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Real-Life Libertarian Nightmare: Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family

By Michael Sandlin. From a strictly academic point of view, 26-year-old boy wonder documentarian Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family affecting ticks all the boxes of a classic “observational” mode of nonfiction film. No soundtrack, no incidental music, no voiceover — just simple unobtrusive camera work and a sharp eye for detail. It’s hard to imagine a more […]

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Strange Metamorphosis: Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe

By Thomas Puhr. “Who can prove the genuineness of feelings?” a scientist asks in Little Joe (2019). “Moreover, who cares?” These startling questions cut right to the heart of Jessica Hausner’s curious science-fiction film, which centers around a genetically-engineered flower that releases happiness-inducing chemicals. Are these feelings the plant elicits totally artificial, or are they […]

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John Waters’ Polyester: The Suburbs Arrive (Criterion Collection)

By Christopher Sharrett. Anyone viewing Polyester for the first time might be a little confused: hasn’t all this been done before? Satires or eviscerations of the suburbs have been standard fare for at least forty years. But if the viewer is watching this splendid new Criterion Blu-ray, s/he might turn the box over. The film […]

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Crafting Place Through Film – The Cultural Practice of Immigrant Filmmaking: Minor Immigrant Cinemas in Sweden 1950-1990 by Lars Gustaf Andersson and John Sundholm

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. It’s easy to see a film as a cultural object, a product, but it is much harder to conceptualize the act of filmmaking as a cultural process in and of itself. But to paraphrase the old adage, the process of creating art is sometimes more important than the end […]

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A Hunt, Sans Suspense: After the Murder of Albert Lima

By Gary M. Kramer. The earnest documentary After the Murder of Albert Lima depicts the painstaking efforts of Paul Lima to get justice by sending the man who killed his father to prison. This film, directed by Aengus James, is basically a glorified version of a reality TV show, complete with colorful bounty hunters, starring a […]

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Transnational Identities in the Dramatically Tense Synonyms

By Travis Merchant. The power of language and assimilation runs rampant throughout Synonyms (2019), Nadav Lapid’s semi-autobiographical film about an Israeli immigrant in France. Throughout the film, Yoav (Tom Mercier) is challenged to become more acclimated to French life after he runs away from his home and position in the Israeli army. The film focuses […]

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Whose Decision?: To Kid or Not to Kid

By Janine Gericke. “When are you having kids?” on my wedding day people half joking (but not really) asked me. Most women ask themselves this very question, but the answer isn’t always clear. When my editor asked if I wanted to review Maxine Trump’s (absolutely no relation) documentary To Kid or Not to Kid, I […]

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The Irishman: Requiem for Very Little

By Christopher Sharrett. It has been some time since Martin Scorsese has interested me, his achievements in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull still notable, but faded a bit with time. His work in the last twenty-five years has occasionally had virtues (The Age of Innocence), but there have been too many misjudgments like Shutter Island […]

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An Author’s World, Extended: George Orwell on Screen by David Ryan

A Book Review by Tony Williams. After reviewing the latest Criterion DVD release of Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984), I felt obligated to obtain a copy of the above book since the author’s relatively brief appearance on the company’s special edition features revealed some interesting facts worthy of pursuit. My quest was not in vain. I not only […]

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Stuck in Time: Daniel Joseph Borgman’s Resin

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. Born and raised in New Zealand, filmmaker Daniel Joseph Borgman has traveled from one of the most southernmost cities at the bottom of the planet to its near-opposite end, establishing his career as one of the more fascinating immigrants working in Denmark’s thriving film industry. Having studied at the Danish alternative film […]

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