Archive for category: by Robert Horton

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Film Review: ‘In the Name of My Daughter’

21 May, 2015 (04:44) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

As evidenced by the success of radio’s Serial and TV’s The Jinx (like anybody consumes things on radio or TV any more, amirite?), our collective taste for true-crime stories remains boundless. If murder is on the menu, so much the better. Which means that veteran filmmaker André Téchiné (The Girl on the Train) ought to […]

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Film Review: ‘Réalité’

21 May, 2015 (04:41) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

The films of Quentin Dupieux would’ve been a smash in the late ’60s and early ’70s, crammed as they are with surreal tricks and car tires that kill people and questions about how much of what we see is real, man. After the zany shenanigans of Rubber and Wrong, Dupieux takes on the moviemaking business […]

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Film Review: ‘Animals’

14 May, 2015 (04:36) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

He looks like a junkie, she doesn’t; but maybe that’s the point. Animals seeks to humanize the struggle of two lovers in the throes of addiction by depicting them as ordinary people who fell through the cracks. They drive an Oldsmobile, they go to the zoo, and every so often they run a scam or […]

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Robert Horton’s SIFF 2015 Preview

13 May, 2015 (08:32) | by Robert Horton, Film Festivals | By: Robert Horton

Fatih Akin (Head-On, Soul Kitchen) is on the short list of the most intriguing 21st-century directors, and his latest effort, The Cut, travels into the realm of historical epic—namely the slaughter of Armenians by Turks during World War I. A Prophet star Tahir Rahim plays a survivor searching for family members. Adding intrigue is that […]

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Film Review: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’

7 May, 2015 (05:19) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Along with a great novelist’s assumed ability to peer into the human soul and all that, Thomas Hardy added two key obsessions: land and time. Hardy knew the soil of his English countryside, knew the trees and animals, and the way a footpath connects farms and destinies. He also knew how the turning of the […]

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Film Review: ‘Welcome to Me’

7 May, 2015 (05:16) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Beyond the valley of black comedy is a place where laughter and horror mingle freely. Here roams the original British version of The Office and the amazing Scorsese/De Niro King of Comedy (still one of Scorsese’s best, despite its low profile). It clicks only intermittently, but Welcome to Me is an attempt to inhabit this […]

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Film Review: ‘Tangerines’

7 May, 2015 (05:00) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Small in scale and antiwar in subject, Tangerines is the kind of story that almost always gets called a fable. Most such projects can get gooey about how we’re really all brothers under the skin, and this one is no exception—it was one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, after all. […]

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The Magnificent Ambersons

4 May, 2015 (04:02) | by Robert Horton, Essays, Orson Welles | By: Robert Horton

[Originally published on The Crop Duster] This piece dates to a program note written for a Welles series in 1986. I was a co-founder, with Tom Keogh, of a nonprofit called Seattle Filmhouse, and we brought a few notable critics (Jonathan Rosenbaum and David Thomson among them), as well as Welles’ hard-working latterday cinematographer, Gary […]

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Film Review: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

30 April, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Science Fiction | By: Robert Horton

The characters in current superhero movies must’ve grown up reading comic books. In Marvel’s run of blockbusters, Iron Man and Thor and the gang (well, maybe not Captain America) are steeped in cultural references; they know all the clichés of pulp fiction, even as they embody them. Aware of the absurdity of wearing tights and […]

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Film Review: ‘Amour Fou’

23 April, 2015 (05:04) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

In November 1811, in accordance with their suicide pact, the great German Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist shot and killed Henriette Vogel on the shores of the Kleiner Wannsee outside Berlin. Then he shot himself in the head. There are undoubtedly many ways you could tell this story, and some of them would be of […]

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Film Review: ‘The Water Diviner’

23 April, 2015 (04:59) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) is a dowser, a man who can find water in the Australian desert—a talent he will later employ when he goes searching for the bodies of his three sons, all lost on the same day in the disastrous World War I battle of Gallipoli. This supernatural touch isn’t really necessary to […]

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Film Review: ‘Backcountry’

16 April, 2015 (05:13) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews, Horror | By: Robert Horton

See, this is why I don’t go camping. In its opening half-hour (the film saves its explicit violence, including quite a bit of gore, for its final 30 minutes), Backcountry conjures a series of terrors about being in the middle of nowhere—in this case, a Canadian forest. Is the aggressive stranger with the survivalist knife […]

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Film Review: ‘1971’

16 April, 2015 (05:08) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Even if you have an allergic reaction to dramatic re-enactments in documentary films—and I confess I get itchy during them—1971 provides an exciting, non-hokey account of a remarkable true story. The March ’71 break-in at an FBI office in Media, Penn., has not enjoyed the lingering prominence of the Pentagon Papers or other high-profile leaks. […]

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Film Review: ‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’

9 April, 2015 (05:33) | by Robert Horton, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

This movie never leaves the courtroom or its antechamber, but that’s not the only reason things are unbearably claustrophobic. The limited range of movement perfectly sums up the situation of an unhappy wife, whose suit for divorce against her estranged husband takes years to untangle. Why would it take years? Because the courtroom in Gett: […]

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Film Review: ‘Ned Rifle’

9 April, 2015 (05:28) | by Robert Horton | By: Robert Horton

It arrives with something less than the heated expectations of, say, the Avengers sequel, but Ned Rifle is nevertheless the climax of a movie trilogy. You have to be a follower of the career of longtime indie hero Hal Hartley to really appreciate this closure, but apparently there are enough fans out there to have […]

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