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Movie Reviews

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    Critics Notebook | At Slamdance, "Superheroes" and "Silver Tongues" Impress

    "The more the merrier," Robert Redford told a roomful of journalists at the beginning of the Sundance Film Festival this year. He was responding to a question about the Slamdance Film Festival, as he often must. Started in 1995 in response to Sundance's ultra-competitive submission pile, Slamdance i...

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    Sundance Review | Fighting Gang Violence in Steve James's "The Interrupters"

    Steve James's "The Interrupters" runs long, but earns its heft. Nearly two decades after "Hoop Dreams," the director returns to Chicago's lower-class strife with a broader canvas. In this frequently alarming project, he trains his camera on the efforts of CeaseFire, an organization predominantly com...

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    Sundance Review | "Son of No One" Marks a Career Low for Director Dito Montiel

    It's strange to think that just a few years ago, Dito Montiel was a Sundance darling whose sharp 2006 debut "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" announced his transition from former punk rocker to refined filmmaker. Instead of following up that deeply personal adaptation of his ow...

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    Sundance Review | Voluntary Death Takes the Spotlight in "How to Die in Oregon"

    Movies about terminal illnesses are ready-made for emotional manipulation, a fact that director Peter Richardson exploits to the fullest extent in "How to Die in Oregon," his devastating portrait of Oregonians taking advantage of the state's Death with Dignity Act. Despite assuming a one-sided persp...

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    Sundance Review | Joshua Leonard's "The Lie" Suffers From Uneven Tone

    Editor's note: This review was originally published at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. "The Lie" opens Friday.

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    Sundance Review | "Being Elmo" Studies Master of Puppets Kevin Clash

    As the simplest member of the "Sesame Street" legacy, Elmo also has the greatest lasting appeal. His childlike naivete and untroubled worldview catapulted the furry red muppet to instant fame in the 1980s, when upstart puppeteer Kevin Clash gave the character his defining traits. The subject of "Bei...

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    Sundance Review | A Wacky Roadtrip in Calvin Lee Reeder's "The Oregonian"

    Calvin Lee Reeder has been churning out intensely psychedelic short films for several years, borrowing liberally from vintage grindhouse movies while turning the genre on its head. In concise wonders like "The Farm" and "The Rambler," Reeder places his elaborate, unsettling audio-visual design on pa...

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    Sundance Review | A Cult and A Time Traveler in NEXT Entry "The Sound of My Voice"

    Notwithstanding a plot that might involve time travel and definitely involves quasi-religious indoctrination, Zal Batmanglij's directorial debut "Sound of My Voice" essentially revolves around the struggle to understand the inexplicable. Batmanglij defies conventional genre expectations with this ee...

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    Sundance Review | A Familiar Sundance Romance in "Like Crazy"

    Drake Doremus is a filmmaker born to play the Sundance game. Last year, Doremus brought his sophomore feature "Douchebag" to the festival. The movie contained a devious tale of sibling rivalry, and was shot with a shaky-cam style and semi-improvised performances, two aspects of production familiar t...

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    Sundance Review | Metaphysical Sci-Fi "Another Earth" Offers Promising Debuts

    First-time director Mike Cahill's "Another Earth" suggests Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris" by way of Aaron Katz. That unlikely combination speaks to the movie's unconventional mix of heady conceits and intimate conversations. A visually inspired fantasy mainly revolving around the doomed romance of two...

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