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Last Train Home (Review)

Zeitgeist, 2010, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
China’s coming maelstrom of cultural tension is a central theme in Chinese/Canadian filmmaker Lixin Fan’s Last Train Home, a gritty, verite-style documentary about a family struggling to adapt to its country’s evolving, increasingly globalized economy. Lixin fixes his narrative (and inquisitive hand-held camera) on a married couple, Changhua and Suqin Zhang, onetime rural farmers who have worked grueling garment factory jobs far away from home for nearly the whole of their 17-year-old daughter Qin’s life.  

The Magician (Review)

Criterion Collection, 1958, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Magician (originally released as The Face) is an unjustly overlooked Ingmar Bergman film, sandwiched between cinema monoliths The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries and early-’60s classics The Virgin Spring and Through a Glass Darkly. It’s as vibrant as any work in his oeuvre — an odd mix of drama, bedroom farce and horror deep with critical, religious and existential symbolisms.  

Middletown (Review)

Icarus Films, 1982, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Middletown, a 1982 PBS documentary series about everyday life in Middle America has had a troubled history. Produced by Peter Davis, it was meant as a return to the searing, revelatory, verite-style reality television that PBS pioneered with 1973’s An American Family.  

Let Me In (Review)

Anchor Bay, 2010, Rated R

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Matt Reeves' remake of Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson's atmospheric vampire thriller — both of which are based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel 'Let the Right One In' — is not as restrained or as poetic as its predecessor, but Let Me In's nuanced take on the genre generates unexpected empathy for its central duo in near equal measure.  

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Review)

20th Century Fox, 2010, Rated PG-13

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is entirely of its time: a note-perfect portrait of 1980s superficiality and money-lust appropriately channeled through a world where wealth and class can be bought and sold daily. It made a true star of Michael Douglas, who delivered an iconic performance as Gordon Gekko, the cold-hearted, crazy-rich corporate raider who takes a young trader under his wings.  

Alamar (Review)

Film Movement, 2010, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s verite-styled familial drama is an aspirational observance of three generations of males living at one with nature in the Caribbean’s coastal solitude of Banco Chinchorro, Mexico’s largest coral reef.  

Who Is Harry Nilsson? (Review)

Lorber Films, 2010, Not Rated

1 Comment · Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Harry Nilsson was a late-1960s/early-1970s Los Angeles-based songwriter’s songwriter — The Beatles adored him and Three Dog Night recorded his “One” — who also had such a fluidly expressive vocal range that he briefly became a best-selling recording artist with both hits that he wrote (“Me and My Arrow,” “Jump Into the Fire”) and ones he covered (“Everybody’s Talkin,’ ” “Without You”).  

Colin (Review)

Walking Shadows, 2009, Unrated

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Low-budget zombie films are dime-a-dozen. For the most part, they reflect their cash-strapped status in form and function. Refusing to use their deficiencies to their advantage, they become dumbed-down affairs that pump gore effects, cheap scares and violence at the expense of smart narrative and plot. This sad fact makes Colin all the more precious and important.  

The Sacred Triangle (Review)

Sexy Intellectual, 2010, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Here’s a shocking discovery for Cincinnati Pop-music historians: Did you know it was a legendary Iggy Pop performance here in 1970 that inspired David Bowie to create his Ziggy Stardust character and thus turn the British Glam Rock movement into a worldwide phenomenon? That’s one of many perceptive insights in this new documentary.  

Nollywood Babylon (Review)

Kino, 2008, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Nicknamed Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry churns out 2,500 films per year — most at budgets under $15,000. Quick-dash, self-financed B-movie affairs primarily shot on video, the productions have created a booming insulated economy for the poverty-stricken nation. The themes are insular, as well, eschewing stories and narratives popularized by cinematic imports in favor of relatable themes. In short, Nollywood creates African films for Africans. And the people of Nigeria prefer it that way.  

Leonard Cohen Releases (Review)

Songs from the Road, Bird on a Wire and Lonesome Heroes

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Bird on the Wire was shot by the British filmmaker Tony Palmer (All You Need Is Love, 200 Motels) and supposedly had some kind of theatrical release in 1974. But he recently discovered 294 film cans with bits and pieces of "lost" footage and, given Cohen's resurgence, decided to reassemble it to create a new print closer to his original intentions.  

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (Review)

First Look Studios, 2010, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It’s a battle of the iconoclasts when Werner Herzog (Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Grizzly Man) and David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) come together for a fascinating, often frustrating crime-drama/horror amalgam packed with the quirks, oddball characters and creepiness that imbue each filmmaker’s respective works.  

Survival of the Dead (Review)

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 25, 2010
George A. Romero’s return to zombiedom with 2005’s 'Land of the Dead' was a cause célbre. The inventor of the game was back after a 20-year drought and ready to deliver more walking dead hungry for human flesh.'Diary of the Dead' (2007), a rough gem followed. If only the same could be said of 'Survival of the Dead.' Grade: C.   

The Most Dangerous Man in America (Review)

First Run Features, 2010, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Released just in time to (no doubt coincidently) synch with WikiLeaks' recent publication of the U.S. Military's Afghanistan war logs, the DVD released of co-directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated documentary looks at the events that compelled Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine and defense department staffer, to leak the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in an effort to stop what he deemed an unjust Vietnam War. Grade: A-  

The Art of the Steal

MPI Home Video, 2009, Not Rated

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In a quiet borough of Lower Merion, Penn., sits the greatest collection of Post-Impressionist and early Modern art that people have never heard of. Don Argot’s passionate documentary examination of the art collection's outright theft by Philadelphia power mongers could help change that level of ignorance, but not in time to prevent it's seizure by the Philadelphia Museum of Art — scheduled for 2012.