Indie Reviews

Sundance 2023 Review: DIVINITY, Provocative, Absurdist Lo-Fi Sci-Fi

There’s a fine line between ambition and pretension. It’s a line writer-director Eddie Alcazar (The Vandal, Perfect, Fuckkkyouuu) repeatedly skirts in his first feature-length film, Divinity, an absurdist, po-faced, lo-fi sci-fi film shot in gloriously luminous, numinous black-and-white. As a...

Rotterdam 2023 Review: PLAYLAND, Queer History Made Uncanny

Queer history is something of a bricolage: it's only been in recent years that much of it has been discovered, or perhaps more accurately, made public, as so often queer lives and their infinite variety had to be kept hidden...

Review: THE CIVIL DEAD, Uncomfortably Smart Take on the Boredom of Death

Probably most of us, at one time or another, have had a friend in our lives, whose friendship, after a time, became more of a burden than a gift. The friend who can't seem to read social cues or take...

Sundance 2023 Review: LA PECERA (THE FISHBOWL), Penetrating Exploration of Terminal Illness

The history of Puerto Rico is the history of colonialism. The history of Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, is the history of American imperialism. During World War II, the United States forcibly expropriated most of the...

Review: AMERICAN MURDERER, But He Looks So Friendly

Tom Pelphrey, Ryan Philippe, Idina Menzel and Jacki Weaver star in a film by Matthew Gentile, heading for international release January 30.

Sundance 2023 Review: INFINITY POOL, Brutal, Bloody, Effective Satire

Watching your own execution can change you, sometimes irrevocably. Being forced to watch said execution after paying for the one-time creation of a body double (clone) to serve as your surrogate can cause a debilitating existential crisis with apparently no...

Sundance 2023 Review: FAIR PLAY, All's Not Fair in Love and Gender War

There’s a moment in writer-director Chloe Domont’s impressively realized feature-length debut, Fair Play, when a collection of finance-bros, employees of the fictional One Crest Capital, a Manhattan-based hedge fund, half-watch a corporate-sponsored, obligatory, diversity and inclusion presentation while a newly...

Sundance 2023 Review: BIRTH/REBIRTH, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the 21st Century

[Note: Some minor spoilers follow.] Long in the public domain, Mary Shelley’s seminal 1818 novel, Frankenstein (full title: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus), has formed, shaped, and influenced popular culture and our complex, contradictory relationship with science and scientific advance...

Sundance 2023 Review: FREMONT, Observational Drama Succeeds As Unique Character Study

Independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s (Mystery Train, Down by Law, Stranger Than Paradise) influence can be easily spotted in writer-director Babak Jalali’s (Land, Frontier Blues) latest film, Fremont, a wry, droll, observational drama. From its shimmering, luminous black-and-white photography, to its...

Blu-ray Review: BERGMAN ISLAND, Mia Hansen-Løve Muses on Muses

Criterion returns to the Ingmar Bergman well, albeit indirectly.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Ventures Into EVE'S BAYOU

Samuel L. Jackson and Jurnee Smollett star in Kasi Lemmons' mysterious family drama, set in America's Deep South.

Blu-ray Review: THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT'S A RESURRECTION, The Poetics of Resistance

With only one or two 'big' names known, even among cinephines, cinema from sub-saharan Africa has often been neglected both on the festival and the art house cinema circuit. Perhaps also because of the way the filmmakers use the...

Review: THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE CHILDREN, Maybe Leave the Kids at Home Next Time

Perhaps you are a child-free person and hate kids; or are child-free and love other people's children, especially when they are difficult and you can give them back. Maybe you have and love your kids, but sometimes find parenting difficult...

Review: SKINAMARINK, The Dark Call Is Coming From Inside the House

If you are a Canadian of a certain age, or perhaps are familiar with this particular children's tune, prepare to be scarred for life. Well, I could really say that to anyone who watches Skinamarink. This both feels and looks...

Review: LAST RESORT, Jon Foo Saves His Family From a Gang of Dastardly Thieves

If the story of one man against an army of thieves in the upper floors of an unfinished building sounds familiar, it is because it is. Yet somehow, it still entertains.

Now on Blu-ray: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, Into a Cultural Revolution

Todd Haynes' absorbing documentary gets the Criterion treatment, with choice extras and an audio commentary with the director and the editors.

Review: SPEED DATING, How to Survive, One Date at a Time

Give me a break! Speed Dating The film debuts Saturday, December 10, 2022, on YouTube. The horrors of dating are vividly brought to life in the opening scenes of Jean-Paul Ly's short film. Utilizing a swirling camera, we are introduced...

Now Streaming: ASHGROVE, The Wait of the World

We often talk of, of hear about, the burdens that couples must bear as part of a long term relationship; the give and take of needs and wants, and how, if a marriage is in crisis, it can feel like...

Review: CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS, Joe Begos Paints The Holiday Season With Neon And Blood

It's Christmas Eve and fiery record store owner Tori just wants to get drunk and party, until the robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and makes her night more than a little complicated.

Review: ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED, Epic Portrait of An Artist

Director Laura Poitras illuminates the artistry and activism of photographer Nan Goldin in her Golden Lion-winning awards contender.