This Ain't California - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

This Ain't California Reviews

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Pamela Jahn
Electric Sheep
December 8, 2013
Whether faux found footage or not, This Ain't California is a joy ride, and not only for skateboarders or anyone else who experienced life on either side of the Berlin Wall.
Peter Bradshaw
December 5, 2013
There are some intriguing concepts here, but they are muddied by the needless flights of undeclared fancy, coming close to bad faith.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
December 5, 2013
Fooling an audience should surely be done with honest and open mischief, not with sheepish postscripts from film-makers hoping we might have been hornswoggled.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jennifer Tate
December 5, 2013
A moving and energetic portrait, cushioned by a punching soundtrack, that poignantly tells the story of a carefree period in three teenage skateboarders' lives growing up in the German Democratic Republic.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine
December 1, 2013
A fun and frothy mock-doc with a message buried in its axle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Emma Simmonds
Total Film
October 29, 2013
Persiel's film entertains, but the nagging sense that it's mostly a ruse limits true engagement.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Glenn Dunks
September 8, 2013
The documentary examines how the American hip-hop movement-exposed to those of the GDR ... and in particular skateboarding and beatboxing were seen as creative outlets for the oppressed youth of the nation that had succumbed to 'grey boredom'.
CJ Johnson
ABC Radio (Australia)
April 30, 2013
Even knowing the artifice, it's an excellent and extremely enjoyable film. Indeed, knowing the artifice, it's way more impressive ... However true it isn't, it's a lovely evocation of what might have been.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
David Noh
Film Journal International
April 16, 2013
Prize-winning documentary paints an affecting tale of young GDR rebels on wheels, but is marred by a busy, self-conscious aesthetic approach.
Christopher Campbell
Film School Rejects
April 14, 2013
A masterpiece of editing and re-creation resulting in one of the most enthralling stories of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
April 12, 2013
"This Ain't California" offers a vivid immersion in the hidden skateboarding culture of the former East Germany.
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Sara Stewart
New York Post
April 12, 2013
A trove of home videos, vintage commercial and propaganda footage and black-and-white animation dress up this energetic if somewhat unfocused look at the birth of skateboarding in the German Democratic Republic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Kevin Jagernauth
The Playlist
April 11, 2013
What the director is perhaps aiming for is a documentary of feeling rather than historical accuracy...the filmmaking is so accomplished that any potential notions of being hoodwinked can be forgiven.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
April 9, 2013
It ain't bad, though all that detritus detracts from a far more interesting history lesson on repression and rebellion that's left on the periphery.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Ernest Hardy
Village Voice
April 9, 2013
Martin Persiel's splendid "documentary" could well be subtitled "And It Ain't the Truth."
Drew Hunt
Slant Magazine
April 8, 2013
While the film is deeply romantic and nostalgic, possessing a genuine reverence for youth and rebellion, it's also something of a tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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