Seventh Row

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Zombi Child (2019) B. P. Flanagan It feels like the first act of a slasher film, where the biggest incidents are white school friend Fanny's increasing, exoticised interest in Mélissa. Fanny believes Mélissa has some Voodoo tradition that can help her win back a lost love. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Paddington 2 (2017) Orla Smith Paul King made a thrilling, funny, heartwarming film with Paddington 2, one that easily outclasses its predecessor. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Timbuktu (2014) Alex Heeney As the story of a cross-section of the people living under the occupation of misogynistic Islamist extremists, you might expect Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu to be bleak . It's the opposite. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Wadjda (2012) Alex Heeney For years, aspiring feminists had Jo March; now, we have Wadjda. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Tomboy (2011) Orla Smith For much of the film, Mikhael is prevailingly happy. They have no label for their new gender presentation, and perhaps it's too early to define it, although as an adult, modern audience we may see them as trans or non-binary. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Support the Girls (2018) Orla Smith Leaving the cinema after Support the Girls, I felt different. I looked at the people around me differently, with a keener sense of empathy. The world felt somehow warmer. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) Orla Smith Desiree Akhavan's first film, Appropriate Behaviour, was a ramshackle joy, and her follow-up, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, is even better. Already, Akhavan seems to have come into her own as a filmmaker. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Enough Said (2013) Alex Heeney Holofcener finds the comedy in mid-life troubles without exploiting or making light of them, or being too bleak, and in so doing creates a very realistic portrait of a group of adults on the brink of major changes. [TOP 50 OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) Orla Smith Sils Maria is the ultimate hangout movie. Maybe when I say hangout movie you think of Richard Linklater or Kevin Smith, but I'd take Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche spending quality time on a mountain over those any day. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Private Life (2018) Orla Smith The time and effort Jenkins puts into her projects shows in every detail. Besides having three perfect performances, Jenkins' direction of fertility drama Private Life looks effortlessly perfect. [TOP 50 FILMS OF THE DECADE] EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Dreams of a Life (2011) Orla Smith It's a film that causes you to reflect on your own life. If I died, how long would it take for me to be found? Who would come looking for me first? But it's also a reflection on the unknowability of other people. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
() B. P. Flanagan Zonana's righteous anger doesn't manifest in hand-wringing. Rather, in the Neo-Realist tradition, it's greed and hubris that results in tragedy: the Greek Gods here being the capitalist system which forces its denizens always to aim upwards. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
The Whistlers (2019) B. P. Flanagan What makes the film linger in the mind is the sadness at the characters' lack of awareness; they fit so snugly into archetypes, but they're never aware enough to say "Hey, I'm in a movie!" EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Talking About Trees (2019) B. P. Flanagan Director Suhaib Gasmelbari depicts their struggle to screen films in Khartoum, get the right paperwork in, and just hang out. They just want to hold a screening of Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012). Lower-tier Tarantino could be a signal of liberation. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (2019) B. P. Flanagan Bertrand Bonello's films divide. They often take two simultaneous ideological stances on hot-button issues, operating like an essay, each scene a counterargument to the previous one. ...With his latest, Zombi Child..Bonello turns to race EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (2019) Alex Heeney With Making Waves, Midge Costin does something similar for sound in cinema [as Side by Side did for digital filmmaking], charting its history and innovations, many of which were tied to major sci-fi blockbusters. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
MS Slavic 7 (2019) Justine Smith Intimate and reflective, [MS Slavic 7] examines the threads that bind us to our family histories. What happens when those lines are frayed? What place do we have within that lineage? EDIT
Posted Oct 25, 2019
Dolor y gloria (2019) B. P. Flanagan In Pain and Glory, Almodovar brings together fiction and biography to create a knotty self-portrait...[It is] the latest chapter in what has become an autobiography of anxieties and obsessions. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
Bacurau (2019) Alex Heeney Much of the pleasure of Bacurau is the deliberate precision with which Mendonça Filho and Dornelles slowly build up this tension. We see the signs of violence -- bullet holes in the water truck, a too-quiet town -- before we see the blood. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
() Orla Smith Frida uses her physicality to show how uncomfortable Mirjam feels, shifting her limbs and holding herself awkwardly. You can tell she'd do anything to get away from here, but she doesn't know how or what 'away' even means. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
Marriage Story (2019) Orla Smith The characters in the film are angry and bitter, but Marriage Story, is not bitter but confessional -- apologetic, even...What results is a grueling but ultimately optimistic film about the horrors of divorce and how hard it is to...move on. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2019
Judy (2019) Alex Heeney The film is often about how much Judy The Legendary Performer is something other people constructed, while Judy Garland is a regular woman with regular concerns: bills to pay, children to feed... Zellweger's performance toys with this dichotomy, too. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2019
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Alex Heeney Céline Sciamma's gorgeous, heart-wrenching Portrait of a Lady on Fire screened on the first day of TIFF, and it became the gold standard by which I evaluated all other films. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2019
() Alex Heeney Ema is a bizarre, colourful, pulsing, bonkers, and utterly invigorating cinematic experience. Part melodrama, part dance film, it defies categorization and even explanation: like dance itself, it has to be experienced to be understood. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
() B. P. Flanagan Meddeb captures a chorus of voices expressing anxiety, friendship, history. Paris Stalingrad's purpose seems not to presume to change things with her filmmaking as much as to capture the stories that took place within this period. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
