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Movie Reviews

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    Naughty Intentions: Bobcat Goldthwait's "World's Greatest Dad"

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

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    DIY Spirit Alive and Well in "Zombie Girl: The Movie"

    The movie brat spirit is alive and well, judging by the determination of Emily Hagins, the twelve-year-old subject of "Zombie Girl: The Movie." With the help of family, friends and a surprisingly generous grant, Hagins managed to complete a feature-length undead saga at a time when most kids are grappling with homework and puberty. Although clearly in its early stages, Hagins's vision provokes more curiosity than unintentional humor. She's not a child prodigy — nobody refers to her as the next Mozart or Spielberg — but nonetheless manages to relentlessly pursue her directorial vision. The result proves that there's no age limit on cinematic e...

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    The Way of All Flesh: Gyorgy Palfi's "Taxidermia"

    A three-course ordeal of icky sex, Olympian gluttony, and autoerotic dismemberment, Gyorgy Palfi's "Taxidermia" is consistently vile. Yet it's also a sustained, unique work of art, and well worth the mess. A triptych, the first two sections of which are based on stories by Hungarian writer Lajos Par...

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    The Valley of Indecision: Andrew Bujalski's "Beeswax"

    Over-under-articulators might be the best way to describe the characters in the films of Andrew Bujalski. This of course is also a fairly apt encapsulation of the performance approach in many of the entries in the dare-not-speak-its-name American indie movement that Bujalski unwittingly jumpstarted back in 2004 and that now includes Joe Swanberg, Aaron Katz, Lynn Shelton, and various others as its unofficial members. Yet it’s only fair to judge Bujalski’s work apart from this semi-collective, since when 2002’s word-of-mouther “Funny Ha Ha” first started making its way around people’s VCRs and DVD players (long before its limited theatrical ru...

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    Sci-fi, Futurism and Alternate Reality: "Second Skin" Scores Between Hobby and Addiction

    Juan Carlos Pineiro's "Second Skin" borrows from several contemporary movie traditions. As a portrait of hardcore online gamers, it has elements of sci-fi and futurism in its vision of an entire society based in the digital realm. But people devoted to staying up all night on a "World of Warcraft" b...

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    Life, The Movie: Bill and Turner Ross' "45365"

    Cinema vérité writ large and literal, "45365" offers a supremely detailed look at daily routines in small town America. Focusing on a huge ensemble of characters residing in Sidney, Ohio — the movie's the titular zipcode — sibling filmmakers Turner and Bill Ross capture the minutiae of a self-contained world. In a feat of virtuoso documentary editing, they offer not one slice of life but several: Here's the stone-faced judge going through the motions of his reelection campaign; there's a jaded local cop frustrated over multi-generational criminal habits; the high school football team frets over upcoming competition while patrons at the local ...

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    Even Better Than the Real Thing: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Lorna's Silence"

    Initial word from Cannes on "Lorna's Silence" generally dismissed the Dardennes' latest as a bit of comedown from the dizzy heights of international critical admiration that greeted "Rosetta," "The Son," and "L'Enfant." Even if their new film managed to eke out a Best Screenplay award (not quite the Palme, which they've won twice already), it only served to underscore the varied complaints: noirish elements, belabored transcendence, and the overall sense that the brothers, having reached some kind of pinnacle in capturing unlikely ephemeral grace amongst bottom-dwelling Belgians, had perhaps run out of steam. A screenplay award suggests wor...

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    It's About Consciousness: Louie Psihoyos's "The Cove"

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

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    Showcasing The Absurd: Armando Iannucci's 'In The Loop'

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the Sundance Film Festival

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    American Saga: "The Entrepreneur" Rides the Moneymaking Roller Coaster

    Jonathan Bricklin's "The Entrepreneur" is the "Death of a Salesman" of car movies. That's not to say it reveals the depths of character explored in Arthur Miller's classic text, but Bricklin does succeed at showing the precise mayhem of the business and the tragedy of missing the finish line. A port...

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