H2N Pick of the Week

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

  • Gimme the Loot Gimme the Loot — A Hammer To Nail Review

    (Gimme the Loot world premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It was picked up for distribution by Sundance Selects before landing a coveted slot in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. It opens theatrically in New York City on Friday, March 22, 2013. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) Writer/director Adam Leon’s Gimme the Loot is set firmly in present-day New York City, in the comparatively still rough-and-tumble Bronx. It is filled with curse words. There are drugs. There is thievery. And yet it’s just so gosh darn adorable. How is that…  Read more

    On Mar 22, 2013
    By on Mar 22, 2013Columns
  • Electrick Children — A Hammer To Nail Review

    (Electrick Children world premiered at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Phase 4 Films. It opens theatrically on Friday, March 8, 2013. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) Oh, to read the description of a movie and go into it with one’s thickest guard up, anticipating some exercise in “indie quirk,” only to realize within seconds that, shame on you, that assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth. Rebecca Thomas’s debut feature, Electrick Children, shut me up right quick, for it becomes immediately evident that this is one of those lovely…  Read more

    On Mar 7, 2013
    By on Mar 7, 2013Columns
  • Leviathan is a Nonfiction Game-Changer

    (Distributed by Cinema Guild, Leviathan opens at the IFC Center in New York City on Friday, March 1, 2013. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) A staggering thrill-ride of an experience, built on moments of astonishing cinematic immediacy, Leviathan marks a major leap forward in nonfiction filmmaking. It’s certainly not a film all viewers will respond to, but as someone who makes documentaries, I see Leviathan as the future. The progeny of direct cinema, experimental film and ethnography, Leviathan uses new cameras and an inventive technique to create something bracingly distinctive. Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, Leviathan…  Read more

    On Feb 28, 2013
    By on Feb 28, 2013Columns
  • Bestiaire – A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Bestiaire had its World Premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It is being distributed theatrically in America by KimStim and screens in L.A. at the Cinefamily, Feb. 21 – 27, 2013. ) The first animals we see in Bestiaire are humans, observing something with great attention. The scene resolves in a funny anti-climax: it’s revealed that they’re sketching in an art class, and all that intense focus is directed at a small, taxidermied deer. By starting his film looking at the viewer, director Denis Côté suggests that what we’re about to experience will be as much about ourselves and…  Read more

    On Feb 21, 2013
    By on Feb 21, 2013Columns
  • Porfirio — A Hammer To Nail Review

    (Porfirio world premiered at the 2011 Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. It opens theatrically in New York City at MoMA on Friday, February 8, 2013. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) Though his stylistic vision might superficially call to mind filmmakers like Carlos Reygadas, Lucrecia Martel, and Yorgos Lanthimos, with Porfirio, Alejandro Landes carves a unique path all his own. Based on a too-strange-to-be-true story concerning a Colombian man named Porfirio Ramírez that made headlines back in 2005, Porfirio stars none other than the real Porfirio Ramírez himself. From the very first second that you see…  Read more

    On Feb 8, 2013
    By on Feb 8, 2013Columns
  • The Ambassador — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (The Ambassador had its world premiere at IDFA 2011 and its U.S. premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It was picked up for distribution by Drafthouse Films. It launched on VOD and digital platforms on August 4, 2012, and opens theatrically at the IFC Center in New York City on August 29, 2012, and at The Cinefamily in Los Angeles and Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin on August 31, 2012.) For the Fox News crowd, the Central African Republic could be seen as the future they’ve been waiting for: a skeleton government that rules hand in hand with ruthless, unregulated…  Read more

    On Aug 30, 2012
    By on Aug 30, 2012Columns
  • Beloved — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Beloved world premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by IFC Films. It opens theatrically on August 17, 2012. Visit the film’s website to learn more.) Beloved, the latest film from French writer/director Christophe Honoré, uses the history of the late 20th century as a framework for exploring the difficult love affairs of a mother, Madeleine (played as a young woman by Ludivine Sagnier and as an older woman by Catherine Deneuve) and her daughter, Vera (Chiarra Mastroianni). Like much of Honoré’s work, the movie is rich with allusions not only to literary and theatrical forms, but…  Read more

    On Aug 16, 2012
    By on Aug 16, 2012Columns
  • 2 Days in New York — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (2 Days in New York world premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Magnolia Pictures. It is available through various VOD outlets—Amazon, iTunes, etc.—on July 6, 2012, and opens theatrically on August 10, 2012. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) I’ve been known to knock the French, toodling around on bicycles with their phallic baguettes, vin rouge, and perennial boredom with all things Americain. But is there any way to withstand the Julie Delpy charm offensive? She had me at bonjour in this witty comedy, a sequel to her earlier film 2 Days in Paris. Delpy (who wrote and directed the film)…  Read more

    On Aug 9, 2012
    By on Aug 9, 2012Columns
  • Killer Joe — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Killer Joe world premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. It is being distributed by LD Entertainment and opens theatrically on July 27, 2012. Be forewarned, gentle viewer: this one has an NC-17 rating! Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) As I get older with each passing year, I’ve begun to process the world—and, by extension, cinema—in a different light. While I’m not turning into an outright prude, I am becoming much less tolerant of art and entertainment that takes a condescending and contemptible attitude towards humanity. On an ethical, theoretical level, there’s no denying that the way…  Read more

    On Jul 26, 2012
    By on Jul 26, 2012Columns
  • The Queen of Versailles — A Hammer to Nail Review

    As I left the screening of the documentary The Queen of Versailles, my immediate thought was, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Director Lauren Greenfield has created a complicated, fascinating, and humbling film, perfectly calibrated to the zeitgeist. Election-year rhetoric aside, we remain in the ever-widening wake of the Great Recession, and Greenfield’s riches-to-rags story releases waves of conflicting emotion: pity, schadenfreude, guilt, empathy, disgust. With fortuitous—and perhaps shrewd—timing, her film captures an America in flux. The Queen of Versailles tells the story of David and Jackie Siegel, a billionaire couple who were building the largest house in America, a…  Read more

    On Jul 19, 2012
    By on Jul 19, 2012Columns
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