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Tribeca Reviews: Criticism From the Indiewire Community

This Week's Tribeca Reviews across the Indiewire blog network

With Tribeca in full force and just now starting to wind down, it’s been a busy week for the Indiewire blog network. For your convenience, we have compiled all of the Tribeca reviews that have appeared anywhere on the site since the afternoon of Friday the 19th. Enjoy!


Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic:” “Watching the film, one starts to feel like there need to be two movies
— one about Pryor and everyone who worked with him, and the other about
his legacy, which continues to grow in the years after his death. This
film doesn’t really satisfy on either account — merely whets the
appetite for more.”
— Alison Willmore

Gasland Part II:” “In this David versus Goliath tale, Goliath still has the upper hand. ‘Gasland Part II’ runs longer than the earlier installment, but
ultimately it has less to say. Fox sounds the same alarm with a bizarre
mixture of confidence in the message and an awareness of the vanity
involved in delivering it.” 
— Eric Kohn

Lil Bub and Friendz:” “‘Lil Bub and Friendz’ settles for goofiness. That’s a tough agenda to
criticize if you see the underlying appeal of the material, but one has
to wonder if a better movie might have gone greater lengths to demystify
the subject matter. Instead of peeling back the veil on cat videos, it
more or less is one.”
— Eric Kohn

James On Screens:

The Patience Stone:” “As in another Tribeca standout, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the film works
so beautifully because its main character is a distinct individual who embodies
weighty themes, but never has them clumsily imposed on the film.”
— Caryn James

Shadow & Act:

Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic:” “The filmmakers do an admirable job in compiling his life’s most significant events, striking a good balance between dark
and weighty themes versus funny and stimulating material. Buoyed by fine
editing and score, the documentary aesthetically captures your
attention for the duration.
” — Vanessa Martinez

Let The Fire Burn:” “Weaving together field news reports, a 70s documentary about MOVE, and
recorded tapes of the subsequent public committee hearings and
depositions that took place months after the incident, Osder creates a
visually textured and fascinating piece of storytelling that steers
clear of editorialization and manipulation by allowing the content to
speak for itself.”
— Zeba Blay

Flex Is King:” “It is unfortunate that the filmmakers didn’t delve more into the
foundation and background of ‘flexing’. It would have also made for a
more compelling documentary to showcase the dancers’ detailed footwork
and overall technique.
Yet, ‘Flex is Kings’ is still recommended viewing. The dancing and ardent
fervor of its subjects are enough to keep you engaged.”
— Vanessa Martinez

Lenny Cooke:” “Directors Safdie smartly don’t color the film with unnecessary
adornments, because they really don’t need to. They also keep themselves
completely out of it, with no running commentary. It’s a
straightforward, no frills documentary that does its job.”
— Tambay A. Obenson

Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ To Tell You:” “Her homely appearance and no-holds- bar, raunchy punchlines, paved the
way for many comedians who followed after, which are enough reasons to
go watch ‘I Got Somethin’ To Tell You’. Yet, those same reasons seem to only scratch the surface of who she really was.” —
Vanessa Martinez

Thompson On Hollywood:

Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic:” “How can a documentary about someone as funny, alive, honest, edgy, and
brilliant as Richard Pryor can fall so flat? Marina Zenovich’s
documentary on the comedian, ‘Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic’, testifies to the comedian’s humor and brilliantly dark view
of the world around him. But ‘Omit the Logic’ doesn’t show the audience
anything new or insightful about him.”
— Maggie Lange

Raw Herring:” “In charting the course of Netherlands fishermen harvesting the year’s
first haul of Dutch New Herring (a traditional delicacy in Holland),
Helmrich does things that seem to defy physics — while firing the
imagination about what’s possible with a camera.”
— John Anderson

The Playlist

Just A Sigh:” “Devos keeps her character’s
unreliability and self-disappointment relatable, and falling backwards into a
new lover is something that Devos captures beautifully with her uncertain
facial expressions and hungry eyes. As a short, this material would be
magnetic, but stretched to feature-length, it’s merely ‘Just a Sigh.'” — Gabe Toro

Fresh Meat:” “By taking seriously the bond developing between
Rina and Gigi, it feels as if the film limits its comedic potential, resulting
in a chaotic, unpredictable film suddenly making its way towards a fairly
conventional, underwhelming climax.”
— Gabe Toro

Lily:” “Director Matt Creed clearly gets the appeal of a place romanticized by locals and
visitors, and how the drama experienced in the city is given an added dimension
by our environment, in ‘Lily.’ To watch the film is to witness that famed image of a flower
growing from between two slabs of concrete, to see beauty blossom in a unique
” — Gabe Toro

The Machine:” “It’s a simple pleasure, but even in a simple movie, it’s fairly unique,
establishing a vision not often seen in small-scale sci-fi. It may be
backhanded, but it does rate as a compliment to say that when genre fans
rent ‘The Machine’ on DVD, they’ll likely be satisfied.”
— Gabe Toro

Mobius:” “It lacks artfulness, stranding our characters in
situations that lack moral complexity but seem fueled by arcane plot
developments that yield no fruit, other than fascinating anyone in the audience
who doesn’t believe in a filmmaker’s ability to deceive.”
— Gabe Toro

Run And Jump:” “The concern is, what is this film really about? The main focus bounces
so heavily between Vanetia’s relationship with her husband, his growing
awareness of his surroundings, and the budding feelings between Ted and Vanetia.
By the time these all clash in the final 30 minutes, the actors, and
characters, are barely given a chance to breathe.”
— Gabe Toro

