The Congressman (2016)
"Mr. Smith Does Not Go To Washington. Hey, a dramatic film actually about something. In this case, Treat Williams does dismayed and dropping out of DC politics, as The Congressman. But first invoking Sen. Margaret Chase Smith denouncing McCarthy back then."
"A rare female role as smart and fearless for an actress, in this feminist investigative thriller. Not to mention buried metaphorical truths in folklore about the plight of women, in this case historical male envy and ensuing domination over female bodies."
Shadow World (2016)
"What do Reagan, Thatcher, Tony Blair and Obama have in common? According to Shadow World, plenty. And having to do with covert roles as brokers for the arms trade in perpetrating endless war, 35,000 lobbyists, and a corporate coup d'etat in slow motion."
My Scientology Movie (2017)
"BBC reporter Theroux ventures into the murky depths of the intimidating religious corporate empire. Casting himself as protagonist on a co-journey with a former leader turned whistleblower defector. While uncovering why the Feds gave the church a pass."
"An unconventionally conceived workplace horror movie and surreal home invasion thriller. But more impressively visual than visceral, as cityscape craft upstages storytelling, conceding to gore that ultimately loses its way in search of character depth."
"The most talked about film not at Tribeca. With Vaxxed axxed as unintended but hardly unrelated sequel of sorts, both implicating the US medical industrial complex interests more freaked about prospective lawsuits in the billions. Tobacco industry alert."
Peace Officer (2015)
"Or more likely not. An explosive investigative documentary about the deadly militarization of police in this country. And one of its victims - ironically a Utah sheriff who first introduced SWAT teams into his state. An emotionally shattering revelation."
Jack of the Red Hearts (2015)
"Youth in social and economic crisis today converges with autism, and struggling to come of age in this troubled world. Based on the challenges of the director raising her own autistic child, and raw and real mixed with plenty of tough love empathy too. "
"Magical realism meets agrarian guerrilla warfare in a tropical political thriller. As aborigine rainforest resistance with help from a mythical half jaguar guerrilla warrior turning up, goes toe to toe with corporate mercenaries pushing them off the land."
I Know a Woman Like That (2009)
"Virginia Madsen has spent years struggling to bring this project to fruition, a labor of love celebration of the creative lives of older women, discovering a tenacity in a society that marginalizes them, and enrichment rather than end of life resignation."
Blood Rising (2014)
"Northern Ireland meets Mexico and film meets art, in the paintings and cinema of Irish artist Brian Maguire. Whose portraits of the slain in Juarez these many years, homicide capital of the world, are an act of solidarity with the forgotten and voiceless."
"In an earnest bid to balance noir and nutty, neither benefits, in this otherwise anti-Disney fantasy freakout counting super-macho misery and objectified devious damsels in undress popping up. Perhaps revealing more about the filmmaker than anything else."
Like Sunday, Like Rain (2015)
"Gossip Girl royalty Meester does opposite side of the tracks raw and real here, when it comes to emotional domestic violence, economic class divisions and youth financial struggles today. But the incessant background music is this film's own worst enemy."
Treading Water (2015)
"A freshly conceived combo coming of age unorthodox romance, channeling amphibious desires and counting as well the release of an inner mermaid at the local swimming pool. In a story whose whimsically if far fetched flights of fancy somehow stay afloat."
"Will gets into pulling off the somehow simultaneous unusual challenge of getting into the trickster head of his artful dodger character Nicky manipulating the world around him, and impressing the audience with believable master con moves as well."
Queen and Country (2015)
"Boorman grasps this opportunity in a war movie, to mount an incidental battle of his own internally against a national belief system without a soul - ridiculing a military hierarchy ranging from nasty to nonsensical, and pulled off with malevolent glee. "
Ned Rifle (2015)
"Move over, Boyhood. And less Boyhood than perhaps Boy In The Hood, Hal Hartley completes his bio-trilogy half a dozen years longer than Linklater's decidedly conventional odyssey - an infinitely more dark and daring, toxically tantalizing suburban noir. "
Amira & Sam (2015)
"Army vet turned filmmaker Mullin directs this Romeo and Juliet cross-cultural post-Iraq undocumented romance touching on his own daily round trip journey from Ground Zero by day to standup by night. And, a rarely seen spotlight on Arab women in movies."
The Interview (2014)
" A State Dept consulted presidential assassination comedy, exploiting bellicose twists and turns. And related to false flags, corporation terrorism, inside jobs, a covert assault on net neutrality, and the evolving, disturbing Military Hollywood Complex. "
Turks & Caicos (2014)
"Undercover Brits and Yanks toe to toe in the tropics. As a thieves' den of sinister capitalist slackers sip post-colonial cocktails, while plotting further takeovers around the planet. Though MI5 tends to get a pass while fuming over secret CIA torture."
"A well crafted, relentlessly discomforting and disturbing, psychologically dense thriller. But would you trust say, the NSA to police itself? Namely, a hit list here of small screen competition and annoying paparazzi. Omission Alert, just sayin' is all. "
Two Days, One Night (2014)
"Many films probe the tragic lives scarred by joblessness or underemployment during this economic crisis, but few delve into going about somehow confronting those issues . And in the case of this film, the triumph of the human spirit despite everything."
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
"Le Carre flips the script and reinvents himself too, from the Cold War to the War on Terror in this coincidentally ripped from the headlines Euro-spy thriller. In this cat and mouse CIA and now NSA by implication face-off, redefining heroes and villains. "
War Story (2014)
"Exemplary actress Keener, through no fault of her own, is stuck in this sulky melodrama as a photographer scarred in war torn Libya. As for that conflict, forget about it. This could just as well be about deep depression brought on by a bad hair day. "
"Mia's intensely grueling performance distills abundant muted fury from the relatively minimalist material. Not unlike say, Kevin Costner's similar weighty existential pilgrimage, here conveyed in her own Dances With Camels in the Australian wilderness."
