Subtle Undercurrents Run Through Arthouse Dramas 'Domain' and 'Certified Copy'
Published 6/6/2012 at 11:46 a.m. 0 comments
Domain, Patric Chiha’s debut feature, has its facile moments, but Beatrice Dalle’s forceful yet contained performance runs like a third rail through the director’s patient storytelling, unobstrusively energizing everything around it.
HBO's 'Girls' Isn't the New 'Sex and the City' (Yet)
Published 5/23/2012 at 3:03 p.m. 0 comments
Mumblecore Sex and the City—that’s an easy way to describe HBO’s new series Girls, but it’s also an accurate one. Critics can talk about the show’s creator, 25-year-old Lena Dunham, as being the new voice of her generation, but the ...
New Documentary Celebrates the Low-Budget Art of Exploitation Maestro Roger Corman
Published 5/2/2012 at 10:46 a.m. 0 comments
By the mid-’50s, Corman was scraping up tiny budgets for lurid horror films such as It Conquered the Earth and Attack of the Crab Monsters, which he would shoot in days (usually less than a week) and then dump into ...
'House of Pleasures' and 'Sleeping Beauty' Consider the World's Oldest Profession
Published 4/18/2012 at 11:47 a.m. 0 comments
If there’s anything the movies love more than a hitman, it’s a hooker. It sometimes seems that the oldest profession is one of the most common professions onscreen, a blank canvas for filmmakers to smear with their notions about women, ...
Men Obsessed: Three New Documentaries Demonstrate the High Price of Excellence
Published 4/4/2012 at 11:16 a.m. 0 comments
Everybody knows Elmo. Everybody loves Elmo. (C’mon, even if he gets on your nerves, you can’t really hate him.) But nobody knows anything about the man behind Elmo, or at least they didn’t until filmmaker Constance Marks’ documentary Being Elmo: ...
Lars Von Trier Destroys the World in 'Melancholia'
Published 3/21/2012 at 11:14 a.m. 0 comments
As is typical of the Danish writer/director Lars Von Trier's mature work, Melancholia is masterful, visually sumptuous, surprising, and provocative. But as has been typical of Trier’s work all along, it boasts its share of distracting idiosyncrasies.
Questioning Reality With 'World on a Wire' and 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'
Published 3/7/2012 at 10:07 a.m. 0 comments
In 1999, The Matrix wowed audiences with its action, its futuristic look, and its vision of the world as a controlling digital construct put in place by a superior power. If critics and viewers failed to make the connection between ...
'Project Nim' and "The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence): Two Grim New Portraits of Our Species
Published 2/22/2012 at 11:35 a.m. 0 comments
In 1973, a linguist named Herbert Terrace adopted an infant chimpanzee from a research lab in Oklahoma. “Adopted” is perhaps too neutral a term, though. As director James Marsh’s recent documentary Project Nim (Lions Gate DVD and streaming) reveals, he ...
'Higher Ground' Offers Sensitive Drama About Faith; 'The Woman' Serves Up Cheap Thrills
Published 2/8/2012 at 11:12 a.m. 0 comments
If you’re Meryl Streep, you get asked to play Margaret Thatcher. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of other actresses in Hollywood, you most often get asked to play a wife, a mom, a girlfriend, a best friend, ...
'Essential Killing' and 'Hell and Back Again' Tackle a Tricky Subject: America's Wars in the Middle East
Published 1/25/2012 at 10:24 a.m. 0 comments
More reactionary American viewers will no doubt have a hard time with aspects of Essential Killing. Not only are a number of Americans/Westerners killed, but live Americans are typically portrayed as callous brutes fond of drugs and thudding bro metal—the ...
'Blackthorn' and 'Warrior' Revive Classic Hollywood Genres
Published 1/11/2012 at 10:56 a.m. 0 comments
The Western has been dying for more than 40 years, and maybe as a result, many of the best films in the genre in that time have an elegiac quality. Spanish writer/director Mateo Gil extends the long swan song with ...
Best of 2011: DVD
Published 12/28/2011 at 12:00 p.m. 0 comments
Our critic picks the best home video of the year.
Going Out on a Limb With 'The Future' and 'Tucker and Dale vs. Evil'
Published 12/14/2011 at 10:21 a.m. 0 comments
The Future is an intimate drama as well as a quirkfest. Miranda July captures the frustration of finding yourself in an ordinary life, and for all the film’s magic realism, the relationships feel real.
'Bellflower' and 'Putty Hill' Announce a New Generation of Indie Filmmakers
Published 11/30/2011 at 11:58 a.m. 0 comments
If you pay attention to the flood of little movies that spew forth from smaller distributors every year, sifting through the shameless exploitation, self-impressed indies, and genre rehashes, every now and then you spot something new. Not just newly released, ...
'Magic Trip' and 'Going Places': On the Road With Ken Kesey and Gerard Depardieu
Published 11/16/2011 at 10:43 a.m. 0 comments
Magic Trip manages the neat trick of offering a scrupulously coherent narrative of an unhinged time, while also visually exemplifying that deranged quality.