• Alberto and the Concrete Jungle

    Alberto and the Concrete Jungle

    ★★★½

    The train wreck of Alberto's life is filled with such tantalizing absurdities that I couldn't help falling down the rabbit hole with him. He is on a journey of self discovery in a land of self absorption. His encounters include cell phone waiving careerist assholes, ex-girlfriends, self-help gurus lost in their delusions, ordinary folk working hard and staying under the radar, artists quietly making work without professional ambition and a woman who finds herself on the same road as Alberto.…

  • The Subject

    The Subject

    ★★½

    The Subject stumbles under its own weight as it tries to address a group of interrelated issues that prove too slippery to capture, analyze and resolve in one two hour film. A documentary filmmaker's responsibility to his or her subject is the largest elephant in the room, but it is joined by spinning the truth, minimizing transgressions, infidelity, white economic hegemony, white entitlement, and the simple act of owning what one does. The film gets traction and momentum with the…

  • Gal Young 'Un

    Gal Young 'Un

    ★★★★★

    I'm so happy to have finally watched Gal Young 'Un. Victor Nunez is batting 100% with me (I've watched 4 of his 6 films). Blessed with a stellar cast and the powerful writing of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and supported beautifully with a stripped down, unadorned aesthetic and dynamic camerawork with a very effective use of closeups, Gal Young 'Un is a heartfelt examination of longing, self worth and forgiveness (alongside a textbook case of evil deception and greed). As in…

  • Alice and the Mayor

    Alice and the Mayor

    ★★★★★

    Two stories, two careers, two minds, two lives are seamlessly interwoven in this brilliantly conceived film. The doubts, hopes, fears and optimism of two uncompromising intellectuals working on the philosophy and reality of political decisions are written and acted convincingly within an enthralling story arc. There is suspense, but this is not a political thriller. The core metaphor of the film lies in Alice's unexpected entry into the halls of power and her confident willingness to take on the responsibilities…

  • Amy George

    Amy George

    ★★★★½

    Amy George is a beautiful, low budget, hand-held coming of age film focusing on defining oneself and expressing oneself, particularly in the context of the visual arts. Unsurprisingly, the answers don't come easy. The story arc is very gentle, with a melodic supporting soundtrack and a naturalistic approach to action and dialog. The tone reminded me of another excellent coming of age film, Jess+Moss, which I would also highly recommend.

  • Good Funk

    Good Funk

    ★★★★½

    Well written, well acted and beautifully filmed with a great crescendo of tension sparked by the lives of a mother and her daughter as they struggle to survive in the changing neighborhood of Red Hook in New York. As they navigate rough waters, the two encounter a young couple whose struggles are centered more around their relationship and family. We accompany the four on a very tense tightrope walk. Excellent film.

  • The Guilty

    The Guilty

    ★★★★

    Made in 1992. Starring Michael Kitchen, Caroline Catz, Sean Gallagher, Andrew Tiernan. Directed by Colin Gregg. Written by Simon Burke.

  • Saigon Baby

    Saigon Baby

    ★★★★½

    Saigon Baby is a modern parable that challenges colonialism, the entitlements of money, the privileges of the educated and, indeed, the primacy of parenthood. However, the plot contains gaps and inconsistencies that make difficult the suspension of disbelief. Why would a couple trying to adopt possess none of the accoutrements of parenting? There are no bottles, no formula, no crib, no blankets, no clothes. Since they are trying to take a baby out of the country, why are they so…

  • The Invisibles

    The Invisibles

    ★★★½

    I am torn in half by this film. The Invisibles chronicles a short period when a man and a woman hide themselves in a Paris apartment after escaping from a rehab facility. They tell their stories, they fuck, they order pizza, they sleep and they get clean (I think). There are moments of comedy, pathos, confession, remorse and massive self doubt. This is a compelling idea that is played out with wit, humor and serious psychological bloodletting. However, the one…

  • Herschel und die Musik der Sterne

    Herschel und die Musik der Sterne

    ★★★½

    In 1792 Joseph Haydn, during a trip to England, visited the home and observatory of astronomers William Herschel and his sister Caroline. Legend has it that Haydn drew inspiration to write The Creation from what he observed by looking through Herschel's homemade forty foot telescope. Herschel and the Music of the Stars dramatizes this meeting. It was filmed as a stage play. Then, using a digital editing program that probably came with a new 1984 Macintosh, numerous overlays and collage…

  • Hotel Coolgardie

    Hotel Coolgardie

    ★★★★½

    Thank goodness for Canman, the only stand up guy in the place. The employment agency sort of warned the girls about where they were being sent, but, given the high turnover in these jobs, I couldn't help noticing the agency's cynical financial motives in sending relatively naive backpacking girls into the gaping maw of hell known as Coolgardie. It is unfair to think that Hotel Coolgardie is a one-off situation. The poor and powerless experience abuse and exploitation in jobs…

  • My Zoe

    My Zoe

    ★★★★★

    Julie Delpy so completely inhabits the character of Isabelle that it reminded me of why some of the greatest modern directors, from Kieslowski to Linklater to Carax to Saura, have called upon her to appear in some of the most iconic films of the last thirty years. The supporting cast is terrific, the story is compelling and the writing and directing, by Delpy, show the hand of an experienced and masterful storyteller at work. Her screenplay transitions seamlessly through a…