H2N Pick of the Week

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

  • Family Portrait in Black and White — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Family Portrait in Black and White is being distributed by First Pond Entertainment and opens theatrically at the AMC Empire 25 in New York City on July 13, 2012. It world premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) The mere fact that I’m writing these words about Julia Ivanova’s Family Portrait in Black and White means something has gone right. That is to say, on the occasion of its theatrical release, no longer is this film one of those special little treats that bounced around the American festival circuit for over a…  Read more

    On Jul 12, 2012
    By on Jul 12, 2012 Columns
  • The Oregonian — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (The Oregonian world premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It is being distributed by Cinemad Presents and opens theatrically in NYC at the reRun Gastropub on Friday, June 8, 2012. Factory 25 is releasing the DVD (and currently taking pre-orders for the Limited Edition DVD). It is also currently available for streaming on Netflix and Hulu. If you are not able to see it in the theater, just make sure you play it loud at home!) Calvin Lee Reeder’s The Oregonian is a horrifying film, if not what is commonly perceived as a “horror” film. It is deeply and fundamentally…  Read more

    On Jun 7, 2012
    By on Jun 7, 2012 Columns
  • Oslo, August 31st — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Oslo, August 31st is being distributed by Strand Releasing. It opens Friday in NYC at the IFC Center.) Joachim Trier’s follow-up to his much-loved 2006 debut, Reprise, begins with an audio montage of voices sharing their memories of the titular city: “I remember taking the first dip in the Oslo fjord on the first of May.” “I don’t remember Oslo as such, its people I remember.” “We moved to the city. We felt extremely mature.’” On the screen, stationary shots of empty city streets are followed by home movies—children at play, friends enjoying each other’s company—then back to the streets…  Read more

    On May 24, 2012
    By on May 24, 2012 Columns
  • The Color Wheel — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Distributed by Cinema Conservancy and Factory 25, The Color Wheel opens theatrically in NYC at BAM on Friday, May 18, 2012. It world premiered at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival and co-shared the Best Narrative award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival before screening at BAMcinemaFest and many, many more festivals throughout the world. Visit the film’s official website to learn more. NOTE: This review was first published on June 22, 2011.) Full disclosure: I first met Alex Ross Perry in the autumn of 2010. We had attended a screening with a mutual friend and he mentioned to me that he was finishing a new film and offered me a look. As a…  Read more

    On May 17, 2012
    By on May 17, 2012 Columns
  • The Connection — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (The purpose of Milestone Films’ ‘Project Shirley’ is to re-introduce the best available prints of Shirley Clarke’s work to audiences across the world. The Connection opens in NYC at the IFC Center on Friday, May 4, 2012. Visit the Milestone website to learn more.) Usually when you watch a once-banned film decades after the fact, it leads to a deflated feeling that the film wasn’t ban-worthy at all, that it wasn’t ever close to being “dangerous.” But when one of those films is also widely deemed a classic by trusted sources? Well, that just about guarantees it’s going to land…  Read more

    On May 3, 2012
    By on May 3, 2012 Columns
  • Elles — A Hammer to Nail Review

    Elles is being distributed by Kino Lorber and opens theatrically in NYC and LA on April 27, 2012. Visit the film’s official website to learn more. In Elles, the new film by Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, Juliette Binoche plays a journalist writing an article for French Elle on young women who finance their education (and more realistically, their apartments, clothing, and lifestyles) through prostitution. But forget the pimps and hookers of the movie underworld. The world in Elles isn’t one of coercion or strung out desperation, but of choices. It’s softcore social criticism, far less interested in systemic injustice than in the strange forces that…  Read more

    On Apr 26, 2012
    By on Apr 26, 2012 Columns
  • Post Mortem — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Post Mortem world premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. It’s being distributed by Kino Lorber Incorporated and opens at the Film Forum in NYC on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Visit the film’s page at the Kino Lorber website to learn more.) There is such a thing as pitch black comedy, and then there is the work of Chilean director Pablo Larraín, whose warped sense of humor deserves its own adjective. Tar black, maybe? With his latest two films, Larraín has returned to his country’s unpleasant recent past to try to make sense of what transpired. In Tony Manero, the Pinochet…  Read more

    On Apr 12, 2012
    By on Apr 12, 2012 Columns
  • Your Brother. Remember? — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Your Brother. Remember? opens for a theatrical run in NYC at the reRun Gastropub on Friday, April 6, 2012. Visit the film’s Facebook page or Oberzan’s official website to learn more.) For those of us who, as adults, continue to take the preposterous cliff-jump that is making movies with nary a paycheck in sight, there are almost certainly VHS/Hi-8/mini-DV tapes hidden somewhere that contain our earliest “work.” Most of this “work” can be categorized as such: backyard/basement/garage variations on—or outright recreations of—whatever big-budget spectacles we had most recently encountered. As a combination performance artist/filmmaker in his mid-30s with just two…  Read more

    On Apr 5, 2012
    By on Apr 5, 2012 Columns
  • Artificial Paradises — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Artificial Paradises world premiered at the 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam before screening at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It opens theatrically in New York City at the reRun Gastropub on Friday, March 30, 2012. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) Yes, Yulene Olaizola’s Artificial Paradises is about drug addiction. But not only does Olaizola take her time in revealing this agenda, her patient filmmaking and reverence for the gorgeous natural environment in which she shoots keeps that agenda from elbowing its way into the foreground. It’s this gentle approach that distinguishes Artificial Paradises from the rest of…  Read more

    On Mar 29, 2012
    By on Mar 29, 2012 Columns
  • 4:44 Last Day on Earth — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth premiered at the 68th Venice Film Festival. It’s being released theatrically by IFC Films on March 23, 2012.) A number of recent films have collectively suggested that the more global, or even cosmic, the crisis, the more intimate the response. This was done most recently in Perfect Sense but also last summer’s Another Earth and, to a lesser extent, The Tree of Life, about which it might be more accurate to say that the cosmic is crafted from the intimate. (Melancholia breaks from this trend somewhat, and its cold remove is part of what makes it so disconcerting a film.) This art-house apocalypse continues in…  Read more

    On Mar 22, 2012
    By on Mar 22, 2012 Columns
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