Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: While We’re Young

Noah Baumbach channels his inner Woody Allen in this new comedy starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Adam Driver
Indie filmmaker and prototypical New Yorker Noah Baumbach found mainstream success in 2005 with his semi-autobiographical The Squid and the Whale, which was inspired by his adolescent years (and his parents' messy divorce) in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope (in its pre-gentrified days). In recent years, the now 45-year-old Baumbach appears to have found much inspiration in the classic films of Woody Allen.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Merchants of Doubt

Ken Korman reviews Robert Kenner’s spin doctor documentary.
It tells you much about the documentary Merchants of Doubt that charismatic magician Jamy Ian Swiss provides the film's first narrative voice. Swiss is understandably dismayed by the film's primary subjects — under-qualified "experts" who appear on TV news programs to cloud or distort results of scientific research and sew doubt about the dangers of cigarette smoke, environmental chemicals and the film's true focal point, climate change.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: The Wrecking Crew

A documentary about a 1960s band of studio musicians that worked with the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and more
The unsung heroes of rock 'n' roll can get their due if documentary filmmakers have anything to say about it. Recent films have shed light on background singers (20 Feet From Stardom) and brilliant, influential bands that didn't find recognition in their own time (Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me).

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Red Army

Gabe Polsky’s documentary about the Soviet Union’s national Red Army hockey team
How many sports documentaries begin with a film's primary subject — arguably the greatest player of his generation in a major international team sport — flipping off the film's director? None, but that's only because writer/director Gabe Polsky's remarkable Red Army can hardly be described as a sports documentary.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Mary Dore’s documentary about the modern women’s liberation movement
Historical documentarians are made to put complex events in perspective through clarity and insight that only emerge over time. If the subject is rich enough, they also can assemble little known or long-forgotten stories to reveal larger historical truths.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Timbuktu

The award-winning film about the effects of sharia law in Mali plays at Indywood
What seems like serendipity in the timing of a film's release sometimes signifies prescience and vision on the part of the filmmaker. Award-winning writer/director Abderrahmane Sissako (Waiting for Happiness) read a brief account in a Parisian newspaper in 2012 about a couple with two children in northern Mali who were stoned to death for their unmarried status.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Mr. Turner

Mike Leigh’s biography of a 19th-century painter is an immersive period piece
Six of the eight films made by British director Mike Leigh in the last 20 years have earned Oscar nominations, but it's hard to name a filmmaker less concerned with the commercial pressures of Hollywood. From his breakthrough early films Life Is Sweet and Naked to recent successes like Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake, Leigh has crafted stark, realistic stories about working-class people told with humor, insight and compassion.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Girlhood

Celine Sciamma’s film about four French teenagers plays at Zeitgeist through Feb. 26
French director Celine Sciamma says she was unaware of Richard Linklater's landmark film Boyhood when she decided to change the name of her film Bande de Filles (which translates as "Gang of Girls") to Girlhood for U.S. distribution. Whatever the origins of the name, Sciamma's film has little in common with Linklater's.  While Boyhood effectively celebrates the ordinary by showing how all lives are remarkable when viewed from the right perspective, Girlhood confronts a specific and little-seen world.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Two Days, One Night

Marion Cotillard earns her latest Academy Award nomination in this naturalistic drama
There's no mistaking the work of Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. After founding a company in 1977 that has produced dozens of groundbreaking documentaries, the Dardenne brothers launched a second career making narrative films that illuminate the everyday lives of working-class people in their native Wallonia, a French-speaking area in southern Belgium.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Still Alice

Julianne Moore gives a fine performance, but Ken Korman says the movie never builds dramatic tension
Can a film be important without being great? Still Alice is based on Lisa Genova's best-selling novel and was written and directed by indie filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: A Most Violent Year

Ken Korman reviews J.C. Chandor’s drama starring Oscar Isaac
There are good reasons why so many of today's films are set in the 1970s and early '80s. Many filmmakers who grew up in that era have reached their prime and find themselves ready to explore personal and cultural roots.

Film: Previews and Reviews

Review: Force Majeure

Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund’s black comedy-meets-existential drama feels a bit like Stanley Kubrick
The French phrase force majeure translates to a superior or irresistible power. In contract law, that meaning is expanded to describe an event (an "act of God") that excuses a party from living up to a contractual obligation, and that concept haunts innovative Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund's Force Majeure.

Film: Previews and Reviews

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Recently Featured Film

Review: Merchants of Doubt

Ken Korman reviews Robert Kenner’s spin doctor documentary.

Review: The Wrecking Crew

A documentary about a 1960s band of studio musicians that worked with the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and more

Review: Red Army

Gabe Polsky’s documentary about the Soviet Union’s national Red Army hockey team

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