Debra Granik’s new film, “Leave No Trace,” adapted from the 2009 novel, My Abandonment by Peter Rock, combines elements of “Winter’s Bone” and “Stray Dog,” the young girl off the grid, the troubled veteran living with PTSD.

“Leave No Trace” is, at times, heartbreaking, but it’s also filled with glimpses of almost casual human kindness, throwaway moments of good will and inclusion piercing through what could be the bleakest of tales. Granik shows great insight into the struggles of those who choose to “opt out,” those who just want to be left alone, those who literally can’t “fit in” to the larger world. At its very best, it is an immensely moving portrait of a father and daughter who love each other, and who can’t bear to be apart. Full Review …

Sheila O’Malley,

Critic reviews

With Leave No Trace, the director Debra Granik demonstrates her gift for making cinematic spaces vibrantly, palpably alive. Full review…
Manohla Dargis, The NYTimes

It might not have the oomph of Winter’s Bone, but this is a sympathetic, affecting, beautifully realised portrait of lives lived on the margins. Full review…
Ian Freer, Empire

Well-acted and well-written, calmly presented, and moving, this drama has a ring of truth, despite its extraordinary story. Perhaps that’s because it was, after all, inspired by true events. Full review…
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media

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Isle of Dogs is a delight: funny, touching and full of heartfelt warmth and wit.

With breathtaking visuals and an uncanny eye for canine behaviour, it transposes the kid-friendly charm of The Incredible Journey to the post-apocalyptic landscapes of Mad Max via the Japanese cinema of Yasujiro Ozu, Seijun Suzuki and, most notably, Akira Kurosawa. Full Review …

Mark Kermode, The Guardian

Critic reviews

Isle of Dogs is an unforgettable sequence in Anderson’s heartfelt ode to dogs, loyalty, and the bond of friendship. Full review…
Rajeev Masand, News 18

Wes Anderson’s joyous stop-motion feature looks and sounds like nothing we’ve encountered before. Full review…
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

A winningly dippy hodgepooch of lo-fi sci-fi, band-of-outsiders adventure and the most meme-ready canine antics you’ll find outside of YouTube. Full review…
Guy Lodge, Variety

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Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar-nominated film A Fantastic Woman is a sublime study in the exalted ordeal of grief. It is also as gripping as any procedural crime thriller, and cops and police doctors do play a role. I went into a kind of alert trance watching this – in tandem with the heroine’s own weightless alienation and shock. When the screen went dark prior to running the final credits, I assumed for an instant that some small initial section had come to a close. In fact, an hour and three quarters had gone by.

It is a wonderful performance from the 28-year-old trans actor Daniela Vega: passionate, intelligent and with a certain understated dignity. She is rarely absent from the screen and Lelio’s camera seems always to be catching her character in the act of transcending loneliness, heroically defusing the internal opera of pain, rising above the thousand petty little indignities and hostilities that the world now wishes to add to the ordinary agony of her bereavement.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. Full review…

Critic reviews

Sexuality and gender identity issues are front and center in this impressive, heartfelt film, blending seamlessly with the universal themes of dignity, bigotry, and loss. Full review…
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media

A Fantastic Woman is at once a straightforward story of self-assertion and defiance and a complex study of the nuances of identity. Full review…
A.O. Scott, The NYTimes

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One of the biggest, strangest, maddest films in cinema history.

Fritz Lang’s 1927 film is a crazed futurist epic, a mythic sprawl with something of Jung and Wagner, and dystopian nightmare about a city-state built on slave labour, whose prosperity depends on suppressing a mutinous underground race whose insurrectionist rage is beginning to bubble.

Metropolis predicts the ideologies of class and race of the 20th century, and there is a perennial frisson in the way the workers’ leader Maria longs for a messianic figure who can find a middle way between the head and the heart, the bosses and the workers: he will be the Mediator, or the “Mittler” – a word that has a chilling echo with another real-life leader who at the time of Metropolis’s premiere had a few seats in the Reichstag.

