Author: Tatiana Craine

  • In “Down a Dark Hall,” Uma Thurman Schools Young Delinquents

    How far would you go to preserve the legacy of great minds? Director Rodrigo Cortés attempts to answer this in his humdrum adaptation of the 1974 young adult novel Down a Dark Hall. Troubled teen Kit (AnnaSophia Robb) is shipped off to the elite Blackwood Boarding School to outgrow her penchant for arson. There, she’s […]

  • Women Cinematographers Hold the Cards in the Must-Attend Film Series “The Female Gaze”

    To say women are underrepresented in the field of cinematography is a gross understatement. There are, of course, still gender disparities present within many of the film industry’s behind-the-camera roles, and cinematography is no exception. Going back as far as 1916, an issue of Picture Play magazine asked, “Ever heard of a woman cameraman?” Flash-forward […]

  • “Five Seasons” Is a Fine Showcase for the Breathtaking Garden Artistry of Piet Oudolf

    “It may look wild, but it shouldn’t be wild,” Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf quips to an admirer early in Thomas Piper’s gorgeous documentary Five Seasons. As the camera lingers over skeletal umbel stalks planted between tufts of long grass, it becomes clear that Oudolf has heeded this personal doctrine while meticulously cultivating some of […]

  • Lifetime Weepy or Cymbalta Commercial? “The Valley” Lets You Decide

    Writer/director Saila Kariat’s overwrought family drama The Valley hovers in the liminal space between a Lifetime weepy and a Cymbalta commercial as it follows a self-centered Silicon Valley father straining to find answers in the wake of his daughter’s suicide. Patriarch and tech entrepreneur Neal (Alyy Khan) is on the cusp of something big, having caught […]

  • Heist Flick “Carter & June” Robs Viewers of a Good Time

    Director Nicholas Kalikow’s heist flick Carter & June makes it look easy to waltz into a high-security bank vault. But not in a good way. When con artist Carter Jennings (Michael Raymond-James) can’t smooth-talk his way out of debts to local gangsters, he conjures up a plan to nab a few Gs, fast. Carter teams up […]

  • “Rogers Park” Offers a Compelling Drama About Relationships in Crisis

    In Kyle Henry’s Chicago-based Rogers Park, an anniversary bash devolves into a sibling screaming match that kicks off a taut exploration of midlife crises. As they celebrate ten years, Zeke (Antoine McKay) gives Grace (Sara Sevigny) a sparkling ring in front of their friends, but she later needles him about the price tag until he […]

  • “Modern Life Is Rubbish” Is a Twee Jaunt Down Memory Lane

    Manic-pixie-dream-boy meets girl and mansplains music. Girl promptly shuts down boy by proving her superior knowledge. Boy is smitten. So begins the decadelong, roller-coaster romance between Londoners Liam (Josh Whitehouse) and Natalie (Freya Mavor) in Daniel Jerome Gill’s relationship drama Modern Life Is Rubbish. With his Harry Styles mop and crinkled leather jacket, Liam fits […]

  • The Disarming “Wanderland” Offers an Escape From Routine

    For want of a phone charger! In writer-director Josh Klausner’s peculiar indie musical, a twentysomething dude wanders the Hamptons in borrowed board shorts and a sequined sash, spurred by bad luck and a failing iPhone battery. Disillusioned Alex (Tate Ellington) is lured to the Hamptons by the promise of a free weekend in a cottage […]

  • “Little Pink House” Is Like “Erin Brockovich” for Eminent Domain

    Courtney Balaker’s Little Pink House dramatizes a true story of working-class America under attack: Big money, big pharma, and big government want to huff and puff and blow down working-class houses in pursuit of money. After leaving a broken marriage, Susette Kelo (Catherine Keener) finds peace and a new identity in her fixer-upper with a river […]

  • In “Nana,” Three Generations of Women Look Back on the Holocaust

    Serena Dykman’s feature debut, Nana, hinges on a simple concept: the difference between knowing and understanding. This touching documentary chronicles the life of Dykman’s maternal grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, and her mission to spread awareness about the Holocaust. After years in concentration camps and time as translator for Josef Mengele, Michalowski-Dyamant emerged as her family’s sole survivor […]

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