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  • Undine

    Undine

    ★★★½

    Beer and Rogowski carry this somewhat slight work by the wonderful German director Christian Petzold. Their onscreen connection as lovers Undine and Christoph, playing off one another so well, so convincing in their love and devotion, has led to two successful films so far, though Undine does not quite match the fire of Transit.
    The film could've used a bit more of the mythmaking of the Undine legend. The supernatural possibilities of that story could've fleshed out the one we…

  • Holler

    Holler

    ★★★★

    From the first scene of Holler to the last image, there's no question or doubt about what movie you're seeing; no dualism or magical realism you go in and out of. What we see through the bleak blue screen scenery of DP Dustin Lane's 16 mm camera work is the bleak dreary life of small industrial towns where 'the factory/plant/mine' is what keeps the town existing. And when they close down, so do the towns and those who populate it.…

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  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    Brilliant work by Schrader and Hawke. It's writing and direction like this that have made Schrader an artist of great stature. And it's a performance such as this that shows the impressive growth of Hawke as an actor. I often found him to be very limited in his range, with only subgenre stuff or some more comedic parts being effective. Here, he shows the maturity and experience of his years going fully into his portrayal of a very torn being who sincerely wants to do good for people and feel worthy of his post.

  • The Messenger

    The Messenger

    Samantha Morton is a helluva actress. Every role she just seems so natural, at ease with who she is that time. Shows remarkable range- of empathy, of perceptiveness, and experience. Marry that to Woody Harrelson at the top of his game and as good a performance as I can recall from Foster and you have the makings of a strong film from the standpoint of your key lineup of players.
    The Messenger also has a winning, authentic screenplay and fine work behind the camera from director Moverman. Heavy stuff handled with taste, maturity, guttural reality and subtlety. 3.8 stars