Reaching For The Moon:” “‘Reaching for the Moon’ is a moving portrait of one couple’s deep
affection, from finding love in an unexpected place to the seemingly
inevitable misunderstandings to ultimately tragic loss.”
— Diana Drumm

Hide Your Smiling Faces:” “Delicately shot with a sense of intimacy, but never precious, ‘Hide Your
Smiling Faces’ invites you to be as inquisitive about the world as
these boys are and to maybe even experience it through their eyes.
Featuring two exceptional lead performances from these two boys, first
rate beauty-in-ugliness photography and an unusually extraordinary
command of tone, Carbone’s picture skillfully articulates the
inexpressible; the weird, beautiful struggle that is life.” —
Rodrigo Perez

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors:” This is a timely story that has been desperately needed for a while now,
not just for the autism community (who has had to live with The Boy Who Could Fly’ and ‘Rain Man’ references for a few too many years), but by the cinematic world.”
— Diana Drumm

Bending Steel:” ‘Bending Steel’ is startlingly cinematic, the compelling visuals
capturing Chris’ fairly lonely world of steel manipulation in solitude
with a sense of awe and power.”
  — Gabe Toro

A Case of You:” “Self-deprecation is the modus operandi for ‘A Case Of You,’ but the
writers are clearly not aware that abusing this tenor the way they do
makes characters unbearably pathetic, to the point that, you cannot in
good conscience root for them.”
— Rodrigo Perez

Lil Bub and Friendz:” “Combined with the random crude language used by the humans (watch your
mouth around cats), the artless scene transitions, the low-fi music
videos placing cats in stupid costumes set to Spiritualized (give these
cats some dignity, guys) and the comparison of a man’s cat fancy to
serial killing, it’s impossible to think of a documentary that hits so
many wrong notes.” —
Gabe Toro

Big Bad Wolves:” “It’s questionable whether or not ‘Big Bad Wolves’ will receive the kind
of attention ‘Let the Right One In’ did, but
it’s every bit the triumph that film was — it’s bold, beautifully told,
and surprisingly funny.”
— Drew Taylor

Some Velvet Morning:” “LaBute has consistently made intriguing, often idiosyncratic films in
his career, but he hasn’t made anything this unsettling and
unforgettable in a very long time.”
— Gabe Toro

Trust Me:” “In ‘Trust Me,’ we wait for the inevitable redemption for a complete
asshole who trades on the skills and appeal of children in order to buy a
nicer car and resolve petty differences. Being played by Gregg himself
makes the transition more organic than it was for Rockwell in ‘Choke,’
but it still rings false.”
— Gabe Toro

The Pretty One:” “While uneven in its opening and arguably the serious, sad, and moving
second half of the film is slightly tonally at odds with its quirkier
beginning, ‘The Pretty One’ is still an engaging and sweet little first
feature. Writer/director LaMarque certainly has a confident voice and
she’s a lovely new discovery that we’ll likely see more of as she
continues to grow and hone her craft. —
Rodrigo Perez

Mr. Jones:” “Mueller completely wastes a unique, potentially durable concept: just
imagine a hooded monster in the woods making a side-living as an
avant-garde darling of the art world. The movie you’ve now visualized in
your head is probably a good deal more interesting than ‘Mr. Jones —
Gabe Toro

Sunlight Jr.:” “And severely depressed, ‘Sunlight Jr.’ is. So much so that it may be too
hard to watch for some viewers. Set in the indigent, trailer-park trash
areas of Southern Florida, Collyer’s latest writer/directorial effort
centers on a uneducated, penniless couple struggling to get by on
minimum wage.
” — Rodrigo Perez

Deep Powder:” Without knowing the details of the true story, it very much seems a
bit too David and Goliath. If you’re too busy over-emphasizing that
size-difference, the drama just gets lost.”
— Gabe Toro

The Kill Team:” “‘The Kill Team’ doesn’t saint Winfield at all, instead, smartly casting
responsible, impartial questions as to what his options could have been.”
— Gabe Toro

Lenny Cooke:” “‘Lenny Cooke’ isn’t a documentary, it’s an autopsy, detailing exactly
why Cooke vanished off the map and why he struggled to get back into the
game, a focus that goes micro where other sports docs go macro.”
— Gabe Toro

Dark Touch:” “For a good portion of its runtime, ‘Dark Touch’ sensitively expresses
the struggles of a victim of abuse in expressing themselves. Because of
the films structure, we don’t know a Neve pre-trauma…’Dark Touch’
externalizes the suffering of these victims with surprising nuance,
allowing for quieter moments with flummoxed adults of varying degrees of
— Gabe Toro

Six Acts:” “There’s no real fresh insight to be gained from ‘Six Acts,’ which takes
its title from the film’s structure. That weakness also works as a strength, the narrow focus
allowing a near-confrontational look at one girl stuck in that nexus
between preventing and allowing her exploitation.”
— Gabe Toro

Adult World:” “Wanting to create a leading character worth rooting for, and
experiencing the schadenfreude that comes from her failure, is a complex
balancing act, one that ‘Adult World’ simply cannot pull off.”
— Gabe Toro

Floating Skyscrapers:” “Wasilewski’s intimate direction
and interest in artifice manages to eclipse the fact that our leads seem
unknowable, unreachable even. Kuba and Mikal grow closer and closer, but what
appears to be love is only captured through lust, the duo rarely exchanging any
meaningful words.”
— Gabe Toro

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