Frontline: The Interrupters

Reviewer: Craig Phillips
Ratings (out of five): ****

With a title that makes it sound like an action film, Steve James' new documentary The Interrupters actually is an action film in a way -- it's about the brave actions of a few reformed souls who try to do some good in a world of violence. James, who co-directed the masterful epic Hoop Dreams, one of the most important documentaries of the past thirty years, returns to Chicago for this story of those who call themselves "interrupters," people who try to mediate gang-related disputes before they escalate into violence.

The film, based on a book by Alex Kotlowitz, has a remarkably fluid, fly on the wall style of which Frederick Wiseman would approve. Though snubbed by this year's Oscars, it did at least win the Indie Spirit Award for Best Documentary.

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Tiny Furniture (Criterion)

Reviewer: Philip Tatler IV
Ratings (out of five): *** 1/2

The Criterion Collection’s release of Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture has been met with much consternation from a certain type of cinephile. Dunham – the argument goes – is too young, too amateurish and too privileged to receive the imprimatur of the venerated DVD label, especially with her first film. For many basement-dwelling film theorists, the Criterion label is sacrosanct – the equivalent of cinematic sainthood – and Dunham’s inclusion represents a type of apostasy.

I first caught up with Tiny Furniture after reading all the outraged blog posts (about a year before the actual DVD release) and braced myself for the worst. It wasn’t bad. Then, a year later, I received the reviled DVD in the mail and – before my second viewing – dove deep into the disc’s ample extras.

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Being Flynn Prize Pack Giveaway!

Being Flynn is the new dramatic feature from Academy Award-nominated writer/director Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Adapted from Nick Flynn's 2004 memoir Another Bulls—t Night in Suck City, the movie explores bonds both unbreakable and fragile between parent (Robert De Niro) and child (Paul Dano).

Evocatively told, ruefully funny, and moving in its depiction of the ties that bind, Being Flynn tells a story that reveals universal truths.

We've got a prize pack up for grabs to celebrate the film's Friday (3/2) release!

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New and Coming Releases: Feb 28, 2012.

     

Though not as big a winner at the Oscars as The Artist, Hugo still came up big this awards season. Check it out among other winners for rent, this week! 

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GreenCine Oscar Night Tweetup 2012!

GreenCine writers and special guests will be  live tweeting the Oscars on Sunday night,  February 26, 2012. Join us for some live, rapier (t)wit! 

Use the hashtag #OscarsGC on twitter and you'll join us here, or follow the hashtag on your Twitter application of choice. Together, we can get through the Oscar night goofiness.

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Three Outlaw Samurai (Criterion)

Reviewer: Philip Tatler IV
Ratings (out of five): ****

In Hideo’s Gosha’s Three Outlaw Samurai, the title characters aid peasants in their struggle against corrupt overlords. While this plot synopsis (and even the title of the film) suggests a sort of miniature version of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, the parallel is misleading. Both films are rousing adventures and represent the pinnacle of the chambara/samurai genre. But, for all of its swordplay and suspense, Gosha’s film is a bitter depiction of how evil can prevail even when good men do something to prevent it.

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A Rare Brand of Honesty: Robert Kramer's Milestones / Ice

Reviewer: Simon Paul Augustine
Ratings (out of five): Milestones ****
Ice ** 1/2 

“I was having this dream, the feeling of a gap between what I believe in, and what my life is like day to day…” – from Milestones

 

Even in the context of underground cinema of the late 60’s and 70’s, Robert Kramer’s Milestones stands as a dizzying confluence of genres and styles, reality and fiction. Kramer is a prominent figure in the American DIY scene that existed forty years ago – a time when auteurs outside the Hollywood system, in lieu of the unprecedented access to video and computer technology that fuels today’s indies, were heir to a tradition that used real film stock and mother-of-invention ingenuity to plumb the possibilities of how celluloid, including its physical tangibility, could harnessed for expression. Part of a lineage that included predecessors like Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger, Kramer and his contemporaries merged text, still images, graphic design, and unconventional, daring editing and sound choices in endless ways.

Continue Reading A Rare Brand of Honesty: Robert Kramer's Milestones / Ice

New and Coming Releases: Feb 21, 2012.

    

We've got some great titles for rent to get you in the mood for the Oscars this weekend. Stay tuned for our complete list of Oscar nominees for rent! 

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: Feb 21, 2012.

The Sons of Tennessee Williams

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Ratings (out of five): ** (round up 1/2 if you're keen on the subject)

Watching the extremely retro documentary The Sons of Tennessee Williams, directed, edited, written and produced by Tim Wolff, it's hard not to wonder at the rather shockingly old-fashioned attitudes, interests, and behavior of the gay denizens of New Orleans and its environs, as they reminisce and ready themselves for a relatively recent Mardi Gras ball.

Granted, this is all about Mardi Gras, a time when letting loose and having fun is evidently paramount. (I have never been to Mardi Gras or to carnival in Rio, so I can't claim to understand what all the fuss is about.) Still, Mr. Wolff's concentration on dressing up in drag as the be-all and end-all of gay liberation seems a bit much. While the press materials hails this as a history of the earliest civil right movement for gays in the U.S.A. -- and time-wise this indeed appears to be true -- the interests of the men shown here seem to begin and end with dressing up in drag and getting away with it. This is certainly a part of gay liberation, for some, but making a whole movie around it is a tad circumscribed, no?

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New and Coming Releases: Feb 14, 2011.

   

Happy Valentine's Day to our sweet GreenCiners! Though this week doesn't feature much in the way of romance, there's plenty to enjoy in the way of vampires, teachers, men hell-bent on revenge, and more. 

Continue Reading New and Coming Releases: Feb 14, 2011.

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