Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Egoyan, Costa and More

While Hailie Gerima's Teza, a cinematic coming-to-terms with several decades of modern Ethiopian history, opening this week at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, is certainly worth a look, cinephiles might be better off staying home and taking in Criterion's excellent new Pedro Costa boxed set. I reviewed both this week as well as Atom Egoyan's sexy, but disappointing Chloe and the coming-to-terms-with-loss drama The Greatest.

Teza (Village Voice)
Chloe (Slant)
The Greatest (Slant)
Letters from Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa (DVD) (Slant)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Directors/New Films Round 2

My second and final round of reviews from this year's New Directors/New Films series is a lot like my first: it covers a handful of movies that it's hard to get particularly excited about along with one obvious highlight. In this case, the one to see is Laura Poitras' The Oath, a dense, complex documentary profiling Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard and (in absentia) his Guantanamo-detained ex-driver.

The Oath (Artforum)
The Father of My Children (Slant)
Down Terrace (Slant)
Every Day is a Holiday (Slant)
Northless (Slant)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Releases: City Island, Kimjongilia and Shutterbug

Amidst my ongoing coverage of the New Directors/New Films series, I found time to review a few first-run releases, none of too great interest. The best thing opening this week may be Marco Bellochio's Vincere, which I reviewed at last year's New York Film Festival and which Slant has reposted.

City Island
Kimjongilia (Slant)
Shutterbug (Village Voice)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Directors/New Films Round 1

My first round of reviews from Lincoln Center/MOMA's annual New Directors/New Films series comes with one obvious highlight, Lixin Fan's Last Train Home. This doc deals with the world's "largest human migration," the annual return of China's 130 million migrant workers to their rural hometowns, telling its story by focusing on a single family. It may not be the country's next great documentary, but Lixin's film is forcefully revealing about the displacements engendered by fast-track modernization.

ND/NF introduction (Slant)
Last Train Home (Slant)
I Am Love (Slant)
How I Ended This Summer (Slant)
La Pivellina (Slant)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Releases: Our Family Wedding, Severe Clear, Stolen and The Exploding Girl

It seems like I was the only one even remotely impressed by Rick Famuyiwa's culture-clash comedy, Our Family Wedding - currently standing at 0 % approval on Rotten Tomatoes - but while the film's negatives probably outweighed the positives, I think it's a far more interesting work than others give it credit for, at least if you can get past all the ethnic stereotypes and Viagra-based humor. It's certainly better than Bradley Rust Grey's low-fi outerborough indie The Exploding Girl which is pretty well disastrous.

Our Family Wedding (Slant)
Severe Clear (Slant)
Stolen (Slant)
The Exploding Girl (The L Magazine)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Brooklyn's Finest, Film Comment Selects and Opera in Harlem

My latest set of links covers the most recent stinker from hack director Antoine Fuqua, two more reviews from the Film Comment Selects series and, finally, the uptown fairytale Harlem Aria, whose belated release (the film was completed in 1999) has everyone asking the obvious : why this film and why now?

Brooklyn's Finest
Kinatay (The House Next Door)
The Time That Remains (The House Next Door)
Harlem Aria (Village Voice)