Film Reviews

REVIEW: Rubber Neck

REVIEW: Rubber Neck

Reeling from a weekend tryst gone awry, wanting more from his co-worker, Boston research scientist Paul (Alex Karpovsky) fantasizes daily about what could be, he uses their ocassional greetings and pleasantries at work as a means to hope that their by-chance encounter will turn into a relationship. However, on the mind of Danielle (Jaime Ray Newman) is the opposite. With a new day comes a new interest, in the form of a new hire. Much to the ire of Paul, Danielle’s interaction with the newbe leaves Paul green with envy. As Paul becomes more obsessive by the day, the elephant in the room (Danielle’s lust, his anguish, their weekend turned nothing) wiill ultimately be addressed.

REVIEW: The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

REVIEW: The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

Hmmm. How can I start this review? Well, I have always been intrigued with the way people think and how it contributes to their actions, so naturally I would be curious with the way a serial killer thinks and looks – they all seem to have a certain look. Don’t they? So, when “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files” was put on my desk, I of course jumped at the opportunity to write this review and couldn’t wait to get home to watch the DVD.

Review: KOCH Documentary

Review: KOCH Documentary

In his first film, Neil Barsky chronicles the life of New York City’s 105th Mayor Ed Koch, known for asking his constituents “How am I doing?”  The documentary explores just how he was doing back then and gives a peak into his roller coaster like relationship with the city. Koch served three terms from 1978 to 1989, when the city was near bankruptcy and crime was on the rise. 

Opening with a look into his 1977 election, the film highlights the issues Koch faced after taking office such as; the 1980 transit strike, push-back from the gay community regarding the AIDS epidemic, his housing initiative, a corruption scandal and conflict with African Americans admist the Yusef Hawkins murder in 1989. 

Review: Django Unchained

Review: Django Unchained

 

by Cecily Witcher

Django Unchained is a shootem-up-bang-bang western-style movie that strives hard to convey the feeling of being in the 1800’s during the period when slavery was the law of the land in some parts of the USA. The film is set in the South where a slave, Django, (played by Jamie Foxx) ends up partnering with Dr.King Schultz, a white German bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz.) Shultz is looking for the Brittle Brothers as they have a huge bounty on their head and are wanted “Dead or Alive.” Django promises Schultz that he will lead him to the brothers if he will help him find his wife, a German-speaking slave named Broomhilda (played by Kerry Washington) from whom he was separated during a slave trade.

“Ricky on Leacock,” “We Women Warriors,” and “Holy Man” are Shining Lights at IDA’s Docuweeks Fest in NYC and LA this Month

“Ricky on Leacock,” “We Women Warriors,” and “Holy Man” are Shining Lights at IDA’s Docuweeks Fest in NYC and LA this Month

by Francesca McCaffery

There are some really nice doc films at IDA’s continuing DocuWeeks Festival (in New York and Los Angeles) this week…Here were a few genuine stand-outs:

In Ricky on Leacock, director Jane Weiner shares with us nearly forty years of friendship and footage on the creator of cinéma vérité, the legendary filmmaker Richard Leacock. Ricky is one of those great artist depictions which allow the viewer to feel and create their own assumptions and thoughts about both the upbringing and family background of the subject, but this absence works wonderfully here: We witness what an elegant, generous spirit really was, and through wonderful interviews and clips from the likes of D.A. Pennebaker, Robert Drew, Ed Pincus, Jonas Mekas, Dušan Makavejev, and others, we see what an astounding influence Leacock had on certainly not only cinema and how it was conceived for the new generation, but television, TV journalism and live news.

Always searching to make the camera and sound equipment as unobtrusive and invisible as possible, one only wonders how much work the man could have created in the wholly digital age. “My life has been about cooking and making film, and it’s been wonderful,” Leacock joyfully intones at the end of the film. Who could ask for anything more, from an artist or the truly great and inspiring film about his still important legacy? A must-see doc this season- one that will really lift both your heart and soul.

Fall in Love with Conrad Jackson’s “Falling Overnight” and its star-Emilia Zoryan- This Week

Fall in Love with Conrad Jackson’s “Falling Overnight” and its star-Emilia Zoryan- This Week

Falling Overnight

Falling Overnight- opening today in NYC at Cinema Village West

Review written by Francesca McCaffery

Directed by Conrad Jackson, Falling Overnight is those rarest of indie gems- genuinely heart-felt and a pleasure to watch. Young photographer Chloe (Emilia Zoryan) and skinny, appealing Elliot (Parker Croft) meet uber- cute in a café in LA, the audience having learned only moments before that he is scheduling a rather profound surgery for the very next day, without the help or support of any noticeable friends, or family, around him. We are immediately drawn in…

Elliot is young, but one of those rare early 20-somethings- he appears to be completely financially independent, somewhat of an internet start-up wunderkind who wisely cashed out early. Not one to dwell, or feel sorry for himself,  Elliot spontaneously decides to go to Chloe’s art show, where she has casually invited him along. After an awkward start, with Chloe having to actively let him know, more than once, that she is in fact interested in hanging out with him, their big evening begins…

