Author Archive for Tricia Olszewski

Picture Perfect: The Best Films of 2014

From Boyhood and Birdman to Legos and a one-actor film.

The Babadook, Reviewed

Noah Wiseman’s turn as a young boy struggling with emotions he can’t understand goes beyond the horror requirement that a child be pale and say unwittingly chilly things.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, Reviewed

It’s the dystopi-est installment of this dystopian series, all concrete, gray jumpsuits, and rain.

The Better Angels, Reviewed

The Better Angels portrays a young Abraham Lincoln and aims to unveil the factors that shaped the president in his formative years. At the end of its 95 minutes, the answer is clear: trees.
So, so many trees. Always towering, with the camera aimed skyward. To set the scene of 1817 Indiana? Trees. Abe’s mother gets sick? Trees. [...]

The Blue Room, Reviewed

As in Venus in Fur, Mathieu Amalric plays a successful, sly man who is nonetheless easily played by a woman cunningly using her sexuality.

The DC Shorts Film Festival, Reviewed

The DC Shorts Film Festival features 17 collections of shorts, each showing several times over the event’s 11 days. Here: a few reviews of full programs.
Show 1
The Cold Heart, the first film of the first DC Shorts showcase, kicks off the fest in spectacular fashion. An animated adaptation of a German fable, it tells the story [...]

Teenage Suffers From an Adolescent Lack of Focus

Teenage, the second feature film from Matt Wolf, is a documentary about...war? Civil rights? Or is it swing dancing? One thing’s for sure: While you’re watching this 78-minute film salad, you’ll wonder how exactly its title applies.
The technical answer is easy: Wolf and co-writer Jon Savage adapted the doc from Savage’s book, Teenage: The Creation [...]

Omar, Reviewed

Wrestling with someone who has a gun. Trusting anyone in prison. Becoming a snitch—or, worse, trying to play both sides. All bad ideas, and all of which are present in Omar, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated drama about three lifelong friends who decide to become freedom fighters in the West Bank. Or are they terrorists? [...]

12 O’Clock Boys, Reviewed

The subjects of director Lotfy Nathan’s debut documentary, 12 O’Clock Boys, do not identify as a gang. These Baltimore dirt-bike riders are a group, or even a team. Pug, a 13-year-old whose perspective Nathan shaped his doc around after three years of filming, says that riding makes his peers feel "powerful" and serves as an [...]

Gimme Shelter, Reviewed

In writer-director Ron Krauss’ soapy drama, Gimme Shelter, Vanessa Hudgens is so fucking street. In the opening scene, Hudgens' Apple, a 16-year-old who lives with her mother (Rosario Dawson, her teeth yellowed) in a crack motel, hacks off her long dark curls into a choppy mess reminiscent of the old Bieber. She repeatedly whispers, "I [...]