Toy Story 4
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Roma will leave you breathless for days, encapsulated in its neo-realism beauty. Directed, written and shot by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Gravity) in stark black and white, it's his "love letter" to the women who raised him. It's an immaculate portrait - a memoir even - of class and racial divides integrated into familial life in 1970s Mexico City. It's simplistic yet gut-wrenchingly powerful, mechanized by Cuarón's masterful filmmaking. Cuarón has the remarkable ability to make the simple - even tedious - things in life extraordinarily beautiful. Thus, the film's seductive power rests in making you feel as if you're taking much of life for granted. It's empathetically told with moments of reflection - like a daydream - acting as if every single shot has a deeper meaning leaving you pondering many of them long after the credits roll. Even with an over-two-hour runtime and a slow-paced narrative, Cuarón still excels in gripping your attention from beginning to end with one of the most beautifully directed and captivatingly cinematic films to come out this year.
This story, under any other writer or director, could have easily been brought to fruition as a profoundly dismal drama. "Pity," though, is quite hilarious. The movie is something you feel you shouldn't be laughing at but it's so poignantly directed, cleverly written and ballistically absurd that you can't help but smile, though you may be simultaneously covering your eyes and cringing. "Pity" is immature and uncompromisingly brutal - in a good way, though one may feel a sense of questionable guilt admitting it. The absolute absurdity is balanced with humorous editing and gorgeous cinematography solidifying "Pity" as a favorite from this year's DFF.
In one of the most wildly original stories I've ever seen, writer John Ajvide Lindqvist stunningly surpasses the chilling beauty of "Let the Right One In" with "Border." Blending elements of romance and horror into a fairy tale (for adults) it's an unforgettable storyline, especially with the equally unnerving and enticing sexual explosiveness. At one point during the screening, I caught myself grinning from ear to ear thinking, "this is why I love going to the movies." "Border" is a visionary masterpiece from what could only come from a marvelously creative mind. Spotlighting the interconnectivity of humanity, nature and beauty, it's filmed with a suspenseful sensitivity like a coming of age film approaches self-discovery.
If you're going to cast a witch as your film's antagonist, you need to be smart - you need to be creative, you need to be clever and no matter what - your outcome needs to have a psychological impact. Andy Mitton's "Witch in the Window" - a film amongst today's modern sophisticated and psychological horror genre - meets all of those requirements. A script that could have easily translated overly cliche, was developed into a genuine and rich final product. "Witch in the Window" is carried by a sensitive and sorrowful storyline merged with a well-written - and even delicately comical at points - script. Smart and stealthy cinematography added to the film's maturity in what may be Mitton's most compelling film yet.
Terrified will leave you exactly that - terrified. This Argentinian supernatural horror is a gem-covered-in-blood of modern horror, offering the creativity other mainstream supernatural American contenders don't dare to venture into. It's imperfect, but entertaining as hell, particularly by means of Rugna's segmented storyline. Watch this one with the lights out.