Review of “The Fourth Dimension” at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

Review of “The Fourth Dimension” at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

by Francesca McCaffery A production of VICE and Grolsch Film Works, The Fourth Dimension is a compilation of three different short films (thirty minutes each) directed by Harmony Korine, Alexey Fedorchenko and newcomer Jan Kwiecinski, respectively. VICE’s Eddy Moretti, who really wanted to work with Korine, developed a ‘creative brief’ and began emailing him back and fourth with ideas. Grolsch Film Works held an international contest, and Fedorchenko and Kwiecinski were chosen. No director knew […]

Mia Hansen-Love’s Gorgeous “Goodbye, First Love”

Mia Hansen-Love’s Gorgeous “Goodbye, First Love”

by Francesca McCaffery Goodbye, First Love, the beautiful, new film by Mia Hansen-Love (Father of My Children) tells the tale of two young lovers, Camille (Lola Creton) and Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky), and their hard serious and young, first romance. Sullivan is a charismatic, sweet and sensual free spirit, darting in and out of Camille’s life, although he appears to completely adore her when they are together. Camille is very earnest and quite dramatic about her […]

“Elles” Review

“Elles” Review

by Francesca McCaffery Juliette Binoche stars in Elles, a film that is strangely more sensual than sexual, considering one of its serious subject matters: Student prostitution in Paris. In Elles, (directed by Małgorzata Szumowska) Binoche plays an extraordinarily well-heeled journalist (one of her subjects even asks if her gorgeous shoes are “expensive”) for Elle Magazine. She is interviewing young female college students who become escorts to pay for their tuition and rent. Binoche’s character Anne […]

What Films to See in NYC This Weekend-Bully, The Island President, Turn Me On, Dammit, Generation P! It’s RAINING in NYC! Go to the Movies!

What Films to See in NYC This Weekend-Bully, The Island President, Turn Me On, Dammit, Generation P! It’s RAINING in NYC! Go to the Movies!

By Francesca McCaffery Two new wonderful documentaries are opening this weekend- Lee Hirsch’s Bully– which is a heart-breaking, take-no-prisoners hard look at the insidious problem of bullying in American middle and high school classrooms, and The Island President, which is an extraordinary portrait of recently ousted Maldivian President Nasheed, and his great fight to combat global warming (Which is literally sinking his splendid Maldive Islands.) Both are two of the most thought-provoking documentaries you will […]

The Kid with a Bike is a heart-warming and heart-breaking little film

The Kid with a Bike is a heart-warming and heart-breaking little film

By Francesca McCaffery The Kid with a Bike (Le Gamin au vélo) is the latest film from Belgian filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who both wrote and directed. It stars Cécile de France, and the astonishing young newcomer- Thomas Doret. Thomas plays Cyril, a young boy who has been abandoned to a children’s home by his father, and can’t quite seem to accept this fact. He also keeps insisting that he needs to find […]

Gianni Di Gregorio’s Film The Salt of Life Will Charm Your Winter Blues Away

Gianni Di Gregorio’s Film The Salt of Life Will Charm Your Winter Blues Away

  By Francesca McCaffery “The Salt of Life” is a charming film by Italian actor and filmmaker Gianni Di Gregorio, who plays an aging man trying to come to grips with the fact that he feels like a “discarded engine on the side of the road.” Treated like with condescension by his wife, dealing with a petulant and spoiled daughter, and with an aging mother who treats him like a servant. Gianni (also the character […]

“Last Days Here” A Strange Little Documentary About Doing or Dying For Rock-n-Roll

“Last Days Here” A Strange Little Documentary About Doing or Dying For Rock-n-Roll

by Francesca McCaffery The new documentary “Last Days Here” (opening today March 2nd at the IFC Center in NYC) directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton, had so much crazy subtext going on, it could be a few tiny little films in itself: The film focuses on “underground heavy metal legend” Bobby Liebling, the singer- songwriter-guitarist for the ‘70s metal band Pentagram. According to some rabid fans, Pentagram was the best metal band from that […]

“RETURN” SHOWS US YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN: LINDA CARDELINNI GIVES A POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE ABOUT A SOLDIER WHO JUST CAN’T SHAKE THE WAR

“RETURN” SHOWS US YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN: LINDA CARDELINNI GIVES A POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE ABOUT A SOLDIER WHO JUST CAN’T SHAKE THE WAR

by Francesca McCaffery There has rarely been such a non-formulaic and genuinely touching portrayal of a soldier returning home as Liza Johnson’s “Return,” starring the phenomenal Linda Cardelinni (“E.R.”) and always terrific Michael Shannon, opening today in limited release. To say a movie is independent film at is finest doesn’t even translate any longer, of course, but if it still does in any vernacular, this tiny, perfectly on-point little film is exactly it. Cardelinni plays […]

Cook County, Impressive Debut Film from Director David Pomes

Cook County, Impressive Debut Film from Director David Pomes

Cook County is a new independent film from first time writer/director David Pomes exploring a specific family and community in rural east Texas, reflecting an entire culture and drug world in America. The film presents the narrative through the eyes of Abe (Ryan Donowho), a teenager living with his meth-cooking and smoking uncle, Bump (Anson Mount). Abe goes day to day simply surviving with his dangerous caretaker, and  trying to protect his young cousin Deandra […]

