Born in Little Rock, Ark., writer-director Jeff Nichols has slowly established himself as a strong force in independent film with his first two features, “Shotgun Stories” and “Take Shelter,” which took place in rural, working-class communities and starred the serpent-eyed Michael Shannon.
In his third film, the new “Mud,” a slightly bigger star, Matthew McConaughey, takes over the lead; Shannon gets a potent little supporting role. Read More
Its title and story may stem from “Snow White,” but “Blancanieves” is nothing like the soulless, effects-laden action spectacles that the thought of yet another fairy tale-rooted movie brings to mind.
This Spanish melodrama is a modestly scaled, exquisitely black-and-white, emotionally rewarding take on the Brothers Grimm fable.
It is also a classy, quirky salute to silent-era cinema.
Written and directed by Pablo Berger (“Torremolinos 73”), the film, like “The Artist,” celebrates silent movies and presents itself in the form of a silent movie. Read More
Many documentaries have been made about the movies, but none of them are quite like “Room 237.”The film is a work of criticism, scholarship, obsession and paranoia — all devoted to one movie: Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
Director Rodney Ascher interviews five people — journalist Bill Blakemore, professor Geoffrey Cocks, author and playwright Juli Kearns, performer and musician John Fell Ryan, and hermetic scholar Jay Weidner — who have one thing in common: an unhealthy obsession with “The Shining.” Read More
Max Thieriot is slightly concerned that people may take “Disconnect” the wrong way.
“I don’t want people to think that it’s a movie that says the Internet is bad,” the actor says. “It’s a wake-up call, showing how disconnected we are from each other in general, how we’ve lost touch.”
In the intriguing indie film directed by Henry Alex Rubin, Thieriot plays a charismatic teen who sells sex on an adults-only website. He comes to the attention of a news reporter looking for a juicy story. Read More
Three morally slippery protagonists form a shaky alliance in an effort to get their hands on a valuable painting in director Danny Boyle’s “Trance,” a sensorially dazzling but dramatically disappointing brio-noir thriller from the usually efficient British director.
Too many twists obscure the human element in this movie in which Boyle — who made the 1990s decorum-busting black comedies “Shallow Grave” and “Trainspotting” and 2008’s crowd-pleasing “Slumdog Millionaire” — explores heist-drama and “Inception”-style brain-twister terrain. Read More
“To the Wonder,” Terrence Malick’s sixth film in 40 years, has much in common with his last film, 2011’s “The Tree of Life.”
Dealing with some of the same themes, including a father who can’t open his heart, it also is more intimate and more immediate, without the dinosaurs or outer-space scenes of “Tree of Life.” Read More
The proverb “Time waits for no man” has never seemed more poignant than in the face of “Christian Marclay: The Clock” — an unnervingly spellbinding, 24-hour cinematic opus.
Marclay’s video montage, on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through June 2, uses thousands of film clips to show all 1,440 minutes in the day, each minute visually represented by a timepiece in the film: a clock, watch, sundial, etc. Despite the dizzying number of clips, it becomes one singular, very shrewd film. Read More
A wonder of an independent film, Adam Leon’s “Gimme the Loot” — opening today — is quick, lean and economical.
It gets great performances out of newcomers and uses natural locations to brilliant effect. It’s not precious or gimmicky. Above all, it’s highly entertaining.
The determined Leon, who wanted to be a filmmaker since he was 4, didn’t go to film school: “At my college, there was this great DVD library, so I’d watch a movie every night and did my own cinema studies,” he says. Read More
As its fishmonger protagonist slides down toward madness while pursuing a shot at TV stardom, the Italian fable “Reality” contains nothing unique or revelatory. But between the plot dots, this fantastical journey and neorealist comedy (yes, there is such a thing) is a skillfully spun, entertaining tale about how people equate fame and flash with human worth. Read More
Derek Cianfrance’s new film, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” is going to mess with people’s expectations.
In his followup to the powerful “Blue Valentine,” which went back and forth between two timelines, Cianfrance again plays with structure.
“I was conscious not to repeat the same structure, but I’m still a structuralist,” says Cianfrance, recently in The City to promote the movie.
“I’m fascinated by the shape of things. Whereas ‘Blue’ was a duet, this is a triptych. It’s also a film about lineage, so I felt it needed to be linear,” he says. Read More