Blank City is a scattered collage of facts and name-dropping that tries too hard to hold hands with the aficionados and the ignorants.
A dusty feature-length slideshow presented by aging hipsters.
| Original Score: 2/5
Celine Danhier assembles a worthy cast of commentators, but fails to capture the 70s East Village ethos, and the film's frenetic pacing and jumpy editing make it all but unwatchable.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Nothing in this assemblage of clips will convince anyone not already sold on the enduring artistic importance of these movements beyond the world bounded by 14th Street and the Holland Tunnel.
Contains some interesting and amusing 'No Wave' anecdotes, but director Celine Danhier doesn't form a cogent narrative spine from all of her interviews.
| Original Score: C
Often feels as inchoate as the phenomenon under discussion.
Blank City is not a great documentary. Too much is covered way too rapidly. Interviews are cut short, making room for samplings from No Wave movies.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
The biggest shortcoming of "Blank City" is that, despite its vivid portrait of the time period, we never get much sense of what the actual movies are like.
| Original Score: 2/4
The film works best as a love letter to a grubbier, poorer era in Manhattan history.
| Original Score: 3/5
... Makes you nostalgic for a cultural experience you never had.
Above all, the film is a poignant valentine to an era when artists could afford to live and work on the island of Manhattan, and the cultural ferment goosed by their low-rent lifestyle.
| Original Score: A-
This doc is interesting and worthy, but it is unlikely to send you seeking most of the films sampled in it. That was then, this is now, and it was fun while it lasted.
| Original Score: 3/4
You can't tell the urban hipsters without a scorecard.
Aacts as a time capsule of New York of that era ... being able to see all of this crazy originality unfolding chronologically really makes this a very special film.
| Original Score: 8/10
The fabled downtown Manhattan avant-filmmaking scene of yore gets its due in this passionate chronicle of cinematic rebellion.
The juxtaposition between the studiously aging talking heads and their bleakly youthful counterparts is often jarring.
Celine Danhier's documentary about New York's punk and post punk era of underground DIY filmmaking is an ecstatic examination of the artists who everything they had into creating something original.
There's a great story in there -- hundreds of them, no doubt. The only thing lacking in the raw materials of a movement that resisted definition by definition, is room for a documentary caught up in spelling things out.
| Original Score: 6/10
Somehow Ms. Danhier manages to conjure a glorious and grungy bygone past without fetishizing it as a golden age.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
"Blank City'' can't help but feel a little unfocused ... and it definitely isn't sure where to call it quits, but it's there for the moments that matter.