Film Reviews

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  • It's a given that any tribute to this outwardly fearless yet inwardly plagued showman -- who died from longtime drug and alcohol abuse in December 1997, at the age of 33 -- would brim with tenderness and remorse. But shrewder documentarians than...

  • The nature narrative film Bonobos: Back to the Wild introduces the endangered species through the experience of an orphan rescued by conservationist Claudine André. With his mother killed by poachers, Beni is taken from the lush...

  • The best that can be said about teen sex comedy Staten Island Summer is that it goes down easy. Good-enough cast members like Saturday Night Live players Bobby Moynihan and Fred Armisen make a formulaic one-last-party-before-college...

  • In a sleepy Texas town, where daily life is as routine as the steps of a country line dance, writer-director Alex R. Johnson begins his deft neo-noir Two Step with some unexpected encounters. The aimless James (Skyy Moore) visits his...

  • Viking chase flick Northmen is barely a Viking movie -- outside the first minutes and the final shots, our bearded pillagers are frugally boatless, and they hike everywhere. But it is a capital on-the-cheap swords-and-landscapes adventure...

  • It's a basic narrative principle dating back to the epic tale "Hunter Chase Mastodon" that you tell your shit in chronological order unless it's more interesting to shuffle the timeline around. The audience-cheating 6 Ways to Die relates a...

  • A luminous jumble, Jem Cohen's latest experiment in non-narrative urban portraiture captures, in its beauty and bad moods and consistent epiphanies, many contradictory truths of city life itself. Cohen's Counting is his most ambitious...

  • Mary Agnes Donoghue -- the septuagenarian screenwriter who adapted Beaches and White Oleander -- hangs her second directorial effort (after 1991's Paradise) on some old-fashioned, disgustingly patriarchal values in this...

  • If you watch paint-by-numbers biopic Paulo Coelho's Best Story with no knowledge of who the elusive title character is, you will leave the film without understanding what made the celebrated author of The Alchemist more than just...

  • Sometimes, Extinction is a zombie apocalypse story; mostly, it's a meditation on isolation, redemption, and family that could, in its basic outline, be satisfyingly told outside of its genre. But then you wouldn't get to see a zombie horde...

  • Sometime in the 1980s Marlon Brando had his face digitized, presumably as a way of leaving just a bit more of himself after his departure from this planet. As we see it in Stevan Riley's documentary Listen to Me Marlon, that speaking,...

  • One of the mild disappointments of the otherwise enjoyable German kids flick Maya the Bee Movie was that original cast member Nina Hagen was not retained for the English-language dub. Boris Aljinovic and Harald Siepermann's equally...

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