Aug. 2, 2015

This Week's SFR Picks

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Yay Ok Meh barf

Death Came with Compassion

'The Farewell Party' takes a light-ish look at a serious subject

Ok How does one die with dignity when suffering from a progressive, painful, fatal illness? ... More

July 29, 2015 by David Riedel

Made for TV?

'A Murder in the Park' has a big-screen story but small-screen treatment

Barf This documentary has a can’t-miss story, but the filmmakers have hacked this film together as if it’s a true-crime doc on cable. ... More

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel

Manically Depressed

'Infinitely Polar Bear' understands mental illness and, better yet, isn’t afraid of it

Yay Maya Forbes, who wrote and directed Infinitely Polar Bear, made a great film rooted in her personal experiences. ... More

July 22, 2015 by David Riedel

Insects Are Heroes, Too!

Nowhere does the phrase “size doesn’t matter” appear in this 'Ant-Man' review; congratulate me on my restraint

Ok Marvel has gotten so good at making Marvel movies, it doesn’t seem to matter that it doesn’t matter that a Marvel movie isn’t firing on all thrusters. ... More

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

Traffic

'Cartel Land' shines a light on the cyclical nature of the war on drugs

Ok Cartel Land is a heartbreaking piece of cinema, it looks great and it exposes the drug war for it is. ... More

July 15, 2015 by David Riedel

A Film Critic Tried to Come up with a Snappy Headline…

Just go see 'A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence'

Yay Whatever dumb adjectives I come up with to describe it, writer-director Roy Andersson has made a masterpiece. ... More

July 08, 2015 by David Riedel

Snoozeland

It’s all glowers and dropped plot threads in 'Strangerland'

Barf This is a movie where people look sternly at each other for long periods of time and then shout, and then look sternly at each other again. ... More

July 08, 2015 by David Riedel

A Bike Lane Runs Through It

Dutch doc 'The New Rijksmuseum' reveals how art institutions do and don’t work

Yay Though it actually observes people falling asleep in meetings, the film itself is not boring. ... More

July 01, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Well, They Seem Nice

Let’s all make new friends with 'The Overnight'

Yay The establishment of intimacy, with all its confusions, frustrations and consolations, is just what interests writer-director Patrick Brice, who juices this minimal scenario with maximum efficiency. ... More

July 01, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

In Defense of Shutting In

'The Wolfpack' is a documentary about kids growing up in a locked house

Ok The Wolfpack becomes a loose laboratory study of the nature of escapism, raising such context-dependent questions as whether an obsession with Reservoir Dogs is healthy for kids. ... More

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

How Pruned Was My Garden

In 'A Little Chaos', Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet turn French history into a British period piece

Meh Alan Rickman has only directed two films now. His lack of practice is a hindrance, but not a deal-breaker on A Little Chaos. ... More

June 24, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Wastrels of the Upper West Side

Arielle Holmes gets discovered in 'Heaven Knows What'

Yay Heaven Knows What is a quasi-documentary of homeless young addicts adrift in the area that once was known as Needle Park. ... More

June 17, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Emotion Graphics

With 'Inside Out', Pixar once again gets into your heart and head

Yay A nimble ensemble piece, Inside Out exemplifies the platitudes of teamwork that seem baked in to the famously by-committee studio that produced it. ... More

June 17, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Mother of Gwyneth Paltrow Appears Confusingly Sensible

Blythe Danner’s lack of lead roles until 'I’ll See You in My Dreams' seems like excessive karmic retribution for bringing kook into world

Yay Here’s a refreshingly uncommon movie protagonist: a retiree and widow, wistfully reclusive even in the company of three bridge buddies and one fledged daughter. ... More

June 10, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Personal, Training

We don’t say the word ‘mumblecore’ even once in this review of Andrew Bujalski’s 'Results'

Yay Filmmaker Andrew Bujalski's almost (but not quite) Hollywood-style film is a comedy about fitness training that hails by the dryly ironic title of Results. ... More

June 10, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

Once More Unto the Beach

'Love & Mercy' lies in bed just like Brian Wilson did

Ok In Love & Mercy, a bedridden Brian Wilson struggles mightily with almost becoming the star child from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or something like that. ... More

June 03, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer

The Man Makes the Clothes

Design not quite within reach in 'Saint Laurent'

Ok Bertrand Bonello’s film comes on like a narcotic and presents the life of late designer Yves Saint Laurent in a series of oblique narrative vignettes. ... More

June 10, 2015 by Jonathan Kiefer
 
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