REVIEW: The Teacher’s Lounge [2011]

“Do you like Italian?” As part of the In the Closet Series created by New York City native Yahaira Paulino, the short film The Teacher’s Lounge fits perfectly. Developed as a venue for artists to make films that show “people being people […] when no one is watching them,” the concept allows for an infinite number of possibilities along the spectrum of human experience. By being about what we do when we’re alone, however, negative connotations are unavoidable and perhaps desired. I’m sure some filmmakers would love to find a…

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REVIEW: Hurry Up and Wait [2013]

“They’ll go on tour for 40 days and end up playing 42 shows” Remember when Atlanta, Georgia based rock band Gringo Star was on everyone’s lips and selling out shows throughout the USA back in 2011? Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Listening to their albums—Count Yer Lucky Stars and All Yall—right now on Spotify as I write, I’ll admit this quartet has the potential to make a mark in the music industry. At times reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club‘s lo-fi sound while at others finding an…

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REVIEW: Me @ the Zoo [2012]

“If you hear me screaming and hollering I’m doing a video” I didn’t know who Chris Crocker was until last year. That tells you how frivolously I use the internet and keep up with current affairs. I wasn’t watching CNN when his “Leave Britney Alone” video went viral, didn’t see Glenn Beck audibly laugh and call him crazy on live TV, and definitely wasn’t aware he shot a pilot for MTV in 2007 that was one misfired 9-11 joke away from being picked up. No, I like most who caught…

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REVIEW: Inocente [2012]

“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I don’t have a life” To look at fifteen-year old Inocente is to see a colorful young girl with a permanent smile possessed by infinite possibilities ahead. Confident and carefree enough to paint her face each morning before school with curved flourishes descending past her cheeks and stickered jewels surrounding her eyes, she emits a contagious vitality many strive and fail to acquire. Through her painting and artwork she breathes life into the fun dreams keeping her from falling off the deep end of…

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REVIEW: The House I Live In [2012]

“We become victims of the sound bite” The Grand Jury Prize winner for documentary at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Eugene Jarecki‘s look an American drug policy—The House I Live In—began with a desire to reacquaint himself with his family’s old housekeeper Nannie Jeter. A black woman who was a part of the great migration north to escape Jim Crow Laws in the sixties, her taking the job with the Jareckis changed her life. She was able to provide for a growing family of her own in New Haven now…

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REVIEW: Wrong [2012]

“The palm tree is no longer a palm tree” I’m not sure there has ever been a more apt name for a film than the one musician turned filmmaker Quentin Dupieux chose for his newest existentialist romp through suburbia—. Everything about this movie is just that—wrong. From the transposing of inside and out to the metaphysical impossibilities of objects changing shape and identity to the completely absurd juxtapositions of life and death or present, past, and future, nothing that occurs to the unassuming Dolph Springer () can be explained. Whether…

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REVIEW: The Mayor [2012]

“The plumbing died” Rather than create some sort of exposé about the goings on inside nursing homes and the common belief it is inhumane, cowardly, and disrespectful to place your aging parents in one for their Golden Years, director Jared Scheib went in the complete opposite direction. Life couldn’t be better for the residents of the Dallas, Texas independent living facility at the heart of his documentary The Mayor. Sure many are widowed, depleted of all sexual drive, and immobile without the help of canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, but none…

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REVIEW: Buzkashi Boys [2012]

“Cheer for these champions” From crumbling bombed-out architectural shells, the black soot-covered faces of the public, and a national sport as rough and grotesque as Buzkashi’s horse polo with a dead goat, life in Afghanistan is quite easily one of the hardest, most brutal lives one can imagine. We sit here in America and let the media paint the entire country as our enemy—poverty stricken heathens who should be overjoyed by our intrusion upon them to instill some semblance of Westernization—and as a result never get to see how intrinsically…

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REVIEW: Curfew [2012]

“Sophia always comes back to life” If you look at Shawn Christensen‘s career and see a credit for writing the Taylor Lautner-starring Abduction as its centerpiece, confidence doesn’t necessarily run high. And yet his nineteen-minute short Curfew has earned an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. I’m not going to say this film is great or deserves the victory or anything else overly hyperbolic. I will however admit that the feeling I had after watching wasn’t what…

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REVIEW: Dood van een schaduw [Death of a Shadow] [2012]

“I could show you the true beauty of death” Inside an intriguing steampunk dimension just outside the realm of our own lives a collector of shadows (Peter van den Eede) whose museum looks as though owned by a devout Robert Longo aficionado. Grungy canvasses line his walls with silhouetted bodies contorted into myriad positions at the time their flesh and blood counterparts’ died. This creepy sunglass-wearing gentleman employs one of his works of art to be a photographer of sorts that immortalizes each priceless moment on the edge between life…

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REVIEW: Asad [2012]

“Soon? My life is filled with soons.” Young Asad (Harun Mohammed) is an energetic boy with an insane knowledge of the ocean and tides that make him a perfect candidate to become a fisherman like his teacher, old Erasto (Ibrahim Moallim Hussein). Saddled with a streak of bad luck preventing him from catching anything substantial, however, his time spent on the beach drifts from fishing onto his idol Laban (Adiwale Mohamed) and the other men readying to go off with bad attitudes and guns to rob Europeans on the open…

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