"A rallying cry for the put-upon boss, Mike Judge's Extract makes for a perverse double feature with Office Space (1999), Judge's cult favorite about cubicle life." Elbert Ventura in Reverse Shot: "Both movies are set in the modern workplace and, more generally, wallow in the American quotidian. But where Office Space sympathized with the drones and skewered corporate culture, Extract flips the perspective - here we see things through the eyes of management. 'Is This Good for the COMPANY?' read a banner in Office Space, a deadpan flourish that lampooned the corporate mentality. The banner doesn't make an appearance in Extract, even if it's all but preached in earnest as a parting moral."
More from Sam Adams (IFC), Ed Champion, Manohla Dargis (New York Times), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), J Hoberman (Voice), Robert Horton (Herald), Jette Kernion (Cinematical), Jonathan Kiefer, Eric Kohn (GreenCine Daily), Drew Lazor (Philadelphia City Paper), Karina Longworth (SpoutBlog), Paul Matwychuk (See), Neil Morris (Independent Weekly), Christopher Orr (New Republic), Mary Pols (Time), Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York), James Rocchi (MSN), Michael Joshua Rowin (L), Nick Schager, Paul Schrodt (Slant), Dana Stevens (Slate), Scott Tobias (AV Club), Martin Tsai (Critic's Notebook), ST VanAirsdale (Movieline), Andrew Wright (Stranger), Stephanie Zacharek (Salon) and Dan Zak (Washington Post).
Interviews with Mike Judge: Josef Braun (Vue Weekly), Jonathan Kiefer (Faster Times), Dennis Lim (NYT), Quint (AICN), Lisa Rosen (Los Angeles Times), Marc Savlov (Austin Chronicle) and Scott Tobias (AV Club). Online viewing tip (sort of). Beavis and Butthead come out of retirement to promote the movie.
"The thriving subgenre of immigrant displacement dramedy gets a confident new spin from Cherien Dabis, a Palestinian-Jordanian raised in the United States," writes Ella Taylor in the Voice. More on Amreeka from Sam Adams (IFC), Stephen Garrett (TONY), Stephen Holden (NYT), Noel Murray (AV Club), Mary Pols (Time) and Kenneth Turan (LAT). More reviews from Sundance and New Directors / New Films.
"The Holocaust new wave continues with Tickling Leo," writes Andrew Schenker in Slant, "this time drawing on a little-known historical footnote as the haunted backdrop for an otherwise tepid contemporary drama." More from Stephen Holden (NYT), S James Snyder (TONY), Ella Taylor (Voice) and James van Maanen.
"All About Steve, a gruesome, aggressively unfunny movie about a crossword-puzzle constructor who stalks a man she just met across the country, may get an asterisk on [Sandra] Bullock's résumé as the most misguided move of her career," writes Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post. More from Robert Abele (LAT), Sean Axmaker, Manohla Dargis (NYT), Roger Ebert (Sun-Times), Robert Horton (Herald), Jonathan Kiefer, Nathan Rabin (AV Club), Nick Schager (Slant) and Stephanie Zacharek (Salon).
Drew McWeeney at Hitfix on Gamer: "Neveldine/Taylor don't remotely care about filmmaking or storytelling in a conventional sense, and they don't care about niggling details like 'character' or 'coherence,' so reviewing a film of theirs seems like you're trying to explain cell memory in Mandarin Chinese to a chicken: what's the goddamn point?" More from William Goss in Cinematical. Meantime, IFC's Matt Singer lists "Twelve Evil Movie Wardens."
IN NEW YORK CITY
A few films, such as Liverpool (see the roundup), have been playing in New York for a couple of days now. Unmade Beds, at the IFC Center through Tuesday, is "a lovely, somewhat messy movie about lovely, messy young lives," writes Manohla Dargis in the NYT. Alexis Dos Santos, "whose only other feature is the well-regarded Glue (2006), has nothing earthshaking to say about the agonies and ecstasies of youth in this newer work, which played at the Sundance Film Festival and New Directors/New Films this year.... What he has is an elliptical narrative that makes a perfect vehicle for two characters whose uncertainties, confusions and fractured romances - there are plenty of beds, unmade and otherwise - are similarly oblique."
