Iceberg-Slapstick, visual humor has rarely been this much fun. The minimalistic plot at least feels original and surprising. It's amazing how much humor can be found without much dialogue.This is definitely a bizarre comic gem along the lines of Hukkle and funnier than any film currently playing in movie theaters. The 8 minute short before it is just as strange, inventive and funny--especially with toothless midgets who have feeding holes in their heads.
John and Jane Toll-Free-When was the last time you've seen a documentary about people working at an Indian call center? Some of the workers work during odd hours of the night and must deal with rude people on the other end of the phone. Each one is graded on their performance/level of skill at selling a variety of products. There's plenty of interesting commentary about how they view the American way of life with hopes of one day becoming wealthy in America. Overall, it's a simple yet important and powerful documentary.
Quinceañera-A well-written,entertaining film that recalls the realism found in Raising Victor Vargas . Emily Rios gives an excellent performance in her acting debut as 14 year-old Magdalena. Writer/directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland manage to create some very touching scenes that stay with you long after the film is over. Released by Sony Pictures Classics. Opens August 4th, 2006. Full Review
13 Tzameti-A refreshingly stylish and bizarre black-and-white film with genres ranging from suspenseful mystery to noir crime drama. Wildly off-beat and twisted, but writer/director Géla Babluani shows a lot of talent behind the camera. Overall, the film feels slightly like a low-budget version of Fight Club .Released by Palm Pictures. Opens July 28th, 2006 at the Film Forum. Full Review
Look Both Ways-A simple, sweet and imaginative romantic comedy! What it lacks in plot, it makes up for in its visual style, lively characters and a charming performance by Justine Clarke. Released by Kino International. Opens April 14th, 2006 at the Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Full Review
Man Push Cart- Just as simple and dull as its title suggests--although it's mildly interesting to get a glimpse of those who work behind pushcarts in New York City. Writer/director Ramin Bahrani shoots a few awkward shots of ground without a single shot of the sky. A subplot involving a cute, adopted cat is more interesting than the main plot itself which goes nowhere until the main character's cart gets stolen later in the film. Released by Films Philos. Opens September 8th, 2006 at the Angelika Film Center. Full Review
Eleven Men Out- It attempts to be funny, but mostly fails. This could have easily been as funny as In & Out , but instead the "outing" occurs within the first five minutes in the rest of the film has too much boring drama--some of which gets pretty disturbing. Overall, it's lively, but not as engaging or memorable as it could have been.
Twelve & Holding- Not as haunting and subtle as director Michael Cuesta's last film, L.I.E. , was, but it still manages to hold your attention with its different subplots of pre-teen angst. It does get a bit over-the-top in the third act, though. Released by IFC Films. Opens May 19th at the IFC Center. Full Review
Iron Island- Thoroughly fascinating with superb cinematography, but very slim on plot and character development. It often feels like a documentary, but it's not quite as powerful as it could have been. Released by Kino International. Opens March 31st, 2006 at the Cinema Village. Full Review
...And the Ugly
Old Joy- This movie makes Gerry look like an action film by comparison. Unimaginative, boring, dull, slow-paced and pointless are the words that come to mind after watching this two-character road-trip film. It begins like a horror-film as Mark and Kurt set out on the highway and get lost in the middle of nowhere. When will the madman/cannibal come out from the to attack them? Unfortunately, never. Even the cinematography has nothing going for it and the script seems very improvised and lazy. The exception is a brief stop at a diner where the script has its one funny line as if to wake you up from your deep sleep--while you're dreaming of Sideways, of course. Released by Kino International. Opens September 20th, 2006 at the Film Forum.
The Things That Hang From Trees- It often plays like a bad made-for-TV movie with a contrived, confusing and boring plot and mediocre acting at best. There's not enough tension and you never care about any of its characters.
New Directors/New Films 2006