Category Archives: Indie Films

Paddleton (2019) Movie Review

Michael (Mark Duplass) sits in a doctor’s office listening to his diagnosis. Andy (Ray Romano) stands at his side. They’re friends, of a sort, though their go-to descriptor for the relationship is “neighbor.” As Andy tries to wrap his head around Michael’s diagnosis—cancer, most likely of the terminal variety—he stammers. Flustered, he tries to get a straight answer out of the doctor, who has nothing to offer.

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Then, Michael and Andy go about their regular day. They play a racquetball variation called “Paddleton.” They watch the same kung-fu movies on VHS. They do puzzles together. They say little and share a lot.

Paddleton takes the very serious subject of Continue reading Paddleton (2019) Movie Review

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Screener Season 2018 Reviews – Burning, The Tale, Destroyer, The Sisters Brothers

It is the busiest time of year for the film world. With awards season on the horizon, studios are juicing voter ballots with For Your Consideration screeners. As I was recently granted membership into the Online Film Critics Society, this the first year where I myself have been given the honor of receiving these promotional screeners.

Unfortunately, this is also Continue reading Screener Season 2018 Reviews – Burning, The Tale, Destroyer, The Sisters Brothers

Eighth Grade (2018) Movie Review

Bo Burnham is a stand-up comic with a distinct style. Semi-musical, semi-poetic, always frantic and unpausing, he skewers media and self-reflexively dissects the public perception of artistry. “Art is dead,” he sings in one song. “Some people think you’re funny / how do we get those people’s money?” His seemingly cynical take on the entertainment industry is curbed by his indictment of self. He implicates himself—“My drug’s attention / I am an addict / but I get paid to indulge in my habit”—in order to subvert the creator-as-god mentality.

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Some of the conversation around Eighth Grade, Burnham’s debut as a feature film director, is about the Continue reading Eighth Grade (2018) Movie Review

Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

The teenage bildungsroman is a common narrative formula. Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s directing debut (she also serves as screenwriter), may be another addition to the list, but it does not feel like another tired addition. If anything, it exists in this long line of coming of age films as as much of a standout as the film’s eponymous role: a personality so bold and big but also honest that it demands to be taken on its own merits.

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This is undoubtedly caused by Gerwig’s distinct presence. Even as a first-time director, it is clear that this is uniquely Continue reading Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review

Anatomy of Hell (2004) Movie Review

This review of Catherine Breillat’s Anatomy of Hell is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

In Anatomy of Hell, a woman (Amira Casar) pays a homosexual man (Rocco Siffredi) to watch her in her bedroom. This is after she saunters through a gay bar, committing herself to the tragic isolation of none of them wanting anything to do with her, and slits her wrist in the bathroom.

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The things she has him experience in her room are sexual, to a degree. They are pornographic only insofar as they extend to Continue reading Anatomy of Hell (2004) Movie Review

Romance (1999) Movie Review

This review of Catherine Breillat’s Romance is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

“You don’t deserve my faithfulness”

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The complicated sexuality of Romance is problematic. Not entirely so, as the film explores a side of sexuality that is often left unexplored. But the screenplay reduces sexual philosophy to a binary matter. Even when the shoe is on the opposite foot, entering the perspective of Continue reading Romance (1999) Movie Review

Brigsby Bear (2017) Video Review

 

 

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)