MOVIE SNEAKS

Winter-Spring Preview

Movie Reviews

  • Authentic portrait of young men at risk in documentary 'Raising Bertie'

    Authentic portrait of young men at risk in documentary 'Raising Bertie'

    Margaret Byrne turns in an impressive directorial debut with “Raising Bertie.” The documentary spends six years with three young black men living in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, focusing on a population that so rarely gets the spotlight. The film alternates between triumph and tragedy,...

  • Documentary reveals struggles and opportunities of 'Night School'

    Documentary reveals struggles and opportunities of 'Night School'

    How do you combine homework with the everyday struggle to survive? For the three working-poor subjects of Andrew Cohn’s documentary “Night School” — high school dropouts returning to class years (and in one case decades) later to get not a GED but a full-on diploma — it’s more than just finishing...

  • 'Score: A Film Music Documentary' explores composers' art

    'Score: A Film Music Documentary' explores composers' art

    Although it won’t win any prizes for narrative structure, Matt Schrader’s “Score: A Film Music Documentary” spotlights such a rich and fascinating topic — the craft of motion picture scoring — that its mere presence proves a feast for the eyes and ears. The film also offers one key aspect so often...

  • 'Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All' reveals an inner glow

    'Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All' reveals an inner glow

    The documentary “Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All” essentially says it all as a fittingly devotional tribute to Srila Prabhupada, who traveled from Calcutta to New York at age 70 and spearheaded a revolution of self-realization. As chronicled by director John...

  • 'The House on Coco Road' is a compelling take on an African American family's odyssey

    'The House on Coco Road' is a compelling take on an African American family's odyssey

    “The House on Coco Road” is the story of director Damani Baker’s family, particularly his mother, Fannie Haughton, and her remarkable life, reflective of the troubled history of race in America. Descended from Louisiana sharecroppers (the title refers to that home), and the product of the Great...

  • American and Vietnamese cyclists find common ground in moving documentary 'Blood Road'

    American and Vietnamese cyclists find common ground in moving documentary 'Blood Road'

    Produced by Red Bull Media House, “Blood Road” goes far beyond the extreme sports film one might expect. Instead, the documentary is a triumph, more about emotional states than grueling physical challenges. It explores the budding friendship between two women whose fathers fought on opposing sides...

  • With the doc 'Can't Stop Won't Stop,' Sean Combs takes a step toward cementing his name

    With the doc 'Can't Stop Won't Stop,' Sean Combs takes a step toward cementing his name

    Although he’s one of the most successful and famous pop musicians of his era, Sean Combs has always been something of a mystery. Blame the ever-changing stage names (Puffy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, and counting) or the timing of his biggest hit-making years coming during a decade when hip-hop...

  • Time-warped comedy 'Ripped' is less than half-baked

    Time-warped comedy 'Ripped' is less than half-baked

    The time-travel stoner comedy “Ripped” blows a potentially funny idea on slapdash filmmaking and lazy storytelling. If much of this overly broad eye-roller wasn’t made up on the fly, it sure looks that way. The film’s, er, high concept involves 17-year-old best buds and weed-fueled slackers Reeves...

  • Horror-comedy 'A Beginner's Guide to Snuff' aspires to entertain, not exploit

    Horror-comedy 'A Beginner's Guide to Snuff' aspires to entertain, not exploit

    The horror-comedy “A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff” explores the “lighter” side of guerrilla underground filmmaking, following two bumblers who kidnap and pretend to torture a woman. Thanks to three lively lead performances and smart storytelling choices, what could have been a distasteful premise...

  • 'Cars 3' keeps the family-friendly franchise rolling along

    'Cars 3' keeps the family-friendly franchise rolling along

    “Cars 3” is a genial, easy-going throwback. Not just to the previous Pixar films in the series but to the early days of parent company Disney, when Walt walked the earth and sweetly earnest lessons about what’s important in life inspired movies that put smiles on faces all over town. The directing...

  • Action comedy 'Once Upon a Time in Venice' does nothing to boost Bruce Willis' career (or dog movies)

    Action comedy 'Once Upon a Time in Venice' does nothing to boost Bruce Willis' career (or dog movies)

    Bruce Willis’ latest effort to dislodge his film career from a stubborn rut goes unrewarded with “Once Upon a Time in Venice,” a wincingly unfunny comedy caper set along L.A.’s funky beach community. He may be Venice’s “only licensed detective,” but Steve Ford (Willis) seems to have a lot of downtime...

  • Computer graphics were turned all the way up in 'Kill Switch'

    Computer graphics were turned all the way up in 'Kill Switch'

    Imagining the imminent end of the world has been boring for years now in movies, and the low-budget sci-fi thriller “Kill Switch” is no exception. The near-future set-up is the implementation of a game-changing new power source, created by a secretive corporation called Alterplex, in which a second,...

  • A performance artist searches for healing in 'The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil'

    A performance artist searches for healing in 'The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil'

    Famed Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic takes a long strange trip across Brazil in search of spiritual and physical healing and creative inspiration in the intriguing, well-shot documentary “The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil.” The movie, filmed from 2012-13, finds Abramovic...

  • 'Moscow Never Sleeps' shows Russian capital to good effect

    'Moscow Never Sleeps' shows Russian capital to good effect

    Irish filmmaker Johnny O’Reilly has spent years living and working in Russia, and pours his thoughts and impressions of his adopted home into the ensemble drama “Moscow Never Sleeps.” Modeled after “everything’s connected” movies like “Short Cuts” and “Magnolia,” this slickly produced if somewhat...

  • An ode to mass transit in indie comedy 'From Hollywood to Rose'

    An ode to mass transit in indie comedy 'From Hollywood to Rose'

    The public transportation system in Los Angeles gets a bad rap, but the micro-budget indie comedy “From Hollywood to Rose” wants to change that. Directed by Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs, the film is a tribute to riding the bus in L.A., and the little bits of magic one might find riding up and down...

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