Browse by Tags

All Tags » Reviews » Tribeca 2010 (RSS)

Review: "American Mystic" searches for spirituality.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental liberties our country was built on, but is that freedom unlimited? Yeah, you can worship whatever or whomever you choose, but stray from one of the more popular and socially acceptable monotheistic religions and you're certain to butt up against prejudice, intolerance, and ostracism. The documentary "American Mystic" captures how three young people of three different faiths -- Spiritualism, Lakota...

Review: "Zonad," a liquor-soaked alien invasion.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Around midnight in front of the Village East Cinemas, a group of friends in front of me were saying they might be inspired to finish that documentary they've been kicking around after seeing something as "half-assed" as "Zonad" get into Tribeca. It may be the only time "Zonad" will be cited as an inspiration itself, since so much of it is inspired by other films. It surely won't be the first time somebody is disappointed...

Review: "Arias With a Twist," puppetry and drag queen fantasies.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Performance artist and Joey Arias and puppeteer Basil Twist provide an inspiring antidote to mass media's bottom line-driven culture in "Arias With a Twist," a "docufantasy" about the pair's respective careers and their highly regarded 2008 theatrical team-up (also named "Arias With a Twist"). In a world increasingly obsessed with wealth, celebrity and little else, Arias and Twist are true throwbacks: imaginative, compulsive...

Review: "The Lottery," where winning really is everything.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. If there's one political issue that should be simple, it's education. Everyone is for education; everyone agrees children deserve the best education possible. But trying to determine just how to give children that education is a sore subject, and that's where the problems begin. The troubling documentary "The Lottery" shows how just how many sides to a one-sided issue there can be. The titular contest in question happens every year...

Review: "Lucky Life": What can you say about a friend who died?

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Lee Isaac Chung's first feature, the Rwanda-set "Munyurangabo," was a minor sensation back in 2007 -- at least, as much as a quiet, oblique film that scarcely saw theaters outside of the festival circuit can be. The film brilliantly captured how trauma lingers like almost imperceptible shivers, the 1994 genocide trembling just beneath the surface of a deceptively simple story of two boys traveling from the city toward an only later divulged...

Review: "The Two Escobars," the drug kingpin and the soccer team.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. In 1998, Associated Press reporter Steve Wilstein noticed a bottle in Mark McGwire's locker. It was filled with androstenedione, an over-the-counter muscle enhancer that boosted the body's production of testosterone. In short, andro is a steroid, banned at that time by pro football, the NCAA, and the Olympics, though not Major League Baseball. McGwire was in the midst of a season in which he would hit more home runs than any other player in history...

Review: "brilliantlove," British hipsters in love and squalor.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. "brilliantlove," directed by Ashley Horner, is a British hipster wish-fulfillment fantasy pretending to be a romance. Its lovers, Manchester (Liam Browne) and Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry), live in shabby paradise in a single-car garage on a hill. They have no visible means of supporting themselves, but they do have hobbies. Noon's is taxidermy -- she keeps dead birds she finds in the freezer until she has time to work on them. And Manchester's...

Review: "Meet Monica Velour," requiem for a porn star.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. "It's not a National Lampoon's movie and it's not a road movie," writer/director Keith Bearden said after the second screening of his comedy "Meet Monica Velour," a necessity of sorts since the easiest description of its logline might have audiences running in the other direction. As noted by Cinematical's Scott Weinberg, the synopsis of a geek seeking out a retired porn star he worships after his high school graduation...

Review: "The Last Play at Shea," Billy Joel and the Mets.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Billy Joel was the perfect choice to play the last rock concert at Shea Stadium because, as the entertaining though slight documentary "The Last Play at Shea" makes clear, Billy Joel is essentially the New York Mets of rock stars. Joel and the Mets, Shea's primary tenants for 44 years, have a remarkable amount in common and eerily parallel timelines: Joel's father, for example, left his family the same month the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn...

Review: "Open House," when real estate attacks.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. "Open House" is a horror movie about a world where soulless monsters lurk everywhere, awaiting the slightest opportunity to prey on the weak and vulnerable -- Los Angeles. Ba-dum ching! I'll be here all week! But seriously, folks, there's a germ of an idea to the film -- the directorial debut of Andrew Paquin, brother of Anna, who shows up briefly along with her fiance and "True Blood" co-star Stephen Moyer -- to target the over...

Review: "Every Day," the same ol' story.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Ironically, there's something bold when making a film about an unexceptional life, something that almost dares you as an audience to imagine other stories that are happening beyond the scope of your put-upon protagonist. In "Every Day," I found myself wondering about the backstory of Carla Gugino's Robin, a sexy producer of a risqué TV show called "Mercy Medical" who thrives on a diet of sushi ("brain food") and casual...

Review: "Into Eternity," gazing into the future of nuclear waste.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. In a remote area in western Finland, a tunnel that ultimately will be three miles long and 1,600 feet deep is being drilled into the bedrock. The site is called Onkalo, "hiding place," and when it's completed, sometime in 2100, it will serve as a permanent resting place for the country's radioactive waste, a tomb the government plans to seal and leave undisturbed for at least 100,000 years. The remarkable documentary "Into Eternity...

Review: "sex & drugs & rock & roll," but the same old biopic story.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Looking like Uncle Fester from "The Addams Family" on a steady diet of NutriSystem and Rogaine than the man he's actually playing, Andy Serkis seems to be having a blast as '70s British music icon Ian Dury in the biopic "sex & drugs & rock & roll." If only the words I want to use to describe his performance -- charismatic, compelling -- also applied to the movie around him. Though Dury was an atypical rock star in...

Review: "Beware the Gonzo," not your typical teen comedy.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. There seems to be no end to interesting tales from high school. Take for instance, Bryan Goluboff, who, while attending Bellmore Kennedy off the shore of Long Island, started up an alternative to his high school newspaper when he was fed up with the leadership and was fired. With the gusto of your average New Yorker, Goluboff explained to the crowd gathered for his directorial debut: "First, I was righteous, then I was savage... and possibly psychotic...

Review: "My Brothers," quirky (Irish) family road trip.

Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. "My Brothers" is the directorial debut of Paul Fraser, who's co-written several of Shane Meadows' films, from "TwentyFourSeven" to "Somers Town." Watching it, I felt a renew appreciation for Meadows' dexterity with material that flirts with but generally (and magically) avoids taxing sentimentality. "My Brothers," alas, has no such miraculous delicacy, and takes regular dips into bathos -- its premise...
More Posts Next page »