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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Straight Talk: Stewart Wade's "Coffee Date"

    Intermittently charming and often tedious, "Coffee Date" is another in the endless line of low-budget, gay-themed, goodhearted sitcoms that dot the nether regions of the film landscape. Much as a film like Stewart Wade's can be derided for its lack of craft, visual ambition, and recycled narrative of sexual identity crisis, it also can't be denied that as a genre the marginalized gay indie, with its limited release pattern and eventual DVD and cable boon, is one of the strongest standing bastions of true independent American cinema. "Coffee Date" works on the same level as its brethren, and just barely stands out from the pack, save for its c...

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    REVIEW | Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim's "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story"

    To chart the unusual case of a 13-year-old Japanese girl who went missing in 1977, filmmakers Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim take a slightly different approach to the typical talking-heads documentary. Segueing at about the halfway mark from exotic expose to human interest story, the careful construc...

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    REVIEW | Eastern Western: Wisit Sasanatieng's "Tears of the Black Tiger"

    Better late than never, Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng's pink-and-aquamarine western "Tears of the Black Tiger" finally arrives in U.S. theaters nearly six years after it first premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Shelved by Miramax, dropped by The Weinstein Co. and now rescued f...

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    REVIEW | Outside Men: Christopher Quinn's "God Grew Tired of Us"

    There's a reason why a film like Christopher Quinn's impassioned and affecting "God Grew Tired of Us" is designed to appeal to a more populist audience, and why, despite all of its pain and heartache, it needs to be couched in uplift. It's simply a story of which far too many Westerners have remained ignorant, a difficult period of history that's far too recent to gloss over. Quinn's documentary relates the travails of three of the "lost boys" of Sudan, young men who, as children, were forced to separate from their families when the government ordered a mandate that they be killed during the Second Sudanese Civil War (which started in the ear...

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    Reverse Shot's 11 Offenses of 2006

    So, if you're like us, you've had enough, enough, ENOUGH of the Academy Award pundits predicting the same prizes since September, studio shills vomiting "Dreamgirls" spittle all over the place, and seeing about one-hundred-and-seventeen different websites predicting, with self-satisfied, out-on-a-li...

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    Reverse Shot's Top Ten List for 2006

    As per usual, this Reverse Shot Top Ten list was compiled by polling each of our loyal staff writers for their ten favorite films of the year. The first-place ranked film received ten points, the second-place nine points, and so on. Each film on the resulting list is then assigned to a writer who ...

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    REVIEW | Shallow Grave: Karen Moncrieff's "The Dead Girl"

    Structured as five chapters, each focusing on a female character in some way connected to the "Dead Girl" of the title, Karen Moncrieff's film applies a slightly more sensationalistic bent to the usual roundelay of overlapping stories that comprise the ensemble drama. It opens promisingly, abruptly, as Arden (Toni Collette) comes upon the mutilated body while rambling around the windswept, wide open spaces of her mother's property. The discovery pushes the severely shy girl into the limelight and leads to an awkward encounter with Giovanni Ribisi - a shorthand bit of casting used to amp up a sense of the bizarre already indicated by Piper Lau...

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    REVIEW | Child's Play: Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth"

    "A fairy tale for grown-ups!" exclaim the mindless reviewers who can't get their noses out of their press kits. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from its highly exploitative and infantile use of graphic gore, this one is strictly for the kiddies, or at least, those reared on b...

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    REVIEW | Heaven Scent: Tom Tykwer's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer"

    Opening the same week as the overstimulated and underconceived "Pan's Labyrinth," Tom Tykwer's compelling and daring "Perfume" is in danger of being ignored. At times as CGI-enhanced as Del Toro's hackneyed trip through the looking glass, "Perfume" nevertheless weaves its effects into a seamless whole, a brilliantly designed retreat into an imagined past. And although both feature sadistic madmen at their centers, "Perfume," for all its ethereal whimsy, feels the infinitely more humane film. This is even its central focus: an allegory about human nature, the desperate need to be loved, and more problematically (though it's a terrifically gonz...

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    REVIEW | Love and Marriage: John Curran's "The Painted Veil"

    "As if a woman ever loved a man for his virtue," scoffs Kitty Fane, heroine of W. Somerset Maugham's 1925 novel "The Painted Veil" - the line remains intact in the new film version. This touches on something raw, the insoluble dilemma that Kitty's heart is rent upon: the people we most esteem or res...

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