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

On his ballot for the recent Sight and Sound poll, Weekend director Andrew Haigh cited Michael Mann’s The Insider as one of the ten best films ever made. Watching Weekend, the inclusion makes total sense. Haigh’s tightly controlled, color-coded mise-en-scene is very closely akin to Mann’s. Weekend also shares visual DNA with two other recent astonishing breakthrough films – Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Antonio CamposAfterschool. However, unlike the three filmmakers mentioned above, Haigh’s film has a deep humanity that provides a messy contrast to his visual restraint.

Blog entry 09/04/2012 - 12:42pm

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****


"Even though, sometimes, I don't know who you are, I still love you."

These words, uttered by a sweet-like-you've-never-seen-him Ewan McGregor toward the conclusion of I Love You Phillip Morris, are so fitting, both for that moment and for the two characters who make up the lion's share of the movie -- and, in fact, for so many love relationships: Do we ever really know the one we profess to love? -- that they effectively sound the theme for this unusual, surprising film. So full of quirky truth is it that, on one level, the fact that its protagonists are gay is almost beside the point. This is the film love story of the year (last year's prize went to Wendy and Lucy, demonstrating, I think, that where movies are concerned, it's the love that counts rather than the type of lovers).

Blog entry 04/13/2011 - 11:58am

Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Rating (out of 5): *****

The ragged, powerful documentary The Times of Harvey Milk captures the beloved spirit and energy of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk who was shot down and killed in 1978 -- along with mayor George Moscone -- by fellow supervisor Dan White. Astonishingly, thanks to the infamous "Twinkie Defense" -- in which he blamed his depression on too much junk food -- White was only convicted of manslaughter and served just five and a half years in prison.

Though the film will probably mean more to San Francisco residents like myself, and to gay people everywhere, it's more than that. It's a classic document about hatred and bravery that is still essential today -- if not more so. However, thanks to the success of Gus Van Sant's biopic Milk (2008), perhaps more people will turn to this earlier film for more details.

Blog entry 04/01/2011 - 10:55am

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****

Eyes Wide Open (Eynaim Pekukhot) made its New York debut early this year, as part of the 19th New York Jewish Film Festival, which was quickly followed by a limited theatrical release. This is the first full-length, narrative film from director Haim Tabakman, in which, as a co-writer, he worked with producer Rafael Katz, their “French connection” David Barrot and the film's original screenwriter Merav Doster. Together they’ve come up with a doozy of a movie about Israeli fundamentalist thinking and behaving.

An ugly film to watch (the settings -- workplace, apartment and "shul" -- could hardly be more drab and unappealing), Eyes Wide Open takes place in Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, in and around a butcher shop in which one of its leading characters, Aaron, labors and which, due to the recent death of his father, he now owns. Into Aaron's life one day comes the transient Ezri, a young man whom Aaron hires to help in the shop. (The only other major character in the film is Rivka, Aaron's wife.) Ezri is gay -- we learn this fact fairly quickly -- and Aaron soon finds himself attracted to the young man.

Blog entry 11/09/2010 - 10:41am

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