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Reviews

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    REVIEW | Seeing Is Believing: Errol Morris's "Standard Operating Procedure"

    Often when it comes to Errol Morris, the more you see, the less you know. Some documentarians aim to answer and resolve, but Morris is almost too content to leave us adrift in ambiguity, regardless of the political, moral, and epistemological repercussions. After a New York Film Festival screening o...

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    REVIEW | I'll Be Seeing You: Vadim Perelman's "The Life Before Her Eyes"

    Diana and Maureen are in the girls' room, gossiping about boys and bio between classes, when shots ring out. It's the sound of an assault rifle wielded by Michael Patrick, the school nerd, on a violent, Columbine-like rampage. How do we know? "Yesterday in trig he told me he was going to bring a gun...

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    REVIEW | Growth Factor: Sue Williams's "Young & Restless in China"

    With the controversial Beijing Olympics just around the corner, the eyes of the world continue to attentively watch the rapid and profound changes taking place in the social, cultural, and environmental life of China, currently staking a claim as the global market's most powerful economy. "Young & R...

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    REVIEW | Strange Fascination: Ari Libsker's "Stalags"

    Many Americans have never heard about the Stalag fiction phenomenon; Ari Libsker's short but valuable documentary, simply titled "Stalags," makes for a troubling, though thoughtful, introduction. Stalags constituted a genre of cheap exploitation novels that briefly thrived in Israel in the early Six...

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    REVIEW | Weird Science: Shi-Zheng Chen's "Dark Matter"

    "Dark Matter" begins with a shot of Meryl Streep practicing tai chi, and therein lies a precise encapsulation of the film's attitude toward the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures. In its 90-minute duration, the film grapples with a number of weighty themes: the origins of the universe, the...

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    REVIEW | Compassion Play: Tom McCarthy's "The Visitor"

    Tom McCarthy's surprise indie hit "The Station Agent" was something of a minor miracle. A touching, big-hearted character study propelled by three vibrant performances, "The Station Agent" distinguished itself with its sensitivity and grace, qualities sorely lacking in an independent film culture th...

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    REVIEW | Old Joy: Stephen Walker's "Young @ Heart"

    Can rock music and colostomy bags mix? (Insert your own hilarious "Shine a Light" joke here.) The subject of Stephen Walker's new documentary is Farmingham, Massachusetts' "Young @ Heart" chorus, a 24-member group with several international tours under its belt. The singers' median age, we're inform...

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    REVIEW | Such Great Heights: Hou Hsiao-hsien's "The Flight of the Red Balloon"

    Like his 2004 film "Cafe Lumiere," Hou Hsiao-hsien's sublime new movie "The Flight of the Red Balloon" finds the director in a foreign country paying homage to another filmmaker. With "Lumiere," Yasujiro Ozu was Hou's reference point and Tokyo his canvas; here, Hou reimagines Albert Lamorisse's clas...

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    REVIEW | Tuckered Out: David Schwimmer's "Run Fatboy Run"

    Since the "chick flick" moniker continues to stick, it's only fair that male-targeted incarnations of the romantic comedy receive an equally derogatory nickname now that they're all the rage. I nominate "dick flicks" over David Denby's more diplomatic "slacker striver romance" designation -- certai...

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    REVIEW | Wistful Thinking: Morgan Neville's "The Cool School"

    "The Cool School" is one of a subset of documentary biographies that might best be called "Scenes of Yesteryear." Like the recent "Weather Underground," "Commune," and "American Hardcore"--whose respective subjects include radical terrorists, hippie collectives, and indigenous, anticommercial punk r...

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