. His latest, Love & Friendship, is no different – except that it’s based on a Jane Austen novella. Yet Stillman, whose previous work like 2009′s Damsels in Distress focuses in a skew-eyed perspective of modern America, is the perfect fit. Based on the Austen’s epistolary Lady Susan, written in 1794 but not published until fifty years after her death, Stillman’s period comedy centres on Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan Vernon, a recently widowed socialite whose gallivanting around London since her husband’s death has caused her reputation to plummet. She’s a Machiavellian schemer who succeeds through arrogance and flirtation, wanting nothing more than a comfortable life but with the chance for some seduction on the side.

Continues at Cine-Vue

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