MOON, 66 QUESTIONS – Review by Carol Cling

Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock once defined drama as “life with the dull bits cut out.” But not everyone agrees with that filmmaking approach, as Moon, 66 Questions makes abundantly clear. The feature debut of writer-director Jacqueline Lentzou, Moon explores the uneasy dynamic between a father and daughter sharing the most stressful conditions imaginable. Yet, despite the potentially heart-wrenching situation in which they find themselves, Moon takes an elliptical, impressionistic approach.

Read more

MR. MALCOLM’S LIST – Review by Carol Cling

It is a truth universally acknowledged — at least among those who revere the literary works of Jane Austen — that there can never be too many Regency-era romances, or cinematic adaptations of same. A new version of Persuasion is coming soon to a streaming service near you, but if you can’t wait to get lost in Austenland, Mr. Malcolm’s List should satisfy your expectations. The title character’s focus is on finding someone who meets his prerequisites — and his inevitable discovery that prerequisites have nothing to do with true love.

Read more

DEADLY CUTS – Review by Carol Cling

How do you like to observe St. Patrick’s Day? Raising a pint of Guinness or a tipple of Tullamore D.E.W.? Reading W.B. Yeats’ revelatory poetry or James Joyce’s revolutionary prose? Perhaps you prefer a cinematic celebration of the Emerald Isle — the vintage charms of The Quiet Man, for example, or something along the lines of the current Oscar contender Belfast. If the latter titles are too polite to suit your mood, however, the boisterous shenanigans of Deadly Cuts offer a raucous alternative.

Read more

DEFINITION PLEASE – Review by Carol Cling

Definition Pleaseis a genial, insightful feature debut from writer-director — and star — Sujata Day that explores the changing ways one young woman defines her life. The narrative occasionally grinds its gears shifting between its relaxed, ruefully humorous moments and deeper, more dramatic undercurrents. Even when the movie’s straining to get where it’s going, however, we’re more than willing to go along with it — thanks to a memorable set of characters defined by heartfelt, all-too-human comedy.

Read more

SIMPLE AS WATER – Review by Carol Cling

Overwhelming numbers suggest the scope of the Syrian refugee situation, but not the true human cost.
For that, we need documentaries like Simple as Water. The latest from Oscar-winner Megan Mylan (Lost Boys of Sudan), the haunting — and achingly human — Simple as Water focuses on four different Syrian families struggling to move on with their lives.

Read more

NO FUTURE – Review by Carol Cling

If No Future has a bright spot (so to speak), it’s Catherine Keener’s sad-but-true performance, an utterly convincing combination of desperate yearning and bruised, rueful recognition that there’s no such thing as a happy ending. Nobody’s expecting one, especially in a movie called No Future. But it would help if said movie managed to generate more than a shred of the empty, endless anguish Keener so memorably conveys.

Read more

FRUITS OF LABOR – Review by Carol Cling

Now that I’ve seen Fruits of Labor, whenever I pick up a box of strawberries, I’ll be thinking of Ashley Solis Pavon, the focus of director Emily Cohen Ibanez’s documentary, a days-in-the-life portrait of a high school senior whose life is a far cry from the carefree teen sprees usually seen on screen. Fruits of Labor delivers a frequently moving portrait of her personal growth, It’s undeniable food for thought.

Read more

IN BALANCHINE’S CLASSROOM – Review by Carol Cling

Nobody lives forever. But they can live on, through the work they leave behind — and the people dedicated to continuing the quest. That’s certainly the case with legendary choreographer George Balanchine, whose life and legacy inspire Connie Hochman’s documentary In Balanchine’s Classroom.

Read more