Michael Atkinson

13 Review

Géla Babluani's 13 Tzameti (2005) is a superb, disconcerting, seismic French nightmare in a minor key, and so, of course, Babluani's Americanized remake (awaiting distribution for more than a year and a half) lumbers, stumbles, and blows all its secrets at the outset. Russian roulette standoff, stacks of dollars, then......

My Reincarnation Review

A mellow doc that seems all set to cash in on the "spirituality" market, Jennifer Fox's new film was actually in production for more than 20 years, beginning when Yeshi Silvano Namkhai was a half-Italian acne-victim teen just learning that he'd been dubbed the reincarnation of a famous Tibetan yogi......

Atrocious Review

A Spanish Blair Witch DIY-er with a nutsy preemptive title, this trifle scoots and skitters along guilelessly, as if the mock-doc horror trope hasn't already been tourist-trampled to death. Here, a teenage brother-sister pair of web-show "paranormal investigators" take their equipment with them as their family vacations in a long-shuttered country house,......

Leap Year Review

Serotonin depletion is a common metabolic state in Mexican movies, but this unsettling indie, the Camera d'Or–winning debut of Michael Rowe, an Australian-born writer living in Mexico, follows the black dog to the cliff's edge. Essentially a study of brutal loneliness, the film is set entirely in one cheap apartment......

Orphan Ante: Ephemera and Freak films at Filmforum and UCLA

The UCLA Film & Television Archive and Los Angeles Filmforum are partnering to present a weekend of events feting "orphan" films, which are merely movies without traceable copyright ownership or a substantial role to play in the marketplace. The archive industry strives, via DVDs and minifestivals like this one, to......
Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor find A Place in the Sun.

TCM Classic Film Festival: 12 Highlights

BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956) Barbara Rush plays opposite James Mason in Nicholas Ray's most delirious domestic drama, the tale of a schoolteacher (Mason) who is thrown by the tedium of suburban life into CinemaScope-sized megalomania. Cyril Hume and Richard Maibum's script could have made a topical, conservative melodrama about the......
Patricio Guzman with camerawoman Katel Djian; Credit: PHOTO BY CRISTOBAL VICENTE

Patricio Guzman Retrospective at UCLA

Plenty of major documentary makers have dedicated themselves to being portraitists of their homeland, but no one has done it as relentlessly and righteously as Patricio Guzmán, for 35 years Chile's defiant verité John the Baptist and activist laureate. Born in 1941 in Santiago and a comfortable middle-classer, Guzmán was......
Nostalgia for the Light; Credit: PHOTO COURTESY OF ICARUS FILMS

Nostalgia for the Light review

Chile's self-appointed one-man Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Patricio Guzmán has devoted the past four decades to chronicling the short-lived Allende administration and the Pinochet dark ages that followed, long after his countrymen wanted him to stop. At first blush, though, Nostalgia for the Light, his new documentary, detours toward astronomy,......

Wrecked

WRECKED Yet another trapped-actor microthriller, this raw-nerved indie opens with shuddering organic close-ups too abstracted for comfort. Director Michael Greenspan eventually inches back to reveal cornea-traumatized Adrien Brody waking in a crushed car, deep in the mountains where there are no roads, his leg pinned under the dashboard and his......

White Irish Drinkers

WHITE IRISH DRINKERS Shouldering a title that's redundant twice over, John Gray's Noo Yawker indie is a stubborn throwback to the Sundance-fueled, ethnic-neighborhood movie of the early '90s, when every film-school grad with a fresh head full of Mean Streets decided he would be the next Scorsese. Here it's "Brooklyn,......
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