Active Measures is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the mind. By coming on so strong, so fevered, Bryan achieves the dubious feat of making his host of documented facts, reasonable inferences, and alarming subjects for further research all seem seem less persuasive than if they had been presented more soberly.
The Oslo Diaries is a striking document, mixing never-before-seen footage shot by the negotiators themselves and current reflections from participants, including the final interview of former Israeli president Shimon Peres.
Stephen Maing’s searing documentary Crime + Punishment offers a fuller look at the question of what can be accomplished from inside, revealing both the personal toll fighting the system can exact but also the urgent necessity of such battles.
Filmed in black and white in the wintry countryside of Görlitz, Germany, Schwentke’s vision of a man who would be posthumously named the Executioner of Emsland is chilling and yet, at times, almost farcical.
As a work of sustained, thoughtful inquiry, Eating Animals is a bust; as a reminder of what we should all be thinking about, though, it’s searing. After seeing it, pretending not to know is impossible.
Lea Thompson’s first film as a director — a brisk, breezy, sharp-elbowed, sexually frank, occasionally shout-y, often hilarious comedy — stars the performer’s own daughters and plays like both a raucous family party and an urgently necessary corrective.
If Five Seasons is the only opportunity viewers have to experience Oudolf’s artistry up close, Piper’s cinematography (whether through a sunny haze or a snowy blanket) and contemplative storytelling have done these gardens justice.