Go See “Khodorkovsky” in Theaters this weekend

Go See “Khodorkovsky” in Theaters this weekend

by Francesca Mccaffery Cyril Tuschi’s riveting new documentary “Khodorkovsky” focuses on the 2003 imprisonment of Russian oligarch, the billionaire, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who at the time of his arrest at forty-two years old was the richest man in Russia. Brought to “court” on charges clearly trumped up and false (tax embezzlement and fraud), in a case that had the world watching and the proceedings of which even had then President George Bush deem wrongful and misguided, […]

Bollywood actor, filmmaker, and activist Puneet Issar Tackles Discrimination in I Am Singh

Bollywood actor, filmmaker, and activist Puneet Issar Tackles Discrimination in I Am Singh

I Am Singh, a new film directed by a veteran Bollywood actor, Puneet Issar, opens today in 50 theaters across North America. It explores the untold story of Sikhs in the post-9/11 U.S. who were subject to discrimination and violence, and targeted as possible terrorists. It is Issar’s second film as director, and he also acts in it. The film does not have a Bollywood star-studded cast, like his first film had. The actor/director told […]

Go See the Indie Comedy “Rid of Me”

Go See the Indie Comedy “Rid of Me”

by Francesca McCaffery RID OF ME, James Westby’s latest black comedy that follows Meris, (an awesome Katy O’Grady!) an awkward young woman trying too hard to perfect her marriage, amongst a new group of friends. RID OF ME follows Meris’ rejection from the cool crowd down a path towards truth and salvation which includes a job at a local candy shop, a group of punk friends, community gardening and a newfound love for Cambodian rock music! (Yes!) […]

REVIEW: Le Havre

REVIEW: Le Havre

Shot in the picturesque French port city of the same name, “Le Havre,” directed by Aki Kaurismaki, looks like it truly could have been created forty-five years ago. It’s an amazing and lovely film about community and solidarity, without any maudlin nostalgia to muck it up in the middle. It’s truly an original, and already feels like a dyed-in-the-wool classic.  {jathumbnail off}

The Black Power Mixtape-1967-1975- A Must-See Documentary

The Black Power Mixtape-1967-1975- A Must-See Documentary

Late ‘60s America was so multi-dimensional, so rife with various and extensive cultural and political facets, it’s difficult to get a true hold on what was really accomplished in that era, since the Civil Rights Movement of the early to mid 1960s. But a LOT surely was accomplished, just as much as so much was left bitterly undone. The “Black Power Movement” of that era, spearheaded by a young, brilliant freedom-rider named Stokley Carmichael, has […]

REVIEW: Vimooz Has Seen “The Future” & It’s Miranda July

REVIEW: Vimooz Has Seen “The Future” & It’s Miranda July

Miranda July follows up her lovely and deft first-time film (and 2005 Palm D’Or winner at Cannes) “Me, You and Everyone We Know” with “The Future,” opening today in limited release. The film strikingly asks these timeless questions: What happens to your soul if you fail to recognize your deepest longings? Will having a child change our lives/make me old/limit my possibilities forever? Can we live without ever having really lived at all, without truly […]

REVIEW: “Another Earth” Is Otherworldly, Low-Key Perfection

REVIEW: “Another Earth” Is Otherworldly, Low-Key Perfection

Actress-producer-co-writer of “Another Earth” Brit Marling lights up the screen in this truly wonderful, low-key “sci-fi romance,” which she co-wrote with director Mike Cahill. The film was one of the toasts of Sundance, and is an extremely low-budget mediation on destiny and the concept of “what if there were another YOU out there?” Marling plays Rhoda Williams, a bright, pretty seventeen-year old about to graduate high school, happily celebrating her acceptance into MIT’s astrophysics program. […]

Great Date Movie! Delhi Belly-opening today

Great Date Movie! Delhi Belly-opening today

“Delhi Belly” is the hilarious, raunchy and new Bollywood Movie from director Abhinay Deo, starring international dream guy Imran Khan, along with Vir Das and Kunaal Roy Kapur playing his hapless yet sweet roommates. In an almost old Hollywood twist of mistaken identity, and strange, missing bag of something mysterious (Drugs? Money? What?), “Delhi Belly” is really so much fun, like a sweeter, more Eastern version of a deft Judd Apatow film. This is also […]

Azazel Jacobs’ New Film “Terri” Will Win Your Heart

Azazel Jacobs’ New Film “Terri” Will Win Your Heart

“Terri,” the new film by Azazel Jacobs (“Momma’s Man”) starring John C. Reilly and newcomer Jacob Wysocki, is a wholly new and refreshing coming-of-age film. Wysocki plays the lead character Terri Thompson in “Terri” ( a pretty astonishing star turn), an overweight high school student who is abandoned by his parents to his mentally flagging Uncle James (Creed Bratton of “The Office,” doing a complete and memorable 180 from anything we’ve seen him in) in […]