Limited Releases

Review: “Visitors”

It should go without saying by now that when you enter a film by Godfrey Reggio, you should not expect any semblance of a traditional narrative. Like his noted “Qatsi” trilogy—that’s 1982’s “Koyaanisqatsi,” 1988’s “Powaqqatsi,” and 2002’s “Naquoyqatsi”—Reggio’s latest effort, “Visitors,” is but a collection of 74 shots manipulated by various effects, set to an …

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Review: “Blue Jasmine”

“Blue Jasmine” is a type of Woody Allen film that Allen hasn’t made in over a decade: a dramedy that’s more drama than comedy, but isn’t heavily concerned with plot. Perhaps even more than 2011’s “Midnight in Paris,” the movie feels like “vintage Allen,” though I use that term with some level of trepidation because …

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Review: “Blackfish”

“Blackfish” is the latest addition to the recent wave of activist documentaries that exist exclusively to promote awareness of and involvement in their cause. You won’t find much rhetorical nuance or discourse with the opposing side here, but such tactics don’t spawn headlines, which is clearly what director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and her subjects saw a …

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Review: “A Hijacking”

The title “A Hijacking” is rather misleading. The titular event is not depicted in the film; writer/director Tobias Lindholm only shows us the lead-up to and aftermath of Somali pirates taking a Danish freighter hostage, rejecting every opportunity to turn the film into the kind of basic action-thriller that the title suggests. Lindholm works toward …

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Review: “Hannah Arendt”

For a biopic that tries to sell us on the complexity of its subject’s political theories, Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt” is awfully simplistic. Centered around Ms. Arendt’s unconventional “New Yorker” coverage of the Adolf Eichmann trial, the film provides a bullet-points version of her work as an intellectual during the late ’50s and early …

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Review: “Byzantium”

Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium,” the filmmaker’s first return to vampires since 1994’s massive Cruise-Pitt success “Interview with the Vampire,” is the best kind of genre film, which is to say the kind of genre film that makes you forget it’s a genre film. Yes, we’ve encountered variations of this story onscreen dozens of times before, but …

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Review: “Unfinished Song”

Stephen Walker and Sally George’s 2007 documentary “Young @ Heart,” about a chorus of Massachusetts senior citizens who perform pop covers, was so genuinely moving and respectful of its subjects that I suppose it was just a matter of time before a fiction filmmaker hijacked the premise for a manipulative, cloying feature. That’s exactly what …

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Review: “Augustine”

Alice Winocour’s “Augustine,” which chronicles the pioneering 19th Century French neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot’s work with the titular patient, a seizing 19-year-old kitchenmaid initially diagnosed of “female hysteria,” is less about medical breakthroughs than it is about pent-up sexual desire. Despite his stoic gaze, Dr. Charcot (Vincent Lindon) is consumed by Augustine’s (Soko’s) sly flirtatiousness …

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Review: “The Bling Ring”

As I watched Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” based on the true story of a quintet of teenagers who robbed the Hollywood Hills homes of the rich and famous by employing the surprisingly unsophisticated method of opening unlocked doors, I wondered whether the film was trying to be a hyperbolic cultural critique a la Harmony …

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