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'Iris' reveals backstory of NY icon

Before documentarian Albert Maysles died on March 5, he left a capstone to his body of work, which includes "Gre...

'Good Kill' debates drone warfare's psychological costs

The very title "Good Kill" signals inherent tension, and this film concentrates that tension on Major Tom E...

2012 Film Challenge Awards Announced

Judges have spoken and the results are in! Announcing the winners of the 2012 National Film Challenge.

Doc Challenge returns in 2013

International Documentary Challenge is back for another year of fast filmmaking in 2013, February 28-March 4, 2013.

Director Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep" immediately establishes the "company" of the title with archival footage of the 1960s radical Weather Underground. The fictionalized film jumps to the present as one of the previous members, Sharon Solarz, prepares to turn herself in for involvement in a Michigan bank heist that left an officer dead three decades ago.

Published in Film Reviews

Although nearly 70 years have elapsed since the end of World War II, more and more information about the Nazi design to obliterate Jews continues to come to light. Now, a quasi-documentary about five families, ages 2 through 76, who, for 511 days straight, holed up in a cave in the Ukraine demands our attention.

Published in Film Reviews

Ricocheting through events, "The Angels' Share" introduces the main characters through their appearances in Glasgow's criminal court on assorted charges: theft, drugs, drunkenness, and assault. Last to be judged and the story's anchor, Robbie Emmerson harbors an anger management problem but also loves Leonie, pregnant but with a thuggish family who loathes Robbie.

Published in Film Reviews

Some films entertain by following a likable central character through trials and tribulations or even a fairly ordinary life over a limited period of time. Writer/director Sean Baker's "Starlet" offers one such case, deceptively casual about its meandering storyline, anchored to 21-year-old Jane and set in L.A.

Published in Film Reviews

The inimitable writer/director Terrence Malick has crafted another tone poem, this one a meditation on various aspects and stages of love. He focuses on a central couple: the American Neil and Frenchwoman Marina. Secondarily, a Spanish speaking Father Quintana interrogates his failing faith and Neil renews a prior friendship with Jane.

Published in Film Reviews

Jack Roosevelt Robinson, his landmark contribution to baseball and his legacy, is legend to every sports fan and civil rights historian. But there's something about a well-made film, even a very conventional one, that makes a profound impact, even if it simplifies, as any two-hour film must, the complexity of the man and the events.

Published in Film Reviews

Gleefully convoluted, director Danny Boyle's "Trance" invites second-guessing from its opening scenes to its last. Simon, who works at the high-end London auction house, directly addresses the camera, explaining security strategy. Seconds later, the heist of the multimillion-dollar Goya "Witches in the Air" kicks the plot into high gear.

Published in Film Reviews

As often happens, the title of this film sounds a lot like the title of another recent release, “Beyond the Hills,” but where “Beyond the Hills” is set in Romania, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is set in Schenectady, N.Y. In fact, that's the loose translation of the city’s name.

Published in Film Reviews

More a poetic meditation than a conventional narrative, writer/director Tim Sutton's "Pavilion" follows 15-year-old Max and his some time friends through a languorous summer. Nothing much happens beyond Max leaving his mother in Cazenovia, New York, to spend time with his mostly absent father in Chandler, Arizona. Neither parent figures in events beyond a minimal presence.

Published in Film Reviews

Identifying the German film "The Silence" as a police procedural doesn't do justice to the psychological and emotional intensity that accompanies the repulsive murder of an 11-year-old girl named Pia. Though partially obscured from view, that event proves difficult to watch in the opening scene. It instigates a profoundly disconcerting interrogation of all whom this eventually involves.

Published in Film Reviews

While a delightful dive into soul music, "The Sapphires" has its political side. That just makes this Australian film all the better, for it is not only entertaining, it is also informative. “The Sapphires” teaches an all too recent lesson in segregation and ethnic tidying, if not cleansing. In 1967, Aborigines were classified as flora and fauna.

Published in Film Reviews

Where do you turn for succor when you are lost? Alina, a young Romanian woman, returns to her love, her sister by choice, her dear friend, Voichita. Alina arrives from Germany, where she’s run from her foster family, taken in just for the work she can provide. She sees Voichita and runs to her. 

Published in Film Reviews

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