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Review: Freakonomics

Freakishly mediocre is more like it
Aided by journalist Stephen J. Dubner, economist Steven Levitt put his pop theories of surprise causality into book form in 2005's Freakonomics , an unexpected bestseller.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  September 29, 2010


Review: The Sicilian Girl

Interesting true story, conventional fiction
Marco Amenta turns the true-life saga of a 17-year-old Italian girl who testified against the Mafia in a famous 1992 trial in Palermo into a fictionalized, conventional, fairly diverting melodrama.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  September 21, 2010


Review: 45365

Festival favorite documents the "real America"
Festival favorite documents the "real America"
By: GERALD PEARY  |  September 16, 2010


Review: How I Killed Mumblecore

The answer: from within
The probably after-the-fact title holds some truth — this Chicago indie film destroys the "mumblecore" film movement by repeating what has been done to death in a dozen similar films.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  September 01, 2010


Review: Kimjongilia

North Korea doc exceedingly frustrating
There is very little new in N.C. Heikin's documentary attack on North Korea's endless dictatorship that hasn't been seen or heard before.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  August 26, 2010


Review: Patrik Age 1.5

When clerical errors attack
A gay married couple (Torkel Petersson and Gustaf Skarsgård) move into a ticky-tacky planned Swedish neighborhood where they encounter homophobia.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  August 18, 2010


Review: The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest

Could Mallory and Irvine have survived?
In 1923, a self-assured Englishman, George Mallory, arrived in New York seeking funds for a reckless expedition.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  August 11, 2010


Review: Best Worst Movie (2010)

Best Worst Movie is the best
I've been strong-arming acquaintances about this deliriously entertaining documentary ever since I saw it at South by Southwest last year. The response to my fevered pitch for Best Worst Movie has been polite nodding, eyes glazed over.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  August 08, 2010


Review: Countdown to Zero

Bomb doc doesn't offer much hope
A great message, a not-so-great movie.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  July 28, 2010


Review: Great Directors

Documentary about filmmakers nearly derailed by its own not-so-great director
The chore is to blank out Greek filmmaker Angela Ismailos's clueless, indulgent voiceover and moony on-camera presence and enjoy the commentary of the filmmakers she's tracked down in Europe and America.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  July 28, 2010


Review: Phyllis and Harold

An instant classic
What steamy secrets lurk behind the curtains of a family home in middle-class Jewish suburbia?
By: GERALD PEARY  |  July 20, 2010


Review: The Law

What a goofy choice for a film restoration
Was it that everyone got to hang out on the Mezzogiorno coast, enjoying good pasta and swimming, during the shoot?
By: GERALD PEARY  |  July 14, 2010


Review: Wild Grass

From his first films, Alain Resnais confounded viewers with a conjurer's bag of modernist trickery, sliding about in time and memory.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  July 14, 2010


Review: Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

Linking movies and Cubist painting
Picasso seems to have done so, though preferring Chaplin slapstick and cowboy silents to artsy fare, and biographers place him at several screenings of Lumière shorts.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 24, 2010


Review: Le Amiche

An artsy, unsentimental chick flick
Lovers of the great Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni have cause to rejoice with this new-print revival of his best pre- L’avventura feature.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 24, 2010


Review: Stonewall Uprising

Well-meaning but sedate look at the '60s gay-rights movement
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, the talented indie documentarians who made last year's Waiting for Armageddon , seem confined by the strictures of PBS's long-running American Experience series in their straitlaced ode to gay liberation.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 15, 2010


Review: The Misfortunates

Mostly just unfortunate
This Flemish production kicks in with its protagonist, Gunther Strobbe, suffering mightily both in the present and in flashback.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 09, 2010


Review: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Pallid documentary on Japan's insect obsession
The cheeky title conjures up belovedly tacky 1950s Japanese sci-fi films, but Jessica Oreck’s actual effort is a pallid, thinly poetic documentary essay about Japan’s obsession with insects.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  June 01, 2010


Review: The Greatest

Mawkish, clumsy family drama
Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-nominated performance in An Education must have prompted the belated release of this mawkish, clumsy family drama that screened at Sundance 2009.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  April 07, 2010


Review: Mid-August Lunch

From gangsters to golden girls
After co-writing the international gangster hit Gomorrah , Gianni Di Gregorio, at 60, got the chance to direct his first film.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  March 23, 2010


Review: Prodigal Sons

An engrossing, unpredictable, often heartbreaking family-drama documentary
Adopted four weeks after he was born and brought up in Helena, Montana, Marc McKerrow suffered through the stress of being compared with his brother, Paul, his high school's valedictorian and star quarterback.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  March 09, 2010

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