Movie Quick Hits: Reviews of Cold Weather, Road to Nowhere and more…

cold weather

Cold Weather (dir. Aaron Katz) – Part neo-noir, part mumblecore, this film works surprisingly well. It’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off, but the dramatic tension and assured direction make this little caper an interesting watch. For those not terribly interested in the low-budget, highly improvised genre, the film minimizes many of the negatives. Grade: B Available on DVD and Netflix Instant Streaming.

I Am Number Four (dir. D.J. Caruso; stars Alex Pettyfer) – Unsurprisingly watered down from a concept that could have been fruitful. Atrocious special effects that were attempting to hide in the plethora of night scenes. Too much Twilight, not enough actual sci-fi. Grade: D Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

The Music Never Stopped (dir. Jim Kohlberg; stars J.K. Simmons) – If you are a fan of The Grateful Dead and other classic rock, this could be a film for you. Follows a young man whose brain tumor impedes him from creating new memories and how his connection to music helps him reconnect to his father. A decent film that relies a little too much on the music it is employing. A supporting performance from Lou Taylor Pucci that is worth a look. Grade: C+ Available on DVD

The Other Woman (dir. Don Roos; starring Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow) – A film that was initially shelved until the recent blow-up success from its star, and it shows why it didn’t have a bigger release. Still, Portman is strong and some of the dramatic moments of the film work. Doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of being a memorable film. Grade: C Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

Road to Nowhere (dir. Monte Hellman; stars Shannyn Sossamon) – A spell-binding, if not incomprehensible film. Even with its seemingly unlockable puzzle, it is incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking. Feels a lot like a David Lynch film without going completely overboard. Interesting not that this is the important auteur’s first film in 40 years. Grade: B+ In Theaters (limited release); Available on DVD 8/23

The Tree (dir. Julie Bertuccelli; stars Charlotte Gainsbourg) – An interesting indie from Australia that provides a good mix of family drama and mystical fantasy. Strong performances from Charlotte Gainsbourg and newcomer Morgana Davies keep the film pleasantly grounded. Although it is quiet, it will stick with you. Grade: B+ In Theaters (limited release)

Uncle Kent (dir. Joe Swanberg) – The master of the mumblecore movement brings what could only be described as a polarizing film. If you enjoy the genre, this is worth a look, but skippable for most others. If you aren’t acclimated, there are other mumblecore films that feel more essential, although the film does take an interesting look at sex in the new tech social media age. Grade: B- Available on DVD and Netflix Instant Streaming

Viva Riva! (dir. Djo Munga; Democratic Republic of the Congo) – Although it’s nice to see a genre interpretation from an African country, it didn’t totally work for me. The characters were too one-not and there were too many camp moments for the generally hard-boiled type of film. But not having seen a film from the Congo before, it was worth it. Grade: C In Theaters (limited release)

Yellowbrickroad (dir. Andy Mitton & Jesse Holland) – An ultra-small horror flick and recent midnight-movie selection that ends up being few on scares. I usually appreciate deliberately paced and subtle horror films, but outside of a few tense scenes, it doesn’t hold up. Also has an ending that is more of an eye-roller than a shocking twist. Grade: C- Available on DVD

tags: cold weather, i am number four, road to nowhere, the music never stopped, the other woman, the tree, uncle kent, viva riva!, yellowbrickroad

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