Posted in: Review

Spark: A Burning Man Story

Even back in 2012, the annual Burning Man gathering (organizers prefer not to call it a “festival”) was experiencing serious growing pains, and the event has only gotten bigger and more unwieldy since then. It’s also gotten much more famous and influential, and the 2013 documentary Spark: A Burning Man Story provides an interesting snapshot of […]

Posted in: Review

On the Rocks

Sofia Coppola may have downgraded her ambitions with her seventh feature, On the Rocks, but that doesn’t mean she’s come close to selling out. A gentle comedy about the rocky relationship between a father and daughter, On the Rocks feels like a personal story, and there’s a temptation to search for a reflection of Coppola’s relationship […]

Posted in: Review

Antebellum

For its first 40 minutes or so, Antebellum is virtually indistinguishable from a standard historical drama about the Civil War-era South. On a cotton plantation somewhere in the South, there are cruel masters who berate and abuse the slaves, while the slaves conspire in hushed whispers with each other to plan an escape that may […]

Posted in: Review

Shooting Heroin

When you see what most “faith-based” films turn out like, it’s a sin. Modestly budgeted indies made for church-going audiences, their aims are small and their methods predictable. They star a publicly devout actor. They have a central tragedy, which makes the hero question his faith. And then he finds it again, and all is […]

Posted in: Review

The Personal History of David Copperfield

It’s unlikely that anyone would ever characterize a Charles Dickens novel as breezy, but that’s exactly the impression that comes from Armando Iannucci’s Dickens adaptation The Personal History of David Copperfield. Iannucci and co-writer Simon Blackwell attempt to include as much of Dickens’ 800-plus-page novel as possible into a two-hour film, turning the sprawling epic […]

Posted in: Review

Toss It

The romantic comedy Toss It starts with someone flipping a coin – but ultimately it’s the audience that’s the loser. The lead actress is unappealingly cold. The script is overly talky. And the director seems unsure of how to help the star, or the screenwriter, solve their problems. Of course, the fact that the director […]