African Movies

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Film Review: ‘A Ballerina’s Tale’

October 18, 2015

Courtesy of IFC Films Great films about ballet, from “The Red Shoes” to the recent doc “Ballet 422,” have always staged an elegant choreography between form and content, but Nelson George’s documentary about Misty Copeland, the groundbreaking African-American dancer, is disappointingly flat-footed. Over its 75-year history, New York’s prestigious American Ballet Theatre had never promoted […]

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San Sebastian Film Review: ‘The Demons’

September 26, 2015

Courtesy of Les Films de l'Autre Fevered imagination and nightmarish reality brush shoulders to disconcerting effect in “The Demons,” Quebecois filmmaker Philippe Lesage’s extraordinary examination of childhood fears festering in broad suburban daylight. Putting his documentary training to disciplined use as he teases out the largely internalized insecurities — sexual, social and practical — of […]

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Black’

September 21, 2015

Courtesy of Toronto Film Festival An hour into “Black” co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s powerhouse street romance, 15-year-old Mavela (Martha Canga Antonio) learns the consequences of stepping out with a member of a rival gang. It’s a brutal wake-up call, followed by a montage set to a sultry (white) hip-hop version of Amy […]

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Toronto Film Review: ‘The Paradise Suite’

September 15, 2015

“Crash”-like levels of moralizing contrivance bring together characters neatly divided by class, nationality and economics in “The Paradise Suite.” Joost van Ginkel’s second feature (after the promising 2011 “170 Hz,” about two deaf-mute lovers on the run) is a well-intentioned but heavy-handed, diagrammatic snapshot of current Europe, its characters too rigidly defined as exploiting or […]

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Venice Film Review: ‘The Endless River’

September 7, 2015

Courtesy of Moonlighting Films Oliver Hermanus has a gift for telling stories through faces — complex arcs of hurt, guilt and longing silently emergent in the expressions of protagonists and bit players alike, and patiently observed for effect. It’s this fine-grained command of implicit narrative that balances the riskier melodramatic gestures of “The Endless River,” the […]

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War Room—The AllMovie Review

September 2, 2015

★ Pastors-turned-filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick have been key players in the faith-based genre since their Kirk Cameron-led Fireproof became one of the highest-grossing indie movies of 2008. They’re clearly an essential force in the resurgence of Evangelical cinema, which is known for its paltry operating budgets and massive profit margins. Their fifth film, War […]

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Faith-based drama ‘War Room’ tops ‘Straight Outta Compton’ during Friday box office

August 29, 2015

The faith-based drama War Room earned an estimated $3.875 million on Friday, putting it slightly ahead of reigning box-office champ Straight Outta Comptom, which grossed an estimated $3.83 million. Directed by Alex Kendrick, War Room was torn apart by critics (the film scored just 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but embraced by audiences. (As Forbes […]

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Film Review: ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’

August 18, 2015

Arriving around the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, and a resurgence of the protest against police brutality that significantly fueled it, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” offers a sturdy recap of the titular organization’s short, tumultuous history. Docu vet Stanley Nelson (“Freedom Summer,” “Jonestown,” “Wounded Knee”) doesn’t bring the era back […]

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Film Review: ‘Tap World’

August 6, 2015

Courtesy of Tap World Veteran TV crime show producer Dean Hargrove (“Columbo,” “Diagnosis: Murder”) finds a new groove and generously shares his enthusiasm in “Tap World,” an infectiously spirited and pleasingly celebratory documentary about the globe-spanning appeal of American-style tap dance. If the movie has any flaw worth noting, it’s a sin of omission: Although […]

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Film Review: ‘Northmen: A Viking Saga’

July 31, 2015

Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment Riding the coattails of various, mostly smallscreen medieval-combat chronicles, the English-language multinational production “Northmen: A Viking Saga” brings straightforward vigor to an uninventive but diverting tale of Norse warriors shipwrecked on hostile shores. There are no novel slants or plot twists in the script (by Austrian screen/genre-fiction writing duo Bastian […]

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Karlovy Vary Film Review: ‘Gold Coast’

July 11, 2015

Courtesy of KVIFF A Danish botanist’s naive optimism clashes with the harsh reality of West African colonial life in “Gold Coast,” an atmospheric early-19th-century morality tale in which the salt air, humidity and horror of its distant remove from law and order are made palpable, almost suffocating, by the period pic’s feverish style. Documentary helmer Daniel Dencik (“The […]

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Film Review: ‘Fatima’

June 10, 2015

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival In a 2015 Cannes Film Festival lineup that generated much ado about “the year of the woman” and the troubling divisions in modern French society, few pictures merged these concerns quite as deftly or economically as Philippe Faucon’s “Fatima,” a warm and insightful dramedy about a Moroccan-born mother raising her […]

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