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Rob Nelson

Bellflower Review

Dutifully hipster-hyped at Sundance and South by Southwest, writer-director-actor Evan Glodell's testosterone-fueled fever-dream indie Bellflower impresses less for its screeching take on extended adolescent fury than for its own macho, wacko, pedal-to-metal embodiment of same. Desperate to blast his way into the white-line nightmare of the Mad Max flicks, young......

The Whistleblower Review

In Canadian director Larysa Kondracki's The Whistleblower, shot in Romania, British babe Rachel Weisz plays a poor Nebraska cop who takes a U.N. job in postwar Bosnia to investigate the sex trafficking of young women, including two Ukrainians, and unearths evidence of multinational peacekeeper complicity in the crimes (and U.S. government......
Unnatural nurture: Project Nim

Project Nim Review

Not every homo sapien who sees Project Nim will be moved to pledge membership in PETA. Still, this documentary biopic about the '70s chimp picked to endure an "experiment" in simian sign language and general neglect pulls human heartstrings as wrenchingly as any creature feature in the 45 years since......

No Fracking Way

With its jolting images of flammable tap water and chemically burned pets, New York theater director–turned-documentarian Josh Fox's Sundance-feted shocker makes an irrefutable case against U.S. corporate "fracking," the Halliburton-hatched scheme of natural gas drilling in and around the nation's shale basins. Narrating in the first person, the filmmaker begins......

The Day of the Jackal

An auteur as chameleonic (and cool) as they come, French director Olivier Assayas has cruised through multiple genres as foreplay for the big bang. Justly feted at Cannes, named for the globe-trotting Venezuelan "revolutionary"-turned-killer capitalist also known as "the Jackal," Carlos is Assayas' gangster movie. Or, serial, if one takes......
Journalists-turned-filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Restrepo: Film Is a Battlefield

Trailing a platoon of U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan, Restrepo is a nerve-jangling work of "you are there" combat correspondence. It's also being pitched as the first apolitical war documentary of the post–9/11 era. Named for the platoon's fallen medic, and for the outpost that the soldiers erect in his......
Hell on earth (Magnolia Pictures)

Surge This

Masterfully edited and cumulatively walloping, Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight turns the well-known details of our monstrously bungled Iraq war into an enraging, apocalyptic litany of fuckups. One may have already heard some or all of the absurd, shameful, appalling details that Ferguson collects —  the well-connected American kid......

Eli Roth: The Torturer Talks

{mosimage} “I think the public doesn’t care about reviews,” says Eli Roth, writer-director of Hostel Part II, which — surprise! — isn’t being shown to the press before it opens Friday on more than 2,500 screens. Still, the 35-year-old perpetrator of high-grossing “torture porn” does appreciate critical kindness when he......

Paprika

Based on a serialized novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, this loopy anime from director Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress) isn’t a movie that’s meant to be understood so much as simply experienced — or maybe dreamed. Here’s what I know for sure (and plotwise, it isn’t much): Our psychotherapist superheroine Paprika, a.k.a......

Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Shorts

Split more or less neatly into pairs, the four short Oscar-nominated docs in this program prove again that the old style-versus-substance debate is never sillier than when it’s applied to nonfiction film. That is, when this collection includes works about children orphaned by AIDS in China and extreme poverty in......