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Best of Boston 2009



A film festival is no better than the films available, and to judge from the selection of more than 50 features and documentaries plus numerous shorts at this year’s Independent Film Festival of Boston, reports of the decline of indie cinema are vastly exaggerated. Among the films to look forward to is the opening-night feature, The Brothers Bloom (unavailable for preview), which stars Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weis and is directed by Brick auteur Rian Johnson, who will be present at the screening. Also making it to the party, to name just a few: local legend Andrew Bujalski, who directed Beeswax); director Robert Siegel (he wrote the screenplay to The Wrestler) and actor Kevin Corrigan from Big Fan; and director Bobcat Goldthwait of World’s Greatest Dad. And those concerned about the alleged decline of film criticism should be sure to chat with Phoenix critic Gerald Peary when he screens his documentary For the Love of Movies — the title of which sums up this outstanding festival.

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Review: Invisible Girlfriend

Does this documentary from David Redmon and Ashley Sabin exploit its subject? You'll be tempted to say yes.
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Pontypool

Bruce McDonald deserves some credit for trying
Bruce McDonald's ambitious shaggy-dog story combining elements of Talk Radio , William Burroughs, and Night of the Living Dead succeeds about as well as could be expected.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Shooting Beauty

Compassionate, and without pity
Sometimes just being a gifted artist doesn't mean you're the right person to tell the story.
By TOM MEEK  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Children of Invention

Powerfully moving and rigorously intelligent
Chun's is an eloquent and restrained study of the fine line between respectability and desperation.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: For the Love of Movies

Why do some people get to watch movies for a living?
Like Trekkies and other documentaries that examine what makes particular nerd legions tick, For the Love of Movies beams viewers to a planet that outsiders only think they know about.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Trust Us This Is All Made Up

But should we trust them?
“Trust us, this is all made up,” begins TJ Jagodowski, addressing a capacity crowd at New York’s Barrow Street Theater.
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 16, 2009

Review: Of All the Things

A touching portrait of a forgotten songwriter
Dennis Lambert may be the biggest hit machine you never heard of.
By TOM MEEK  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Big Fan

Run-of-the-mill, cheap laughs
"He's another Martin Scorsese!" crows mom when her son screens an awful ad for his ambulance-chasing law firm in this unimpressive debut from Robert Siegel.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: The Lost Son of Havana

A fascinating look inside Cuba
Red Sox legend Luis Tiant left his native Cuba for pro baseball in 1961 and hadn't been back in 46 years.
By TOM MEEK  |  April 15, 2009

Review: The Burning Plain

Why have burning plain when you can have burning fancy?
Arriaga starts the story in the middle and moves sideways, so it may take you a while to realize it's bogus.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: World's Greatest Dad

You've read the mug — now see the movie!
Robin Williams is Will Hunting good in Bobcat Goldthwait's dark comedy about a failed novelist whose fantasy of becoming a literary lion comes true in a way that's just plain wrong.
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Nollywood Babylon

Covering vast territory at breakneck speed
You may have never heard of Living in Bondage , Desperate Billionaire , or any other works coming out of Nigeria's exploding homegrown film scene, but Nollywood has become the world's third-largest movie industry.
By SHAULA CLARK  |  April 15, 2009

Review: That Evening Sun

Illuminating familiar ground
Scott Teems's faux Faulkner melodrama scores for cinematography but falls short in originality and character development.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Bronson

Tom Hardy is mesmerizing
From Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn comes a fantasy bio-pic of Britain's notorious Charlie Bronson, a larger-than-life character who, after swiping his identity from Charles Bronson transformed from bare-knuckle prizefighter into "Britain's most violent prisoner."
By SHAULA CLARK  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Trinidad

Vacillates between revelation and reality-show shtick
In contrast to its eloquent subjects, director P.J. Raval's documentary about Trinidad, Colorado — the "Sex Change Capital of the World" — seems uncertain about its aspirations.
By ALICIA POTTER  |  April 15, 2009

Review: We Live in Public

Call it Woodstock crossed with Salò and The Real World
Josh Harris might not have contributed as much to the Internet as Al Gore, but as Ondi Timoner's lively and chilling documentary reveals, he did embody its excesses of narcissism and puerility and its delusions of grandeur.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Beeswax

Don't expect intensity of any kind
Beeswax as in, mind your own . . . ?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Still Walking

By now, it's a bit of a cliché to compare the work of Hirokazu Koreeda to the masterful films of Yasujiro Ozu — something of which I've certainly been guilty.
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 15, 2009

Review: In The Loop

A  Doctor Strangelove for the Iraq War
Six years ago, Armando Iannucci's slick and merciless satire might have drawn more blood, but even now it blows away the recent competition with its sharp, sardonic dialogue and uncompromising cynicism.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Mine

Watch, animal lovers, and be stupefied.
Early in Geralyn Pezanoski's documentary, a news clip shows George Bush proclaiming, "The world saw this tidal wave of disaster descend upon the Gulf Coast, and now they're gonna see a tidal wave of compassion."
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Automorphosis

A light-hearted look at auto fetishists
What kind of person would dedicate his or her life to creating "Art Cars," vehicles that have been transformed into mobile art installations by their proud owners?
By BRET MICHEL  |  April 15, 2009

Review: Crude

Quietly compelling
Joe Berlinger returns with a documentary that follows through on the promise of 1992's Brother's Keeper .
By BRET MICHEL  |  April 15, 2009

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