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Reviews for April 4th, 2014

Documentary Round-Up

      Being Ginger follows a redhead, Scott Harris, who also serves as the film's director, as he searches for a woman willing to date a ginger. That task becomes easier said than done because many women--even redheaded ones themselves--have an aversion toward dating redheads. Harris clearly establishes that while filming his attempts to pick up women at the campus of Edinburgh College where some women give their honest albeit harsh and superficial opinions. One particular woman, though, claims to like gingers, so Harris tracks her down on Facebook and goes on a date with her. The results of that date won't be revealed here, but it's worth mentioning that Harris remains candid throughout the doc which makes it all the more endearing. As the film progresses, he realizes that he's been emotionally scarred by the bullying that he had experienced during his childhood because of being a redhead. Even his own teacher, whom he confronts years later, had joined in the bullying thereby lowering his self-esteem. He probably has a great mother because she had instructed him back in his childhood days to stand in the mirror every day and say how much he likes himself out loud--although Harris says that hadn't helped him ultimately. At it's core, Being Ginger, is about someone with low self esteem who struggles to regain his self esteem and overcome past traumas. Anyone who has ever been bullied will be able to relate to this warm, inspirational and unflinchingly honest doc that's equally moving and uplifting. It opens at the Quad Cinema via Garden Thieves Pictures. The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, a doc opening at IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas via Zeitgeist Films, combines two narratives: 1) How German doctor Friedrich Ritter and his wife Dore Strauch started a new life in the previously uninhabited Galapagos Islands back in 1929. They were soon joined with others seeking refuge from civilization such as the Whittmer family and Baroness Eloise von Wagner Bosquet. 2) The inner turmoils and riff-raffs between the families that involved mysterious disappearences and possibly murder. Directors Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine fail to merge those two narratives effectively and cohesively. When they jump from one narrative to the other and then back again, the doc loses its focus and feels uneven. The scenery of the Galapagos Islands looks breathtaking (how could it not?) and the editing is quite slick, but aside from those strengths, The Galapagos Affair suffers from the systemic weakness of becoming increasingly convoluted with too much going on and too many "characters". If this were turned into a Hollywood film, it would probably have to be at least 4 hours long and exhausting; a smart studio or editor would choose between one of the two narratives instead of blending in both. The survival story remains the most fascinating one, although the murder mystery has its fair share of intrigue albeit without much in terms of evidence or solid investigation for that matter. At a running time of 118 minutes, The Galapagos Affair overstays its welcome.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo


*****Full review coming soon*****

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

Goodbye World

Directed by Denis Hennelly


*****Full review coming soon*****

Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Samuel Goldywn Films.
Opens at Village East Cinema.

Under the Skin

Directed by Jonathan Glazer


*****Full review coming soon*****

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by A24.
Opens at Regal Union Square and AMC Empire.

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