fbpx

Mark Holcomb

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review

What's missing from Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, first-time director Lorene Scafaria's Steve Carell vehicle misfire, is the one element any apocalypse narrative suffocates without — urgency. Scafaria, screenwriter of the chipper, inexplicably lauded Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has created an end-times comedy that's by......
Better Than Something: Jay Reatard

Better Than Something: Jay Reatard Review

Like the longhair with the foghorn falsetto it's titled after, this unfussy rock-doc profile is shaggy, sophisticated and more than a little sad. Compiled from dozens of hours of 2009 interview footage with Memphis indie-punk icon Jay Reatard (né Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.), Better Than Something: Jay Reatard captures its......

Paul Goodman Changed My Life Review

As bluntly humanist and free-ranging as its subject, this brisk take on the life of poet, sociologist, educator, psychologist, and general pain-in-the-ass gadfly Paul Goodman is as much endangered-species doc as biography. The most influential 20th-century thinker you've probably never heard of (and tough luck tracking down a copy of......

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within Review

Packing an entire season's worth of The Wire's dirty cops, self-serving politicians, serpentine plotting, and gruesome, wasteful collateral damage into just under two hours, this sequel to the 2007 Brazilian hit Elite Squad will test the ideological mettle of law-and-order conservatives and lefty peaceniks alike. That's a virtue, because though......

Bombay Beach Review

Documentary-fiction hybrids are tough to pull off, and this one stumbles hard over the fiction part. The good news is that Bombay Beach is a gorgeously shot, humane work that takes a narratively oblique approach to the impoverished residents of a community near California's ruinous Salton Sea and sketches their......

The Woman Review

Pretentious muddle trumps splattery satire in this high-minded indie button-pusher, which is only fleetingly as transgressive as its infamous Sundance-screening walkout might suggest. (That incident, a video of which is all over the Net, seems at least half-staged anyway.) Picking up where 2009's dopey The Offspring left off, The Woman......

A Bird of the Air Review

A benign boilerplate indie character study in which quirky and cute stand in for thorny and troubled, A Bird of the Air, based on the novel The Loop by Texas writer Joe Coomer, revolves around Lyman (Jackson Hurst), a thirtyish isolato who works nights for the New Mexico highway department......

Blackthorn Review

Riffing on how outlaw Butch Cassidy's life might have gone had he survived in South America, this modest oater should tickle western fans. (I assume there are a few of us left.) Blackthorn finds Cassidy (Sam Shepard) still in Bolivia, breeding horses, bedding his Indian housekeeper (Magaly Solier), and making......

Bunraku Review

A manic mishmash of tropes from video games, puppet theater, and comic books that unabashedly references Kurosawa, Tarantino, and Shaw Brothers, among others, Guy Moshe's Bunraku nevertheless achieves a stagy purity—call it cheapness if you prefer—all its own. This post-apocalyptic noir western follows a pair of drifters (pretty boys Josh......
Restless

Restless Review

Too morbid to be a crowd-pleaser à la Good Will Hunting but nowhere near as confrontationally inscrutable as Gerry, Gus Van Sant's latest, Restless — a middle-class hetero teen romance, no less — walks the line between mainstream sentimentality and dark art-house humor so effectively that it seems noncommittal. The......