By putting characters first, ‘Ixcanul’ becomes a transcendental experience

Guatemalan drama starts slow, surprises later with its striking characters and deemphasized setting

‘I Saw the Devil’ is perverse fun

Revenge flicks have been done and redone to death. Man loves woman, woman is killed, man avenges woman’s death. Who avenges whom is interchangeable,...

A tired story doesn’t drag down ‘Headshot’s’ ferocious spectacle

You don’t need to read this review to know what to expect from “Headshot,” a go-for-broke martial arts romp from Indonesia. It’s right there...

The true star of ‘Radius’ is its story

With serviceable performances and a killer narrative, “Radius” rides on its formal strengths more than anything.

‘Miss Violence’ is quiet, too quiet

Calling the group of people in “Miss Violence” a family is like calling prisoners of war safe because they have shelter. There’s no truth...

There’s not a dull moment in ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is one of those movies where everything about it just works. It's a remarkable thing, given how disparate so many...

‘A Most Wanted Man’ is a fitting swan-song

Title: Director: Country: Genre: Release date: Rating: “A Most Wanted Man” Anton Corbijn U.K. Thriller July 24, 2014 4/5 Lauded spy novelist John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” made it to the big screen in...

“Sauna” just misses the mark

Horror has the potential to be the most culturally reflective genre in cinema. Beneath the darkness, beneath the bloodshed, there’s something deeper at work....

‘Once’ is a bittersweet lullaby

Tales of star-crossed lovers have graced movie screens since the beginning of cinema. Some are fine with being sappy, others strive for realism, but...

“Rams” is tragicomedy at its bleakest

Icelandic humor has got to be the darkest kind of humor out there. Looking at the country's history, it makes sense: in around 1260,...

Incompetency reigns in the Spanish hodgepodge ‘The Invisible Guardian’

“The Invisible Guardian” is another banal crime thriller slapped together with all the good pieces of better crime thrillers.

Plotlessness kills the mood of ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism’

Movies with a one-track mind can be frustrating. The needlessly titled “When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism” has just such a mind. Watching...

‘Verónica’s’ paranormal drama can go two ways, and both are tired

After her father’s death, unstable teenager Verónica (Sandra Escacena) tries to contact him via ouija board, only to be possessed by a dark force.

Yorgos Lanthimos trades hilarity for horror in ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

Foreign Film Fanatic Jacob Holley-Kline says there’s nothing funny about Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” but that didn't keep him from laughing at it.

‘We Are Not Alone’ feels like nothing at all

If I taught a horror history course, I’d open it with the Peruvian bore, “We Are Not Alone.” Not because it’s anything special, mind...

The timely “XXY” dives deep

Sometimes, a simple narrative is best. It seems that the complex subject of intersexuality would lend itself to something more intricate. What's so good...

‘Hounds of Love’ should have had a tighter leash

For all its earnest intensity, “Hounds of Love” has remarkably boring stretches. I was puzzled by those moments because everything on-screen was important and...

‘Bio Zombie’ is delirious fun

“Bio Zombie” is “Resident Evil” through the eyes of “Shaun of the dead,” with enough goofy gimmicks to keep viewers entertained, at least for...

Some stories are black-and-white, ‘A Yellow Bird’ is black and blacker

Siva (Sivakumar Palakrishnan) is always on the outside looking in. As an ex-convict, getting out of prison only presented more challenges. Life outside it...

‘I’m Not Scared’ lives up to its name

Sometimes it’s fun to watch a movie fall apart, but those movies usually start out with no promise of getting better. “I’m Not Scared” is the opposite. The first act is foreboding and feels like Hitchcock at his best, but the final two thirds feel like a “Downhill” slide.

There’s a terrifying secret hiding ‘Under the Shadow’

There’s something to be said for the horror genre repeating itself. Like other genre fiction, horror has some very specific tropes and archetypes it...

“Angel’s Melancholy” is garbage

“Angel’s Melancholy” is the artsy torture trash your parents warned you about. There’s a right way to make hardcore horror, and this movie is...

‘The Clone Returns Home’: Sci-fi with a twist

In the world of “The Clone Returns Home” cloning a body is possible, but what about the spirit? “Even if you extract the memories and destroy the original body, the original soul will still remain,” says Professor Teshigawara (Toru Shinagawa, “Dark Water”) in a scene from the film.

Once is never enough for the murky thriller ‘Bluebeard’

Like the great crime thrillers “Bluebeard” tries to be, it leaves you with more questions than answers. Unlike those same movies, however, it’s not smart enough to let viewers come up with the answers.

‘Shoah’ is definitely an uncompromising epic

In the lonely interior of Poland, far away from any big city or town, is the small village of Chelmno nad Nerem. From 1941 to 1945 it was here that between 152,000 and 340,000 Jews were exterminated. Of the victims kept there, only two survived.

‘Big Bad Wolves’ shows its teeth

There’s a fine line between torture porn and torture art. The difference between the two could mean lingering on a sliced throat or torn toenail for too long. “Big Bad Wolves” walks that tightrope with finesse and a vicious moral center.

Top 5 foreign films the fanatic watched this year

Do American movies seem stale to you? Are there moments when you want nothing more than to read subtitles? It’s a big, cinematic world out there filled to the brim with non-American films. With 2013’s “Nairobi Half Life,” and “Fanie Fourie’s Lobola,” Kenya and South Africa’s movie industries are on the rise. South Korea is still experiencing a renaissance. Thailand’s industry is growing along with China’s. Argentina and Colombia are coming into some serious economic growth thanks in part to films like 2012’s “Elefante Blanco” and “La Sirga.” But until those movies make it onto DVD, here are five foreign flicks to sate your appetite.

‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ is beautiful, empty

Title: Director: Country: Release date: Rating: "Beyond the Black Rainbow" Panos Cosmatos Canada December 31, 2010 3/5 stars The annals of sci-fi are haunted by the campiness, and occasional genius, of the ‘70s and...

The xenophobic “Them” falls short

In a tight 77 minutes, “Them” manages to convey an unsettling message, one not easily forgotten. However, that message is enough to undermine the...

The frustrating ‘Huba’ overstates its point

Foreign Film Fanatic Jacob Holley-Kline says the story of Polish film 'Huba' is 'too thin to be interesting.'