A pustulant piece of work whose better moments mostly involve Jemaine Clement’s channeling of insufferable condescension, Gentlemen Broncos represents a sort of nadir of comedy, where even meager jokes die sad and unmourned deaths. Like director Jared Hess’ first film, Napoleon Dynamite, it will win points from certain quarters for its faux-naif characterizations and time-warp outfits. But Broncos has none of that film’s gangly punchiness or heartfelt sense of rebellion. Here, it’s all pose, with hardly a laugh in sight…
Gentlemen Broncos is playing now in a few, sad theaters across the land. Read the full review at filmcritic.com.
New York, I Love You
Chalk it up to one more cultural artifact lost in translation. The 2007 portmanteau film Paris, Je T’aime was a collection of 18 short films intended to function as a movieland map to the City of Lights, each one tracing a different neighborhood via a brief, usually romantic, little tale. The results were uneven, but more often than not, the film succeeded. A couple years later New York’s horning in on the idea, with producer Emmanuel Benbihy already planning future editions for Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Jerusalem, and Mumbai. If New York, I Love You is any indication, though, Benbihy should probably call it quits before digging himself a deeper hole…
New York, I Love You is open now in limited release. Read the full review at filmcritic.com.
New on DVD:
At the time, it seemed like David Mamet might be slumming. This was back, way back, when his name was still more synonymous with punchy street plays like American Buffalo than it was with script-doctoring Hannibal or primetime dramas like The Unit. When the great Chicago playwright—an artist whose jagged skill with gutter-wise dialogue was almost as prodigiously frightening as his productivity—started getting into movies, it made for a weird transition…
Homicide is now available in a nifty Criterion edition. You can read the full review of same at PopMatters.
When Lone Scherfig’s wise, colorful coming-of-age tale An Education was making the festival rounds, all points on the buzz compass were aiming directly at its star, Carey Mulligan, and rightly so. Playing Jenny, the 16 year-old clawing at the strictures of her red-brick-drab London suburb, circa 1961, Mulligan exudes a sparkler-like intellectual charm that never quite manages to hide the confused teenager within. It’s frankly all that the film, and its occasionally rote story, can do to keep up with her…
An Education is in limited release now. Check it out, at the very least for Mulligan’s performance, which will likely be (unfairly) ignored by Oscar voters. Read the full review at filmcritic.com.
As he puts it at the start of Good Hair, one of Chris Rock’s young daughters one day stumped him by asking, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” That question — and its attendant cultural, racial, economic, and historical baggage — prompted him to find an answer to why she would think her hair wasn’t “good” in the best way a performer knows how: make a movie. The result is a quick-witted narrative that refuses to sacrifice thought for humor, even if it never satisfyingly answers the original question…
Good Hair opens tomorrow. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.