H2N Pick of the Week

Weekly reviews from our friends at Hammer to Nail by Hammer to Nail Staff

  • Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Nebraska world premiered in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Bruce Dern took home the Best Actor prize. Distributed by Paramount Vantage, it opens theatrically on Friday, November 15th. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) After seeing Nebraska at this year’s New York Film Festival, I struggled to articulate what about it I found so moving. For days after the screening I could picture it in my mind’s eye: those hard, bright Midwestern landscapes in silver and black. With previous Alexander Payne films what I remembered was dialogue, barbed explorations of character. Literary stuff. But with Nebraska,…  Read more

    On Nov 14, 2013
  • These Birds Walk These Birds Walk These Birds Walk — A Hammer To Nail Review

    A near-perfectly imperfect burst of present-tense poetry, Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick’s These Birds Walk is messy with life and lyricism, a searching, empathetic piece of cinematic nonfiction that holds a close-up on a misunderstood part of the world and heralds the arrival of two new powerful voices in documentary. What begins as a portrait of Pakistani humanitarian Abdul Satar Edhi and his orphanage transforms into a deeply poignant study of youth under pressure and a potent reminder of the affecting possibilities of observation. The opening shot is a pure jolt of youthful, free cinema, as good a beginning to…  Read more

    On Nov 1, 2013
  • Bastards Bastards Bastards — A Hammer To Nail Review

    (Bastards is being released theatrically on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 and on iTunes and VOD two days later, through Sundance Selects. It world premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.) Arguably the most muscular of contemporary cineastes, Claire Denis engineers some of the richest filmic experiences that viewers can treat themselves to — or punish themselves with. Denis’ work contains soothing and unsettling multitudes, but for the sake of making heads or tails of her latest feature, Bastards, let’s posit that throughout her career she has generally alternated between two modes: one is mellow, sensual, drift-like and attuned to the…  Read more

    On Oct 23, 2013
  • Exit Elena Exit Elena Exit Elena – A Hammer to Nail Review

    Nathan Silver’s film had its world premiere at the 2012 Edinburgh Film Festival and opens theatrically on July 12, 2013, in at the reRun Theater in Brooklyn. Visit the film’s official website and Facebook page to learn more. NOTE: This review was first published on November 13, 2012. The biggest challenge facing the lead character of Nathan Silver’s hilarious Exit Elena during her first fumbling stint as a live-in nursing assistant isn’t her elderly patient. In fact, if Elena could simply take care of Florence as she’s supposedly been hired to do, she might be the perfect aide to help…  Read more

    On Jul 11, 2013
  • Frances Ha Frances Ha — A Hammer To Nail Review

    Frances Ha world premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It is being distributed by IFC Films and opens theatrically on Friday, May 17, 2013. Visit the film’s official website to learn more. Just when it seems oh so skull-poundingly clear that the world really, really, really does not need yet another portrait of confused Caucasian 20-somethings who are fumbling and bumbling their way through the posh shopping mall that is 21st century New York City, along comes a cinematic delight like Frances Ha to soothe ones agitated nerves like a tingly pill of Vicodin. And though the fact…  Read more

    On May 16, 2013
  • Stories We Tell Stories We Tell – A Hammer To Nail Review

    Stories We Tell is being distributed by Roadside Attractions and opens theatrically on Friday, May 10, 2013. It world premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival before next appearing at the Telluride Film Festival. Its New York premiere was at New Directors/New Films 2013. NOTE: This review was first published at Hammer to Nail on September 7, 2012, in conjunction with its Canadian premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. One of the cinema’s greatest feats of magic is its ability to create contemplative space in the mind of the viewer; the experience of people sitting in a dark…  Read more

    On May 9, 2013
  • post-tenebras-lux-h2n2 Post Tenebras Lux – A Hammer To Nail Review

    Post Tenebras Lux is distributed by Strand Releasing and opens theatrically at the Film Forum on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. It world premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. NOTE: This review was first published at Hammer to Nail on September 14, 2012, in conjunction with its North American premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Carlos Reygadas’ Post Tenebras Lux is a landscape of possibility, vibrantly alert to the tensions of class, family and desire, pulsating with life. The story of a wealthy family living in the secluded Mexican woodlands, the film takes on the issues of duty,…  Read more

    On May 1, 2013
  • Sun Don't Shine Sun Don’t Shine — A Hammer to Nail Review

    Sun Don’t Shine is being distributed by Factory 25 and opens theatrically on April 26, 2013, in NYC and Seattle, in addition to becoming available on VOD. It world premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Visit the film’s Facebook page to learn more. NOTE: This review was first published at Hammer to Nail on November 29, 2012, in conjunction with the film’s ‘Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You’ nomination. We hear it before we see it. A sharp, resounding slap jumps out from the soundtrack. Milliseconds later, the first jittery, violent, sweaty images of Amy Seimetz’s…  Read more

    On Apr 25, 2013
  • Upstream_Color_H2N Upstream Color — A Hammer To Nail Review (and Interview)

    (Upstream Color premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January. It opens theatrically in New York on Friday, April 5, and will roll out to other cities in April and May before becoming available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD on May 7. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) Here’s the plot of Shane Carruth’s new film Upstream Color, for all the good it will do you: A young woman named Kris (Amy Seimetz) is kidnapped by a man named in the credits only as the Thief (Thiago Martins). The Thief has been conducting secret experiments in mind…  Read more

    On Apr 4, 2013
  • Kiss of the Damned Kiss of the Damned Kiss of the Damned — A Hammer To Nail Review

    (Kiss of the Damned world premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. It becomes available on VOD on March 28, 2013, and opens theatrically on May 3rd. Visit the film’s page at Magnet Releasing to learn more. NOTE: This review was written in conjunction with the film’s North American premiere at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival.) One of the most accomplished and engaging North American premieres I saw at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival was a genre film, the first fiction feature by Xan Cassavetes. Xan is the daughter of cinema legends John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. Her first film, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, was a documentary about…  Read more

    On Mar 28, 2013