Wanderland

Though major studios used to crank them out by the truckload, today the movie musical is a fairly infrequent occurrence—not just because they’re commercially risky but because the genre itself is an inherently ambitious undertaking. There have been som…

Though major studios used to crank them out by the truckload, today the movie musical is a fairly infrequent occurrence—not just because they’re commercially risky but because the genre itself is an inherently ambitious undertaking. There have been some moderately successful attempts in recent years at making musicals on an indie micro-budget (“Once,” “Colma,” Damien […]

Film Review: ‘Pick of the Litter’

Short of “Toddlers in Bunny Onesies: The Movie,” it’s hard to think of a film concept more guaranteed to elicit the “Awwwww…” factor than that demonstrated by “Pick of the Litter.” Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s fourth documentary feature as co-directors follows five Labrador puppies as they undergo the lengthy training process to become guide […]

Short of “Toddlers in Bunny Onesies: The Movie,” it’s hard to think of a film concept more guaranteed to elicit the “Awwwww…” factor than that demonstrated by “Pick of the Litter.” Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s fourth documentary feature as co-directors follows five Labrador puppies as they undergo the lengthy training process to become guide […]

Film Review: ‘The Devil We Know’

The list of modern conveniences that will sooner or later take a toll on your — or somebody’s — health gets a lot longer with “The Devil We Know.” Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary exposes the apparently decades-long efforts by the DuPont corporation to deny the adverse effects of chemicals used in the manufacture of Teflon kitchenware, […]

The list of modern conveniences that will sooner or later take a toll on your — or somebody’s — health gets a lot longer with “The Devil We Know.” Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary exposes the apparently decades-long efforts by the DuPont corporation to deny the adverse effects of chemicals used in the manufacture of Teflon kitchenware, […]

Film Review: ‘A Boy. A Girl. A Dream’

“Shampoo” meets “Medicine for Melancholy” (or “Before Sunrise”) in Qasim Basir’s two-hander “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream” — though with its protagonists largely lost in their own thoughts, this tale of strangers meeting on the night of the 2016 U.S. presidential election substitutes a poetical moodiness for those earlier films’ bantering garrulousness. One of […]

“Shampoo” meets “Medicine for Melancholy” (or “Before Sunrise”) in Qasim Basir’s two-hander “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream” — though with its protagonists largely lost in their own thoughts, this tale of strangers meeting on the night of the 2016 U.S. presidential election substitutes a poetical moodiness for those earlier films’ bantering garrulousness. One of […]

Film Review: ‘Wrestle’

A smaller-scaled examination of sportive influence on already-hard-knocked young lives in the mode of “Hoop Dreams” and “Friday Night Lives,” “Wrestle” trains its gaze on an underdog high school’s grappling team over one eventful season’s course. Suzannah Herbert and co-director Lauren Belfer’s documentary spends at least as much time on the protagonists’ stormy personal lives […]

A smaller-scaled examination of sportive influence on already-hard-knocked young lives in the mode of “Hoop Dreams” and “Friday Night Lives,” “Wrestle” trains its gaze on an underdog high school’s grappling team over one eventful season’s course. Suzannah Herbert and co-director Lauren Belfer’s documentary spends at least as much time on the protagonists’ stormy personal lives […]

Film Review: ‘The Rescue List’

For decades most Westerners thought child labor was a thing of the past, one of those bad-old-days relics left behind with the Victorian era. But economic globalization has brought new attention to myriad surviving networks of exploitation and trafficking, many dependent on the underaged. American documentary duo Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink’s “The Rescue List” […]

For decades most Westerners thought child labor was a thing of the past, one of those bad-old-days relics left behind with the Victorian era. But economic globalization has brought new attention to myriad surviving networks of exploitation and trafficking, many dependent on the underaged. American documentary duo Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink’s “The Rescue List” […]

Film Review: ‘Aardvark’

Like the unreliable-narrator novel, the unreliable-perspective movie is a tricky proposition that can be fascinating, but requires considerable finesse. The auspicious central conceit of “Aardvark,” Brian Shoaf’s first feature as writer-director, features Zachary Quinto as a mentally ill man whose difficulty separating reality from delusion is shared with the viewer. But the film can never quite decide […]

Like the unreliable-narrator novel, the unreliable-perspective movie is a tricky proposition that can be fascinating, but requires considerable finesse. The auspicious central conceit of “Aardvark,” Brian Shoaf’s first feature as writer-director, features Zachary Quinto as a mentally ill man whose difficulty separating reality from delusion is shared with the viewer. But the film can never quite decide […]