With the radiant The Stories We Tell, actress, writer and director Sarah Polley breaks into even new territory: the personal documentary. The result is an absolute triumph.
Review: Gimme the Loot
First-time writer-director Adam Leon's Gimme the Lootis about teenage graffiti artists (which is to say, vandals) who smoke and sell weed, commit numerous petty thefts, attempt a burglary, and swear like sailors. They're the type of kids you'd at least disapprove of if you saw them on the street, and possibly actively avoid. And yet pound for pound, Gimme the Loot is every bit as charming and joyful as it is profane.
Gimme the Loot is currently playing in limited release. Read Eric D. Snider's review.
Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
In Mina Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a bright, Princeton-educated Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) comes to realize that over-emphasizing the fundamental principles of any endeavor can lead to a rigid, black-and-white view of things that's too reductive to be useful in the real world. The film, adapted from Mohsin Hamid's novel, is valuable as well-intentioned dramatic entertainment, even if its examination of a foreigner's complicated feelings about America is rather superficial. Read Eric D. Snider's review.
Terence Nance writes, directs and acts in the truly independent film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Eric D. Snider is both charmed and impressed by the filmmaker's singular vision and the romance depicted on the screen.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is currently playing in limited release. Read our review.
Director Jeff Nichols' (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter ) third movie, set in his home state of Arkansas and filmed on the Mississippi River, is a coming of age story inspired by Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Matthew McConaughey stars as Mud, a rough, mysterious man-on-the run who is discovered by two boyhood friends. Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepard co-star.
Mud is currently playing in theaters. Read Jessica Pallington West's review.
Screening at Tribeca: Big Joy
Directed by the marvelous team of Stephen Silha, Eric Slade and Dawn Logdson, Big Joy - The Adventures of James Broughton is a loving and deeply felt tribute to a complex and fascinating person. It's also an absolute joy to watch. The film has been screening to rave reviews at SXSW, the Florida Film Festival (where it was awarded Best Documentary) and is currently screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Read Marcy's review of Big Joy.
Review: To The Wonder
Terrence Malik's new film To The Wonder has the aura of something insightful and beautiful ... but only the aura. The film is told almost entirely in voice-over, with very little onscreen dialogue. Ben Affleck stars as Neil, an American, who meets and marries a French woman, Marina (Olga Kurylenko), who already had a young daughter. Their rapturous relationship is tested upon their return to Oklahoma, where Neil reconnects with woman from his adolescence (Rachel McAdams).
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle's (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) latest film, Trance, seamlessly blends gritty heist film with psychological thriller. That is, until final expository revelations drag the film into a quagmire of cheap, disappointing answers. James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson star in this disappointing new film. Beck Ireland reviews.
Review: Simon Killer
After his much lauded debut Afterschool, Antonio Campos' returns with Simon Killer. The film, an erotic psychological drama, is not nearly as thrilling as its title suggests, but intriguing in the way it boldly offers for our examination its sociopath protagonist. Brady Corbet stars. Simon Killer is currently playing in theaters. Read Eric D. Snider's review.
Directed and co-written by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine ), The Place Beyond the Pines is a brooding drama of epic scope. Set in the New York town of Schenectady, the film features a starring performance by Ryan Gosling as a tattooed, perpetually dirty stunt motorcyclist in a traveling carnival circus, who decides to stay in town when he learns an old fling (Eva Mendes) has had his child.
Film critic Eric D. Snider pronounces filmmaker Cianfrance one to watch. The Place Beyond the Pines is currently in theaters. Read our review.