James White (2015)

Along with another one of last year’s directorial debuts – John Magary’s The Mend – Josh Mond’s James White signals a new direction for New York indie cinema. Inspired by the improvisational energy of early Cassavettes and Jarmusch’s calculated coolness, James White offers an unconventional coming-of-age narrative that incorporates tragedy without allowing it to sublimate…

Cartel Land (2015)

Cartel Land was one of 2015’s most successful documentaries, earning a cavalcade of critical praise and even an Oscar nomination. It’s not hard to see why; Matthew Heineman’s film combines a contentious contemporary issue – Mexico’s fraught, cartel-dominated ‘drug war’ and tensions along the U.S.A./Mexico border – with kinetic, ‘can-you-fucking-believe-they-got-that-shot’ cinematography. It’s the kind of…

Trumbo (2015)

For a film about a screenwriter’s perseverance for creative expression, Trumbo is rarely as inspired or diligent. Based on the life of Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), director Jay Roach’s biopic settles for a cordial yet straight-laced snapshot of 1950s Hollywood, unable to elevate political and libertarian motifs off the page. After being unjustly imprisoned for his…

Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn is a chick-flick with credentials. That is to say: a well-acted, beautifully staged period melodrama. The film chronicles the challenges faced by a young woman, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), as she journeys from Ireland to the States in search of opportunity. Unquestionably small in scope, Brooklyn shines as it draws from the poignant well of…

The Danish Girl (2015)

Tom Hooper might’ve made a great painter. Like the protagonists of his latest film, Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander), he has an eye for colour and composition that produces some memorable images. But cinema is about more than striking individual images; it’s about, among many other things, how images combine and…

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes has been idling sloshing around my watchlist for a couple years now, buoyed by strong word of mouth and an Oscar win for Best Foreign Language Film. But I decided to hold off after hearing of the impending American remake starring the likes of Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor…

Giveaway: Win Nightcrawler on DVD [COMPLETED]

Thanks to Madman Entertainment, ccpopculture has 3 DVDs of Nightcrawler to give away. “Nightcrawler is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. In his Golden Globe-nominated performance, Jake Gyllenhaal is Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a…

Double Feature: Leviathan (2014) and Winter Sleep (2014)

You don’t have dig particularly deep to find similarities between Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Russian drama Leviathan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Turkish drama Winter Sleep. They were erstwhile competitors across last year’s arthouse awards season; Ceylan took the lead early by picking up the Palme d’Or at Cannes, but Leviathan was more successful in more mainstream awards…

In Bloom (2013)

There’s a lot to like about In Bloom, Georgia’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film in last year’s Academy Awards. The storyline pairs the small-scale coming of age story of two girls, Eka (Lika Babluani) and Natia (Mariam Bokeria), with a nuanced interrogation of power in the midst of Georgia’s 1992 civil war. Directors Nana…