H2N Pick of the Week

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

  • The Kid with a Bike — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid with a Bike premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it shared the Grand Prix with Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. It is being released theatrically by Sundance Selects on 03.16.12.) The Kid with a Bike is propelled by eruptive moments nestled between long stretches of calm. That it is seen through the eyes of a child too young and confused to understand as much about himself as the viewer does would appear to make the eponymous bicycle rider’s case an ironic one, but it mostly just makes it sad. Every time…  Read more

    On Mar 15, 2012
    By on Mar 15, 2012 Columns
  • Attenberg — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Attenberg world premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and is being distributed in America by Strand Releasing. It opens on Friday, March 9, 2012, at the IFC Center in NYC. Visit the film’s official page at the Strand website to learn more.) The world would be a much less grating place if certain cinematic sub-genres were to be banned from the table immediately. Reading a description of Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg, one might worry that she has committed the double-sin of embracing two of the more increasingly overused and deplorable ones: 1) the “stunted-to-the-point-of-retarded adult-child;” and 2) the “quirky…  Read more

    On Mar 7, 2012
    By on Mar 7, 2012 Columns
  • This Is Not A Film — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (This Is Not A Film begins a two-week engagement at Film Forum today, courtesy of Palisades Tartan. The movie will then open in other U.S. locations, starting with Los Angeles in early March. Go to the film’s website for details.) For those unfamiliar with the backstory: Jafar Panahi, one of Iran’s most acclaimed directors (The White Balloon, The Circle, Crimson Gold, Offside), was arrested in 2009. A known supporter of the opposition movement, Panahi was charged with “activity against national security and propaganda activities against the regime.” Despite domestic and international outpourings of support, he was sentenced in 2010 to…  Read more

    On Feb 29, 2012
    By on Feb 29, 2012 Columns
  • The Forgiveness of Blood — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (The Forgiveness of Blood is being distributed by Sundance Selects and comes to theaters on February 24, 2012. It world premiered at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. NOTE: This review was first posted at Hammer to Nail in conjunction with its screening at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.) The future of American independent filmmaking may not lie in America at all. In recent years, a number of filmmakers have turned their eyes away from the complexities of 21st century American life and toward the world beyond our national borders. The decision to engage another culture through filmmaking, to…  Read more

    On Feb 23, 2012
    By on Feb 23, 2012 Columns
  • Jess + Moss — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Jess + Moss world premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It opens theatrically at the reRun Gastropub in New York City on Friday, February 17, 2012. If you are not in NYC, don’t worry, as it is now available on VOD at the following outlets: YouTube, iTunes, Sundance Now, and Amazon. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) While there are many pressing existential questions, to my mind, this is one of the most significant: can one make a truly effective film about aimlessness and boredom without that film becoming excruciatingly aimless and boring in its own right?…  Read more

    On Feb 16, 2012
    By on Feb 16, 2012 Columns
  • The Dish & The Spoon — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (The Dish & The Spoon world premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. It opens theatrically at the reRun Gastropub in NYC on Friday, February 10, 2012. Visit the film’s official Facebook page to learn more.) Alison Bagnall’s The Dish & The Spoon opens with a distraught young woman named Rose (played by Greta Gerwig) hastily driving an old, large Mercedes station wagon into the rainy sprawl of an off-season Delaware beach town. When her cell phone rings, she only hesitates for a moment before throwing it out the window onto the highway. This act — equal parts defiant, hostile,…  Read more

    On Feb 9, 2012
    By on Feb 9, 2012 Columns
  • Bad Fever — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Bad Fever opens in New York City at the reRun Gastropub beginning Friday, January 3, 2011. It world premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival and is being distributed by Factory 25. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) For those viewers with a deep-seated fondness for the character-based New Hollywood dramas that were churned out in the 1970s, Dustin Guy Defa’s Bad Fever will feel like a welcome return to that glorious past (I should know, as I am guilty of said deep-seated fondness). From the spare opening title card—complete with a copyright tag at the bottom!—to its…  Read more

    On Feb 2, 2012
    By on Feb 2, 2012 Columns
  • Scalene — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Scalene opens in New York City at the reRun Gastropub for a one-week run beginning Friday, January 20, 2012. Visit the official website of Along the Tracks Productions for more information about the film.) If you’ve seen Zack Parker’s Scalene, then you might understand why I feel weird describing the experience of watching it as “a pleasant surprise.” But it’s true. Even though this film is comprised of scenes and plot twists that are as disturbing as any that are likely to appear on screen this year, what struck me most loudly was the realization that I was in the…  Read more

    On Jan 19, 2012
    By on Jan 19, 2012 Columns
  • Codependent Lesbian Alien Seeks Same — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same world-premiered in the “Park City At Midnight” section at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It opens for a one-week theatrical run at the reRun Gastropub in New York City on Friday, January 6, 2012. Visit the film’s official website to learn more.) “I have to make it clear that I hate all dramas,” Madeleine Olnek told me in an interview the other day. “I think making dramas is immoral, if you are capable of making a comedy.” Olnek is a New Yorker who writes and directs comedy films. Plays too. As she’s predominantly worked…  Read more

    On Jan 5, 2012
    By on Jan 5, 2012 Columns
  • Sleepless Nights Stories — A Hammer to Nail Review

    (Sleepless Nights Stories opens theatrically at the Anthology Film Archives on Thursday, December 15, 2011. Visit their website to learn more.) December can be perverse, especially in New York. Underneath the jingling bells, cinnamon, and pine, the promises and obligations to keep, there’s a pervasive anxiety about the dying light. Time flattens the remaining days like a steamroller as we frantically categorize our memories into lists of ten and wrap it all up in colored paper and ribbons. This can create a hectic, merry numbness that doesn’t subside until January’s hangover, when the cold is undeniable. Perhaps the timing is…  Read more

    On Dec 15, 2011
    By on Dec 15, 2011 Columns
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