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Tribeca and Beyond: Criticism From the Indiewire Community

Tribeca and Beyond: Criticism From the Indiewire Community

Here’s our weekly collection of the film criticism that appeared throughout the Indiewire Blog Network. The latest edition is heavy on “Oblivion” and Tribeca Film Festival opening night selection “Mistaken For Strangers,” but also includes a number of other recent or upcoming releases and Tribeca Film Festival reviews.


Mistaken For Strangers:” However, Berninger generally plays it safe and keeps the proceedings
slight, leaving the sense that much has been glossed over. Only the
band’s continuing popularity makes his journey stand out. Like its
director-star, ‘Mistaken For Strangers’ struggles admirably but can only
go so far before letting the established talent win out. — Eric Kohn

Lenny Cooke:” “A gentle giant whose speech is marked by his rambling, inarticulate
memories and a distinctive lisp, Cooke is fascinating breed of social
reject, whose symbolic dimension turns ‘Lenny Cooke’ into an allegory
for class issues irregardless of the specific forces that held him down.” —
Eric Kohn

Central Park Five:” “With an editing approach that seamlessly blends past and present, ‘Central Park Five’ contains a fluid, engaging storytelling that does
away with the dry voiceover commentary and theatrical music choices that
typically account for the narrative flow of most Burns films.”–
Eric Kohn

Lords of Salem:” “Zombie too often gives into the tendency to let the soundtrack
overemphasize the scares, but his nightmarish visuals transcend the
hackneyed narrative.” —
Eric Kohn

Shadow and Act:

Portrait of Jason:” “It is this tension between drama and truth that keeps the audience
watching. Even the most liberal viewer will reach a point where they
question whether they are a silent participant in Jason’s exploitation. The reason we are able to ask these questions is because Clarke
had the courage to leave the embarrassing, tough, unprofessional bits
in. It’s a film worth watching (more than once), that will change the
way you see documentary forever.”
— Karina Griffith

Oblivion:” The plot of ‘Oblivion’ is the sort of thing someone would be
excited to pitch in a college screenwriting class, but wouldn’t know how
to follow through on. It’s derivative of other sci-fi movies, but not a
rip-off, and has an interesting hook or two that would need to be fully
developed in order to work.”
— Dan Simolke

The Playlist:

Bluebird“: “A terrifically solid and sturdy effort across the board, ‘Bluebird’ is
the real deal and a true package of strong collaborators coalescing to
make a wonderful debut film. While primarily dealing with
interconnectedness, ‘Bluebird’ is also about sense of place and
belonging and the exact opposite.”
— Rodrigo Perez

Lords of Salem:” “‘The Lords of Salem’ is a product of Zombie’s better creative impulses,
so it’s okay that it also features several of his worse indulgences,
— Simon Abrams

Mistaken For Strangers:” “Fortunately,
effervescent Tom carries enough charm to ignore the more downbeat ideas of this
film: coded between the lines of every loving admonishment from his brother is
the idea that Matthew doesn’t think highly of Tom’s ability to be a functioning
part of any team.”
— Gabe Toro

Almost Christmas:” “Impassively paced, lacking a forward narrative engine and nowhere near
as fun or comical as it should be, the picture even lacks dynamic
chemistry between the otherwise, usually effervescent Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti.”
— Rodrigo Perez

Nor’Easter:” The quiet ‘Nor’easter’ dodges
several pratfalls in its refusal to adhere to either a cliched story of a
conflicted man of the cloth, or a tense revenge drama. Writer-director
doesn’t skimp on the complexities of such a situation, giving an equal
focus on the repercussions of each action.”
— Gabe Toro

To The Wonder:” “But which is it? Brilliant or boring? Moving or muddled? Or maybe
somewhere in between. Undoubtedly, you will have your own distinct
reaction when you see it soon. Read on to find out what we each thought
of the movie.”
— The Playlist Staff

James On Screens:

In The House:” “Its gleeful dark wit comes from the manipulations, the
giving in to voyeurism, the idea that we invade each other’s lives and thoughts
– and impose our imaginary constructs on them – all the time. We rarely do it as
stylishly as Ozon, but then few people do.”
— Caryn James

Antiviral:” “Resting on the theme that our viral-video world is stupidly
obsessed with fame, ‘Antiviral’ might sound as if it resonates with the culture. Actually,
it is a film without a point.”
— Caryn James

Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy:

Oblivion:” “‘Oblivion’ isn’t bad, by any means, and
its faults certainly don’t lie in its impressive physical production. But
science-fiction, as much as any genre (and maybe more than most) depends on a
great idea at its core, and this one simply isn’t original enough.” —
Leonard Maltin

Thompson On Hollywood:

The Angels’ Share:” “That the character arcs and circumstances are believable and affecting
throughout ‘The Angels’ Share’ is a testament to Loach’s dextrous
— Jacob Combs

Press Play:

Safe:” “‘Safe’ resembles other horror films focused on female protagonists, such as ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and the vastly-underrated ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death’,
which dramatize the isolation that results when real terrors are
written off as merely ‘women’s problems’ by arrogantly authoritative
— Jed Mayer

The Man Who Wasn’t There:” “But it’s funny,
thought-provoking, and mesmerizing if you let its themes and questions, and its
gorgeous, silky black-and-white cinematography work more in the spirit in which
they seem to have been created: as a wry, poetic thought experiment within a
technically impressive formal genre structure.”
— Drew Gardner

Are Animated GIFs a Type of Cinema?: Indeed, no
one seems overly concerned with the matter. But I think it makes sense to
examine the relationship between animated gifs and other forms of cinema, as
well as to try describing the format’s unique cinematic aesthetic. Here are a
dozen reasons why.”
— A.D. Jameson

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