New in Theaters:
The Island President

What just might be the scariest movie of the year doesn’t feature skyscraper-crushing robots or species-annihilating bacteria. The setting of Jon Shenk’s documentary The Island President is the tranquil and paradise-like island nation of the Maldives. The star, Mohamed Nasheed, is a perky rights activist-turned crusading environmental politician. The villains are China, India, the United States; indeed, most of the nations of the world. The threat is rising sea levels that are already grinding away at the Maldives’ coastlines and will, within a matter of decades, drown the nation entirely. As Nasheed points out during a press interview in New York, his nation is just the canary in the coal mine: “Manhattan is as low as the Maldives”… 

The Island President is playing now in limited release. You can read my full review at filmcritic.com.

New in Theaters:
The Hunter

Willem Dafoe has played many roles in his career, ranging from T. S. Eliot and Max Schreck to a vampire hunter and sundry psychopaths, cops, and Green Goblins. Rarely is found in that resume, however, a recognizably everyday human being. There’s something in that vulpine face and sandpaper voice which translates poorly to the workaday. Even when playing a secondary character in a straight-laced drama like The English Patient, he comes burdened with a name like David Caravaggio and missing his thumbs. Given this background when considering The Hunter, one would think that a role like that of Martin, the hired gun who is sent into the wilds of Tasmania to kill the last of a long-thought-extinct species, would be a natural fit for Dafoe’s otherworldliness. In this unfocused and highly antidramatic film, though, Dafoe is measured for a role that requires him to be empathic and exceedingly normal; it doesn’t fit…


The Hunter is playing now in limited release. You can read my full review at filmcritic.com.