Very Good Girls (2014)
"Though Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen are just too old to pull off playing graduating high schoolers, they're more than entitled to a pass here for the extraordinary depth, passion and complexity they bring to their coming of age female characters."
"Taking the bratty teen genre out of the sitcom and into the African wilds minus Africans, doesn't do either much good in this Euro-safari female action hero thriller. Touching on surviving a surly stepchild as much as assorted villains along the way."
"A disturbing and devastating descent into Third world poverty, exploitation and desperation, more often than not mere backdrop to the social insularity of most other movies. Yet weighing in provocative ways, struggle and exploitation as inevitably bound."
Fed Up (2014)
"Fed Up makes a convincing case for how profiteering factory food corporations conspire to hook people on addictive ingredients they pack into their products. Along with weirdly coopting Michelle Obama to deceptively promote exercise as the obesity cure."
Smetto quando voglio (2014)
"Ironically titled I Can Quit Whenever I Want, this raucous class revenge satire tracks impoverished academic eggheads collaborating in crime to survive. A dark parody of Italian bourgeois rage, in the web of the downwardly mobile EU economic disaster."
Lucky Them (2014)
"A zany collection of colorful characters while concurrently probing scarred emotions and existential angst, nicely blending the daffy and dark sides of life. Along with the ambiguity of fame, and the essentials of existence that get lost in the process."
"A compact but cautiously reverential film portrait of the late, brutally eloquent social commentator. While delving into whatever happened to the phenomenon of the literary celebrity, of which Vidal counted himself the last of that breed - and why."
Yves Saint Laurent (2014)
"On rare occasions a movie says more about a time and place by just displaying that world rather than dissecting or divulging it, and this lavish male-centric biopic seemingly unintentionally, does just that. Yves Saint Laurent: A man and his 'man'equins."
Redwood Highway (2014)
"Knight shines in this contemplative, unrushed road movie on foot, with a rare, respectful focus on the existential despair of an older woman. And a solitary journey that is a female take on voyaging through those woods that are lovely, dark and deep."
The Girl and Death (2014)
"With far too much focus on form and feeling rather than a coherent story and character depth, the filmmaker diminishes what the meaning of cinema is all about. And opts instead for the silent imagery and still gaze more suited to the medium of fine art."
"Carol Kane infuses this eccentric scarred woman with vividly captivating charm. In a story delicately deciphering with patient clarity and sensitivity, raw human feeling linked to the many layers dwelling beneath the emotional meaning of material things."
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)
"A boisterous anger mismanagement road movie of sorts - if you count chasing all around Brooklyn back streets in part by hijacked taxi. With Robin Williams lending depth to a furiously flaky role, while Kunis plays doctor as guilt tripping femme fatale."
Walk Of Shame (2014)
"Banks telegraphs a sassy strut in this mean streets LA underbelly romp. A satirically served up slice of life flaky fugitive satire, bent on pegging the really shameful party here - a commercial media whose narrow focus ranges from dishonest to shallow."
Devil's Knot (2014)
"Devil's Knot or Devils Not? Egoyan deciphers difference intolerance. And though criticism has been about skimming over facts, that may be a bid for something new and different, beyond the overly visited details. And delving not into so much how, as why."
Miss Meadows (2014)
"Sinister sitcomish Katie Holmes does Uzi And Harriet. Suggesting a daffy while disturbing schizoid mix in this culture - at ease with exporting a blend of Hollywood and war, and a system increasingly in bed with death squads and self-righteous torture."
"Truth as a whole lot scarier than fiction, not to mention chilling and disturbing. As this whistleblower doc thriller plays out in the increasingly pervasive US surveillance state, a sinister domestic espionage grounded in both persecution and profit."
Cesar Chavez (2014)
"Labor struggles and mass movements are the most difficult to pull off in this strictly status quo society, and the same could be said for movies re-enacting any of that suppressed US history. But this heroic and healing yet candid biopic does just that."
The Cold Lands (2014)
"Best when dramatizing how the land itself comes alive and serves as a character in its own right, resurrecting the buried history of the US Anti-Rent Resistance Movement of the 19th century. And perhaps a lesson well taught to an endangered rebel child."
Big Men (2014)
"US oil exploitation in Africa, stretching from Texas to Nigeria and Ghana, and how the director managed to infiltrate oil oligarch boardrooms and subversive jungle hideaways alike. Detailed and informative, but lacking analysis and a big perspective."
The Turning (2015)
"Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne desperate housewives down under. And as much an ordeal for admittedly clueless audiences unfamiliar with the source material as for the characters. But for those with patience, the periodic pleasures of these bracing yarns. "
Nymphomaniac: Volume II (2014)
"Magical sadism, sex noir and porn for eggheads. As genres and genitals collide, with Trier seemingly psychoanalyzing himself. And while porn dresses up bare behinds in moral taglines, he blankets his ensemble backsides with pretentious arthouse chatter. "
"Chris Evans takes charge on this truth as strange as science fiction express to nowhere, as a deprived but dashing commuter warrior on wheels. While facing off against a terror tycoon's lookalike dead ringers for the menacing hooded neo-nazis of Kiev. "
"Undercover Brits and Yanks toe to toe in the tropics. As a thieves' den of sinister capitalist slackers sip post-colonial cocktails, while plotting further takeovers around the planet. Though MI5 tends to get a pass while fuming over secret CIA torture. "
Prince Among Slaves (2008)