Over the course of their five non-fiction features, Redmon and Sabin have demonstrated a tremendous ability to convey social problems with a straightforward véríte approach. At the same time, the duo -- credited for shooting and editing their films as well as directing them -- infuse most scenes with provocative imagery that transcends the specifics of the scenario.
It turns out the "lesbian werewolf" hype was an extreme misnomer, but the beast that Diane imagines for herself represents her psychological instability to an excessively cryptic effect, and looks fearsome enough to legitimize her frustrations. One might call it Grey's "Requiem for a Dream," but that overstates its significance. "Jack and Diane" showcases a terrific filmmaker tripping over his own daunting material.
"Journet to Planet X"
Because Swain and Bernier aren't career-oriented filmmakers, "Journey to Planet X" is an ode to the value of hobbies. It just happens that this hobby involves absurd sci-fi ingredients and terrible green screen effects, although "Journey to Planet X" never portrays the project in a derogatory manner. The directors' commitment to their filmmaking as an escape from the mundane suburban reality that consumes the rest of their days recalls the medieval role players in "Darkon," while the commitment to the process against all odds imbues the documentary with shades of "American Movie."
"Keep the Lights On"
On a most basic level, the movie begs comparison to last year's breakout queer drama, "Weekend." Certainly "Keep the Lights On" maintains a similarly mournful quality, but it whereas "Weekend" portrayed two men falling in love in spite of their divergent philosophies, Sachs emphasizes his characters' struggle to maintain a commitment that may have run it course.
"Lola Versus" deserves the bulk of the ire being misdirected at the new HBO series "Girls," which at least deals with its overprivileged young white urbanities in a (some might say radically) self-aware fashion. By comparison, even when "Lola Versus" nails that sense of free-falling in the wake of a lifestyle shake-up, it's inoffensively familiar. Funny moments abound, but it never strays from predictability. With its blasé resolution and a tidy lineup of sitcom-ready characters, the best thing one can say about "Lola Versus" is that it successfully underwhelms.
Competently shot to accentuate the uncomfortable tone, it never earns its dedication to making Paul so utterly despicable, although Semans ably constructs his anti-hero's worldview in a way that makes it difficult to realize the limitations of his perspective until the very end.
First-time director Thurman avoids the trappings of didactic filmmaking by rooting his issue-driven movie in entertaining personalities and an engaging visual style that contrasts lovely images of Texas nature with the darker qualities of the feuds at hand. Despite the regional nature of the movie, the conversations threaded throughout the movie echo larger divisions in society, allowing "The Revisionaries" to address vast educational concerns with a broad philosophical scope.
For those unfamiliar with Karpovsky's work, "Rubberneck" only works as a generally watchable, sometimes confounding genre exercise. Karpovsky emulates Hitchcock with a lot more restraint than Brian DePalma brought in his prime. But while the movie suffers from a dry and ponderous first hour, it quietly builds velocity for its compelling finale, including a "Psycho"-like revelation that redefines everything from before.
"Supporting Characters" struggles with the issue of whether Nick deserves to sort out his issues or simply cope with them once they blow up in his face. By the end, it's clear that he's only the smartest guy in the room because he insists on it; the illusion fades whenever someone else speaks up. That's the essence of Karpovsky's best work.
"The World Before Her"
As a conversation starter, "The World Before Her" gets the job done. By virtue of the topic and interviews, Pahuja showcases plenty of tensions between old world values and idealistic goals. That's hardly enough to make its narrative persistently alluring or emotionally sound.
If "Yossi and Jagger" explored the restrictive framework of Israeli society, its reverberations have been interiorized by the star of the sequel. It's as if the first movie plays on an endless loop in his mind until someone finally rescues him from the void. Yossi's salvation comes from the progress around him. Although more advanced to have purely symbolic value, Yossi is nevertheless an eloquent representation of Israeli society coming to terms with itself.
"Your Sister's Sister"
While not an unbridled crowdpleaser on par with "Humpday," this smaller achievement is endearing for other reasons.