Spaceship

Dare Weighed down by laughable pretentiousness, Spaceship never comes close to lift-off. This low-budget British film concerns a schoolgirl’s apparent abduction by aliens in a town in Surrey, which sends her schoolmates and her father into a spiral of cosmic and philosophical uncertainty. The characters all beggar belief; all of the schoolgirls are spacey, neon-haired…

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Zoology

Dare Zoology takes an outlandish, potentially ludicrous premise, and treats it with a defiant sincerity. The film, from Russian director Ivan Tverdovsky, examines the consequences when a put-upon middle-aged misfit suddenly grows an animal tail. Natasha (played well by Natalya Pavlenkova) is a Zoo worker who lives with her mother. Her co-workers are ruthlessly, excessively…

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American Honey

Special Presentation A pulsating, vivacious road movie with heart, depth and realism, American Honey is one of the very best films of the year. The venture marks a rising ambitiousness for Andrea Arnold, director of the critically adored Fish Tank and 2011’s Wuthering Heights. Her newest film takes something gritty and intimate, and balloons it…

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Ten Years

Debate Ten Years has plenty to say, but no coherent way of saying it, and the five stories that make up this compilation are distractingly dissonant. Defying expectations, this low-budget dystopian anthology film scooped up the top prize at the 35th Hong Kong film awards, and outperformed Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the cinema…

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Sieranevada

Debate Sieranevada, the latest feature from Cristi Puiu invites you into a small flat for a Romanian family gathering and barely lets you leave. If Mike Leigh were commissioned to make an extra-long, all-Romanian episode of Him and Her, this film would be the absorbing result. After a few artful, painstakingly patient scenes of set-up,…

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My Life as a Courgette

First Feature Competition To use a perhaps an often misjudged phrase, My Life as a Courgette is one of the most life-affirming pictures of recent years. The French stop-motion animation looks akin to Wallace & Gromit/Trumpton/The Herbs all updated with the various progresses in the technology, without losing an ounce of their wonderful charm. The…

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King Cobra

Dare A dark tale of ambition and betrayal set within the world of the gay porn industry, Justin Kelly’s King Cobra isn’t afraid to show you all it’s packing. Unfortunately, this particular cobra measures out at little more than an asp. Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton) is a wide-eyed teen, out to make a name…

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