Articles by Mark Barber

Reviews

Finding Hygge

Finding Hygge explores the Danish concept of hygge, which a quick Google search tells me has to do with comfort, wellness, and happiness.  I was forced to Google, because at no point in this ninety-minute long documentary is the concept distilled or defined in a coherent manner.

Reviews

A Breath Away

A Breath Away emerges in the midst of a growing number of films dedicated to portraying the horrors of environmental disaster.  Timely as it is horrifying, A Breath Away is an emotionally-charged thriller that broadly follows the algorithmic pattern set by previous disaster films, and has little to say ideologically about its central issues.

Reviews

Searching for Ingmar Bergman

Searching for Ingmar Bergman, a new documentary from renowned German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta, is an intimate portrait of the famed Swedish filmmaker’s life and legacy, focusing both on his voluminous oeuvre (Bergman’s first film credit as a screenwriter in the early 1940s to his last film, Saraband, in 2004) and his family life.

Reviews

Number 37

Number 37, which recently premiered this summer at the Fantasia Festival, proves an old argument: some films should not be remade.  In this case, director Nosipho Dumisa has updated and resituated Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Rear Window within the generic contours of the gangster sub-genre.

Reviews

Alright Now

Jamie Adams’ Alright Now, a romantic dramedy following a rock star following a particularly brutal double breakup, boasts that it is completely improvised.  Here’s the funny thing about improvisation: you need actors who are good at it.

Reviews

Broken Star

The central character in Dave Schwep’s Broken Star is a young actress fallen from grace: a drug-addicted, manipulative monster.  Markey Marlowe (Crazy, Stupid, Love’s Analeigh Tipton) – a character and name that sounds like it’s come right out of a 1940s film noir – is placed on house arrest, with her only company being reclusive landlord Daryl (Tyler Labine of Mountain Men), whose grandmother has recently passed away.  Over time, Marlowe manipulates Daryl into attacking those…

Reviews

Paper Year

Fleeting moments of marital bliss is the subject of Rebecca Addelman’s Paper Year, a film that explores the tumultuous first year of marriage between two millennials living precariously in Los Angeles.  Although largely sympathetic to its central couple, Paper Year often feels like it would have more potential as a cautionary tale for young lovers trying to make it big in the entertainment industry.  Though, perhaps it is the balance between sympathy and cautionary that…

Reviews

The Commuter

The Commuter, the new film from celebrated cross-genre filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, pairs the acclaimed vulgar auteur once again with Liam Neeson (following 2011’s Unknown, 2014’s Non-Stop and 2015’s Run All Night) to deliver a thrilling high concept action film with timely yet flawed social commentary.

Reviews

The Limehouse Golem

The tagline for The Limehouse Golem boasts that its fictional Victorian London serial killer precedes the infamous Jack the Ripper.  We have yet to see a compelling cinematic take on the Ripper murders (including the Hughes Brothers’ tragically underwhelming Johnny Depp vehicle From Hell).  Though it merely draws inspiration from the Ripper, The Limehouse Golem suggests that we may have to wait a bit longer.