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Reviews

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    REVIEW | Blood Brothers: "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

    Ken Loach's camera pans and tilts its way through "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," as though its wandering gaze is in search of a fixed center, adrift in a world of shifting allegiances and gruesome violence. The off-the-cuff naturalism of Loach's technique proves something of a blessing here, blu...

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    REVIEW | Pleasure Island : Jean-Claude Brisseau's "The Exterminating Angels"

    "One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again." -Thomas Paine

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    REVIEW | Louder Than Bombs: Phillip Groning's "Into Great Silence"

    Much of the discussion surrounding "Into Great Silence," detailing the daily rituals of the monks inhabiting the Grand Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps, is sure to focus on how Phillip Groning's nearly three-hour documentary provides a window into a rarely seen spiritual world. It does perfo...

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    REVIEW | The Song Remains the Same: Michael Apted's "Amazing Grace"

    Contrary to what its title suggests, "Amazing Grace" isn't really about the origins of the immortal Christian hymn. Neither is it, directly, about the British slave trade. Instead it's about the tireless campaign of William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament, to abolish the slave trade in the late 18...

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    REVIEW | Britplop: Tom Vaughan's "Starter for 10"

    Though bolstered considerably by the fully engaged star performance of James McAvoy (whose magnetism was trammeled by the hideous racial politicking of "The Last King of Scotland"), Tom Vaughan's Brit college comedy "Starter for 10" is weighed down by something of an identity crisis. An Eighties thr...

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    REVIEW | Law & Order: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Bamako"

    When Hollywood's response to the myriad crises plaguing the African continent is to churn out well-meaning issue pictures that are little more than low-rent action narratives grafted onto exoticized, strife-ridden African settings (see: "Catch a Fire," "Blood Diamond"), films like "Bamako" become al...

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    REVIEW | In the Middle: Dalia Hager and Vidi Bilu's "Close to Home"

    A barely perceptible atmosphere of dread hangs over the Israeli film "Close to Home." Co-written and directed by Dalia Hager and Vidi Bilu, the film has an intimate, almost slight feel to it, and features two young protagonists who are mostly concerned with the rather banal business of early adultho...

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    REVIEW | Aftermath: Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica: Land of My Dreams"

    Jasmila Zbanic's feature debut, "Grbavica: Land of My Dreams" is unpretentious enough to address its subject matter, the shattered lives of postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina, with serious, grounded realism, but it's also too unimaginative to think of its central mother-daughter struggle in anything but the...

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    REVIEW | A Wink and a Smile: Daniele Thompson's "Avenue Montaigne"

    I doubt that anyone will ever match the balanced stridency and sentimentality that Jonathan Richman's song "Give Paris One More Chance" manages as a bursting, corny catalog of everything right about "the home of Piaf and Chevalier," but "Avenue Montaigne" takes a crack. The film's helmed by Daniele ...

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    REVIEW | Echo Chamber: Nina Toussaint and Massimo Iannetta's "The Decomposition of the Soul"

    In Nina Toussaint and Massimo Iannetta's documentary "The Decomposition of the Soul" two ex-inmates of Berlin-Hohenschonhausen, one of the most infamous Stasi prisons of East Germany, revisit the site of their incarceration. Sigrid Paul was arrested for harboring escapees from the Soviet zone, and o...

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