() B. P. Flanagan Shot for maximum impact, between the lurid color, wild plot turns, and thumping, party-ready soundtrack -- The Lost Okoroshi has the potential to cross over to a wider, youth-oriented audience. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
() B. P. Flanagan The clinical cinematography almost operates like The Terminator's viewfinder. It's chilling filmmaking, with suspenseful tones on the piano soundtrack and an unending nasty feeling to the whole affair. EDIT
Posted Sep 20, 2019
Made in Bangladesh (2019) Brett Pardy Made in Bangladesh never sugar coats the near-insurmountable obstacles Shimu and her fellow workers face...[the] mix scenes of Shimu coming up against barriers with scenes of her achieving small successes ensures the film never feels hopeless. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Proxima (2019) Orla Smith Scenes of Sarah at work reveal just how much happiness she finds in her job: in these joyful sequences, Winocour's camera is particularly mobile, and Ryuichi Sakamoto's gorgeous score swells with a sense of feverish excitement. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Orla Smith Rahimi's film is a heart-breaking look at the corruption of innocence: breathtaking cinematography and a sprightly jazz-infused score bring out how sweet that innocence was, so it's all the more devastating to see it cruelly snatched away. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Brett Pardy Tseden is never preachy, playing this conflict out in softly observed vignettes; the plot often slips to focus instead on the emotional ripples of the conflict's emotional aftermath. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Kuessipan (2019) Orla Smith Verreault's filmmaking is skillful and briskly paced, especially in its tightly edited first act...It's a coming-of-age story that stands out from the pack for its soulfulness. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019) Brett Pardy The film's real time nature allows us to experience how the mundane ways people interact, such as the questions Áila asks in an attempt to get to know Rosie, help shape the ways in which people come to understand each other. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Alex Heeney Tamar Shavgulidze's quiet, lovely Comets is a film about memory, missed opportunities, and lost loves. At just 71-minutes, it's short and sweet, but packs an emotional punch thanks to strong performances. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Hala (2019) Orla Smith Baig's film is an introspective character study that's best in its quieter sequences. Viswanathan's insight into the character of Hala and Baig's knack for bringing that out cinematically make [...a...] wise and contemplative film. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Clemency (2019) Orla Smith Clemency is a harrowing death-row drama...[which] reckons with how people in power are enabled by laws and institutions to make choices they might otherwise deem immoral. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger (2019) Brett Pardy As in many of her best films, Obomsawin explores the effect of abstract political rules and dull bureaucracy on real people's lives...This is a perfect film to introduce international audiences to Obomsawin's activist cinema. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Orla Smith Though Lina from Lima is largely a realist drama, occasionally, Lina's drab world will explode into flamboyant song and dance. These sequences are over-the-top and fun, as if out of a film much soapier than the one we're watching. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Alex Heeney Sarah Gavron's chaotic and energetic new feature, Rocks, captures the indomitable spirit of the 15-year-old girl who gives the film its name, as well as her London group of friends. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Corpus Christi (2019) Alex Heeney Shot in icy blues, greens, and greys, this is a harsh, sad world with no happy endings... Yet Komasa finds humour in this premise, creating a wise satire of not just the church but the way people use their beliefs to justify their own bad behaviour. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Hope (2017) Alex Heeney Søhdal tenderly depicts a marriage that is indeed a strong partnership, with years of built-up intimacies, and yet also how that relationship can be stifling, in part because of gendered expectations. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Alex Heeney Murmur ...[follows] a solitary middle-aged protagonist, Donna (Shan MacDonald)[, who] starts working at an animal rescue, and ends up taking many of the animals home to fill the companionship void in her life. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Mouthpiece (2018) Alex Heeney The best movie of the year, Mouthpiece, is Canadian, set in Toronto, and written and directed by women and about women... The dual performance...allows them to represent two sides of a complex woman who is constantly in conflict with herself. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Peterloo (2018) Alex Heeney Mike Leigh's Peterloo is a rare story about the fight for a fairer democracy: one of carnage rather than triumph, one that ends with tragedy and unfinished labour rather than success and social change. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
The Souvenir (2019) Orla Smith Hogg's signature precise framing has never been a more effective cinematic tool, with Julie drifting further toward centre frame as her story progresses. The Souvenir is a meticulous piece of work worthy of the discussion and dissection. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Wild Nights With Emily (2018) Orla Smith Wild Nights...acknowledges the overwhelming evidence that Dickinson...was a queer woman...[Madeleine Olnek's] Dickinson is full of life: she's prickly, but also funny and, of course, gloriously intelligent -- all is true of Olnek's film, too. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
() Alex Heeney Throughout, Noura weathers every indignation quietly, not because she's unwilling to fight for herself, but because she's picking her battles. In this world where men reign, and rarely leave Noura's frame, the only way to survive is to play the game. EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
Rocketman (2019) Alex Heeney The film's framing device was a neat idea, though poorly executed...It wasn't a good sign that I spent much of Rocketman thinking about how incredibly talented and underused Jamie Bell is. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
Late Night (2019) Alex Heeney Unfortunately, Late Night has little to offer beyond Thompson's wardrobe, and of course Thompson herself. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
Vita & Virginia (2018) Alex Heeney The film's greatest strength is as a showcase for Debicki, one of the most talented actresses working today, who perfectly embodies Woolf's genius and vulnerability. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019