Little Men 3

Get ready, one of the most heart-rending movies of 2016 may be Little Men. It’s one of those films that will hit you like a ton of bricks with a final, subtle scene that encapsulates a somber sort of loss that is sadder in its seeming lack of significance. It’s just one moment that captures a change that no one wanted but no one could prevent. That director Ira Sachs (who co-wrote the script with Mauricio Zacharias) captures the moment with no sentiment and a brutal matter-of-factness will rip the rug from right under you.

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There are few things today as ubiquitous as the internet. Our daily lives are sorted and stored online in a variety of ways, and we have become dependent on electronic information. Whether this interaction between humans and the connected world we have created is good or bad is an open question that invites many interpretations. In Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, the German philosopher/director Werner Herzog probes the depths of this relationship through a series of chapters that explore this cyber connectedness. One the one hand, he notes, the great potential and advances in scientific discovery that are beneficial to humankind. On the other, Herzog walks us through the part of the human realm that is lost or changed through this relationship.

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Tonight, Evolution, the sci-fi/horror hybrid by French writer/director Lucile Hadzihalilovic will have its Florida premiere at the Second Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival (Our review: Evolution skips clear narrative to create waking nightmare of body horror — a Popcorn Frights film review). Earlier this week, The Miami New Times published an interview I conducted with the filmmaker (read it here), but so much had to be trimmed out, like why did it take Hadzihalilovic 10 years to follow-up Innocence? We also spoke about the film’s strange, surreal tone and why a straight narrative doesn’t always make for the best horror movie.

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The directorial feature debut by American writer/actor Brady Corbet offers an arcane psychological portrait of a little boy who grows up to become a fascist leader. The storytelling of The Childhood of a Leader is spare and counts on the empathy and patience of the viewer, as Corbet keeps the inner world of this child obscured behind a physical performance by newcomer and British child actor Tom Sweet. The film focuses on behavior, especially punishment and a clear lack of love surrounding the boy, which is accentuated beyond words and exposition by an oppressive atmosphere of darkened interiors and a grim orchestral, sometimes cacophonous, score by English musician Scott Walker.

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Too often, mainstream American horror movies strain to explain circumstances to get to the bottom of a mystery, which often saps an important element of fear of the unknown from a picture. Sometimes the genre is better served by defying logic and rationale to play with fear on a more primal level. With her new film Evolution, French writer-director Lucile Hadzihalilovic builds horror on atmosphere, absurdity and the dread of the unknown.

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It’s been a long time since a jump scare has genuinely grabbed me and left me unnerved in the pit of my guts the way Iranian writer-director Babak Anvari succeeded with his patiently executed and thought-provoking debut feature Under the Shadow. This carefully crafted movie will have its Florida premiere at this year’s second annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival (Tickets for Florida’s premiere horror movie fest Popcorn Frights on sale today; a chat with the fest’s creators), and it’s bound to be a surprise hit of the festival. It’s also one of those rare horror films that crosses over in appeal to fans of foreign language cinema, as it doesn’t overdo the cheap scares with gore and harbors an insightful connection to a particular culture and history, in the case Iran of the late 1980s.

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Jorge Fuembuena

The Bride (La Novia) is based on the famous play “Bodas de sangre” by Federico García Lorca, retold through the eyes of Spanish writer-director Paula Ortiz, who is able to bring out the female perspective in this tragic love triangle, albeit with mixed results cinematically. In The Bride, a threesome of two boys and a girl meet as youngsters in a remote, desert town. The three strike a friendship that marks their lives, as one of them later is to be married to this young girl while she pines for the other.

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