The “Maschinenmensch” robot based on Maria is a brilliant eroticisation and fetishisation of modern technology and the current crisis in Dubai, whose economic boom was founded on a colossal import of globalised labour, makes Metropolis seem very contemporary. – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Inspired by the true story of Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure in 2007, The Young Offenders is a comedy road movie about best friends Conor and Jock, two inner-city teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same bum-fluff mustaches. Jock is a legendary bike thief who plays a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the bike-theft-obsessed Garda Sergeant Healy. When a drug-trafficking boat capsizes off the coast of West Cork and 61 bales of cocaine, each worth 7 million euro, are seized, word gets out that there is a bale missing. The boys steal two bikes and go on a road trip hoping to find a missing bale which they can sell so as to escape their troubled home lives….But Sergeant Healy is in hot pursuit.
– Rotten Tomatoes

Members and visitors welcome, visitors £7 on the door.
Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Countess Road, Dunbar
7:30 pm, 1hr 23mins.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated. – Rotten Tomatoes

Critics’ Reviews

Funny, brutal and breathtakingly beautiful. Two exceptionally raw lead performances, supercharged by a bold script from Martin McDonagh, could make Three Billboards this year’s Awards-upsetter. Full review
Terri White, Empire

Martin McDonagh has freighted Three Billboards with a tragedy that allows the performers — primarily Frances McDormand — to play to their range. Full review
Manohla Dargis, The NYTimes

A quirky emotional puzzle put together by a trickster poet. It’s far from a masterpiece, yet it holds you, it adds up, and it’s something to see. Full review
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Members and visitors welcome, visitors £7 on the door.
Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Countess Road, Dunbar
7:30 pm, 1hr 55mins.


Deep in the heart of New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe–a kind, hapless grocery store clerk–struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah’s death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah’s memorial. It’s his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters. – Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Reviews

Language alone will be a limiting factor in this deserving drama’s ability to find an audience, but it enhances the authenticity of documentary director Joshua Z Weinstein’s narrative debut. – Peter Debruge, Variety. Full review.

The film is worth praising for what it is and admiring for what it’s not — there’s no sappiness or false emotion, and none of the clichéd, quirky misfits who populate so many commercial comedies. – Ken Jaworowski, The NYTimes. Full review.

…For all its cultural specificity, Menashe tells a universal story about a father-son relationship. – Mark Kermode, The Guardian. Full review.

Members and visitors welcome, visitors £7 on the door.
Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Dunbar
8 pm, 1hr 21mins.

Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined. – Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Reviews

…Whatever important ideas about racial alienation this movie may be trying to illustrate, we also can’t lose sight of how it chooses to express itself—in bloody, profane ways. – Paul Asay, Plugged In. Full review.

More than just a standard-issue thriller, this brutal, smart movie is impeccably made, as well as surprising, shocking, and funny, while also offering a compassionate, thoughtful look at race. – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media. Full review.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is the satirical horror movie we’ve been waiting for, a mash-up of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and The Stepford Wives that’s more fun than either and more illuminating, too. – David Edelstein, Vulture. Full review.

Members and visitors welcome, visitors £7 on the door.
Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Dunbar
8 pm, 1hr 44mins.

In LOVELESS, Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears. – Rotten Tomatoes

Critic reviews

Come for the near-endless rows that convincingly carry the venom of a collapsed, resentful marriage; stay for the extended critique of Russia’s contemporary spiritual vacancy. – Andrew Lowry, Empire. Full review

It means to shake you. And it does. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone. Full review

Unfolding beneath skies the color and density of damp concrete, Loveless uses a toxic marriage to paint a larger portrait of decay, dereliction and moral detachment. – Jeanette Catsoulis, The NYTimes. Full review

Members and visitors welcome, visitors £7 on the door.
Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Dunbar
8 pm, 2hrs 9mins.
Russian with English subtitles.

I just realised I only saved August’s post as a draft, so it was never published in the time for the film.

My bad! I publish it now to complete the historical record.

I will proceed from here to create posts for the rest of this year’s films, which will automagically appear after the previous film has finished.

Your pal, Paul M. at the DFS.