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Shadow and Act

Review: "Splinters"; Adam Pesce's Riveting Documentary On Life (And Surfing) In Papua New Guinea, Screening At Cinema Village In NYC (FRI, 2/3/12)

  • By Emmanuel Akitobi
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  • February 1, 2012 9:26 AM
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  • 3 Comments
When I first wrote about director Adam Pesce's Papua New Guniea-set documentary Splinters last year, I hadn't yet seen it.  And despite Pesce's assertion that he "never set out to make a 'surf movie'", that's pretty much what I was expecting when I finally got a chance to view the film.  What I actually saw as I watched the film was pleasantly unexpected.
More: Splinters

Sundance 2012 Review - "Slavery By Another Name" (A Powerful & Eye-Opening Account Of *Lost* American History)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 28, 2012 11:28 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Based on the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Wall Street Journal writer Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name challenges the assumptions that slavery ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Sundance 2012 Review - "2 Days In New York" (Familiar But Still Engaging)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 25, 2012 4:30 PM
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  • 5 Comments
This will be a quick and painless one; I arrived back in NYC (from Sundance) this morning and I've been caught up in a whirlwind of work to do; I'm also having trouble keeping my eyes open after that marathon 5-day business trip to the festival.

Sundance 2012 Review - "Red Hook Summer" (An Attempt To Make Sense Of Spike Lee's Trip To Wonderland)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 24, 2012 9:17 AM
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  • 83 Comments
I agonized over this for awhile, and actually almost decided not to even write anything about the film; but I eventually reached a compromise.

Sundance 2012 Review - "Middle Of Nowhere" (aka "Nothing But A Woman")

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 23, 2012 4:14 PM
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  • 10 Comments
It's an unfortunate testament of the time we live in when a film that takes an adult, mature, sincere, if realistic look at relationships between black men and black women could be viewed as dare I say radical.

Sundance 2012 Review - "An Oversimplification Of her Beauty" (A Complex Exploration Of The Dance Between Id, Ego & Super Ego)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 23, 2012 1:12 PM
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  • 11 Comments
They say that there's something of every artist in the work they create, whether a conscious decision or not; and the act of creating with the intent to surrender your creation (and in essence a piece of yourself) to a potentially scrutinizing audience, requires some degree of courage on the part of the artist; but I would further say that it takes a certain amount and kind of bravery to intentionally insert oneself (both literally and figuratively) completely naked (physically and emotionally) into one's work, and then publicly present the completed work to not only family, friends and acquaintances, but also perfect strangers.

Sundance 2012 Review - "The Art Of Rap" (An Unfocused Ode To A Music That's Inspired Generations)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 23, 2012 2:39 AM
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  • 10 Comments
In an interview posted on this site about a week ago, Ice-T said of his directorial debut, Something For Nothing - The Art Of Rap, that his intent with the film was to document the craft of rapping, and not all the crass excesses the music has become emblematic of. His goal, as he suggested, was to produce a kind of rap masterclass for audiences of the music, teaching them how the music's best and most respected, both old and young, create - specifically, how the pen their rhymes.

Sundance 2012 Review - "Detropia" (A Moving, Painterly Mourning Of A Once Economically Vibrant City)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 22, 2012 12:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments
This haunting piece of documentary cinema tells the story of one city in economic decay; but really, as the real people in the film repeatedly state, this isn't just a Detroit problem; it's an American problem, and other cities within the country will eventually experience a similar fate; that is unless something is done to reverse trends brought about by what we call globalization, as captains of industry make decisions based almost entirely on the need to generate profit.

Sundance 2012 Review: "The Raid" (Indonesian Actioner Delivers Relentless Bloody Brutality)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 22, 2012 10:09 AM
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  • 2 Comments
A film that's already developing a cult following, even though it's only commercial exhibits have been on the film festival circuit, starting with a 2011 Toronto Film Festival debut (it's now a Sony Pictures property, scheduled for a US and Indonesia release in March of this year), The Raid turned out to be exactly as others who'd already seen it, universally described it: a relentless, bloody, brutal action movie, with successive scene after scene of balls-to-the-wall-style choreographed violence that made even this writer flinch in a few instances.

Sundance 2012 Review - "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" (A Striking Feature Debut On Courage & Resiliency)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • January 22, 2012 1:55 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Ultimately an ode to human resilience and self-reliance, Beasts Of The Southern Wild is initially a little scattered, especially if you aren’t already familiar with the story; however by the second act, it all starts to come together and make sense. But what’s actually kind of interesting is that, without giving the plot away, there’s a structural chaos early on, which is accompanied by a blissful narrative. And as the film progresses into the second and third acts, there’s a reversal of that - the film’s structure seems to become much more orderly, while the narrative amplifies the tragedy.