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SXSW Review: Lamb

Director, screenwriter and star Ross Partridge unearths a ripe splintering of soul in the fragile, complex love story that is Lamb. Adapted from Bonnie Nadzam's sage but harrowing novel of redemption and temptation, Patridge repurposes the byzantine dynamic of Nadzam's words to co-exist in the cinematic crossroads of nail-ruining suspense and earnest, didactic sentiments of humanity, all the while subtly wedging in thematic elements of Vladimir Nabokov's will-they-or-won't-they statutory misgivings.

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Sundance Review || "Results"

Andrew Bujalski
earned an earnest little following out of Austin, Texas from his efforts in building up the mumblecore scene but his star has never shined brighter than it did two festival seasons ago with the debut of his offbeat docu-comedy Computer Chess. Expanding on that last project - which used a blend of professionals and non-actors - Bujalski had to contend with being in a whole new league. The majors to his minors, the Globo-Gym to his Average Joes. He admits that the process was very much the same as it's always been. "I think directing is the same. Whether they're professionals or non-professionals, everybody has their own insecurities, and their own approach." The result is Results, an offbeat and messy gym rat comedy that's still a little pudgy.

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Sundance Review || "Mistress America"

Noah Baumbach again arrives in auspicious fashion, delivering a fast-talking farcical bumblebee of a film whose honey is sweet and sting is bruising. It's as much a diatribe about the fickle nature of youth as it is a pure slapstick comedy, featuring a humdinger of a hipster prophet in the form of a footloose Greta Gerwig. Baumbach's latest is also decidedly his lightest, opting for a kind of 21st century update to the surrealist verisimilitude of "I Love Lucy" or a feminist take on "The Three Stooges" - that is, it's his brand of "But ours goes to 11" absurd. Everything he and his characters touch upon is based in reality - on someone, on something, on somewhere - but is forcefully exaggerated in its screwy presentation. As such, Mistress America has allowed Baumbach and Gerwig to craft modern day archetypes - the awkwardly desirable nerd, the college-bound tabula rasa, the hipster goddess - and mock them to high heavens in pure unapologetically absurdist manner.

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Sundance Review || "Last Days in the Desert"

Director Rodrigo García claimed two themes interested him most in his articulation of Jesus' untold 40 day fast in the desert. The first: the primordial idea of how a boy becomes a man, a step that Garcia contents happens "with or without his father's help of permission." The second theme surrounds the notion of creationism, both in a spiritual and storyteller's sense. García himself underwent a creation process in the construction of Last Days in the Desert, weaving a fictitious narrative out of a notable absence in Jesus' origin story - only mentioned in passing in the Gospels but entirely bereft of detail. This absence of a story drew García to the project, offering him an entrance into a narrative that felt to him inspired, fresh and wildly important.  

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