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Movie Reviews

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    Unholy Redeemer: Erick Zonca's "Julia"

    "Julia" is your typical tale of redemption, even as it thrashes against the sentimentality such a designation implies. As fearlessly played by Tilda Swinton -- so often cast in roles for her androgynous appeal or otherworldly, reptilian bloodlessness, but here afforded leeway to get down and dirty -- the titular protagonist is a full-blooded human yet completely unsympathetic at first. Self-destructive Julia sees herself as mere victim of a shitty world, refusing to take responsibility for her woes. Everything about the woman is abrasive, from her garish red hair and purple coat to her inebriated come-ons and morning-after put-offs. At the s...

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    Burden of Dreams: Atom Egoyan's "Adoration"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    A Wet Dream For Horror Fans: Ti West's "House of The Devil"

    Ti West's "The House of the Devil" is a wet dream for horror fans, but that should not limit its audience. The classical structure slowly builds tension before erupting into a decisively gory finish, harkening back to a smarter and more nuanced era of spooky storytelling. West's last feature, the hi...

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    Into the Woods: Götz Spielmann's "Revanche"

    As cinematic revenge-seekers go, Johannes Krisch’s Alex, the protagonist of Götz Spielmann's “Revanche,” is something of an anomaly. If the signature gesture of Lee Marvin's character, Walker, in John Boorman's “Point Blank” is his bloody-minded march toward personal satisfaction, and if that of Mic...

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Marshall Curry's "Racing Dreams"

    "If I'm not not racing, I'm not happy," says one of the adolescent drivers in Marshall Curry's "Racing Dreams." Of course, an eleven year old's perception of happiness tends to rely on the whims of the surrounding environment, and the speedy realm of the racetrack can certainly make the the rest of the world look boring. Curry, the Academy Award-nominated director of "Street Fight," inspects the forces behind this obsession by finding the starting point with a handful of North Carolina youth as they compete for the National Championship of the World Karting Association. While many of the young, enthusiastic subjects remain subservient to thei...

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    Show and Tell: Deirdre Allen Timmons's "A Wink and a Smile"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Mission Impassable: Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's "Soundtrack for a Revolution"

    The concept behind "Soundtrack for a Revolution" is both a means and end at once. In this competent survey of African American folk music in the civil rights movement, directors Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman pair reminiscences with recreation, but it's never quite the transcendent aural experience suggested by the two-pronged premise. While interviewees such as Harry Belafonte and John Lewis recall gripping -- and often quite harrowing -- anecdotes from their countless protests at the behest of Martin Luther King, the filmmakers frequently cut to studio performances of classic songs from the period performed by contemporary artists, includin...

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Bradley Rust Gray's "The Exploding Girl"

    With "The Exploding Girl," director Bradley Rust Gray upgrades the routine not-quite-platonic love story with a magnificent sense of visual clarity. The predictable aspects of the plot are masked by an infectious lyricism: Soft spoken college kid Ivy (Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of Elia) hangs out with her friend Al (Mark Rendall) over the course of a summer break in New York. The two have known each other since middle school, creating the sort of close bond in which they laugh off the notion of sharing deeper feelings for each other, but only a hint of nervousness. Ivy's disinterested boyfriend exists only in recurring phone calls, so that his ...

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Woody Allen's "Whatever Works"

    Marked by interchangeably trite and witty dialogue, "Whatever Works" is the definition of a minor Woody Allen movie. The director's triumphant return to New York City after several years of European excursions finds him in familiar, if not exemplary, form. Most people on the Allen bandwagon will likely view this outing as a charming mediocrity. The decision to cast "Seinfeld" creator and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Larry David in the standard "Woody" role, of course, forms a theoretical match made in heaven. In practice, however, David's neurotic insanity generally works just well enough to smooth over the awkward gaps in this half-baked plot...

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