More from Brandon Harris, Anthony Kaufman (Voice), Kevin B Lee (TONY), Benjamin Mercer (L), Jeff Reichert (indieWIRE) and James van Maanen. For Filmmaker, Nick Dawson talks with Alexis Dos Santos "about the film's long gestation period, his justification for throwing parties on the set of Unmade Beds, and his desire to work with Macaulay Culkin."
American Casino is at Film Forum through September 15 (more cities and dates are listed here), and "while the mortgage crisis still awaits a rigorous deconstruction along the lines of Alex Gibney's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,' this film stands as an intimate, terrifying document that renders an incomprehensible slice of recent history in human terms," writes Salon's Andrew O'Hehir.
More from Simon Abrams (L), David Fear (TONY), Stephen Holden (NYT), David Denby (New Yorker), Jim Ridley (Voice), Scott Tobias (AV Club), James van Maanen, Chris Wisniewski (Reverse Shot) and Lauren Wissot (House Next Door). For the Wall Street Journal, Michelle Kung talks with co-director Leslie Cockburn.
Also at Film Forum, Carol Reed's Odd Man Out opens for a two-week run. TONY's Joshua Rothkopf: "On deck for the director are, it must be said, superior pictures: 1948's The Fallen Idol and the following year's The Third Man. But this is Reed's arrival, marking a path for England's postwar panache. The movie has a vaunted place in the context of British cinema, and deservedly." More from Nicolas Rapold (L).
"A finger-wagging tale of swift karma and slow death, Sandstorm mines China's recent past in a movie that's part spiritual fable, part history lesson," writes Jeannette Catsoulis in the NYT. For Aaron Hillis, writing in the Voice, it's "basically a biased social-issue doc having an identity crisis."
"Mondo Fandom, as Anthology calls it in their rock-fan documentary series, is not a term meant to be applied to the comparatively faint-of-heart groupies, weed-carriers, and hormonal teenagers that traditionally constitute pop music's base," writes Zach Baron in the Voice. It's so hardcore, in fact, that, in the L Magazine, Andrew Schenker has compiled "a glossary to help the viewer navigate the various forms of obsession he can expect to encounter."
Dario's Inferno is a mini-Argento festival happening at BAMcinématek this weekend; Suspiria screens on Saturday and then again next weekend at Anthology. For J Hoberman, it's "a movie that makes sense only to the eye (and even then...)." More from Benjamin Strong (L).
Looking ahead to more goings on at BAM, David Fear previews Robert Redford: Artist & Activist, (Tuesday through September 16), while Gia Kourlas, also in TONY, talks with Juliette Binoche, who's in NYC for a handful of reasons, one of them being the Rendez-vous with Juliette Binoche series running from September 11 through 30.
"[W]atch," predicts New York's David Edelstein, "as No Impact Man opens in New York next week and then goes wide, how many people will ridicule [Colin] Beavan as a 'limousine liberal' or an 'environmental wacko' or 'sanctimonious.' They'll make fun of his breakfast, too. Watch them fiddle while the planet burns."
Mark Schilling in the Japan Times on Killer Virgin Road: "[T]hough it swings and misses as a tearjerker, it connects as a comedy, with a hurtling thrill-ride pace and a riot of gags, from the head- scratchingly odd to the laugh-till-you-gag original. It also has two of Japan's best comic actresses - Juri Ueno and Yoshino Kimura - working together at the top of their respective forms."
While many stateside have just caught up with Cloud 9, Andreas Dresen's new film, Whisky With Vodka, opened in German theaters yesterday. Like so many other films this year, it's set in the world of filmmaking - and it's Cineuropa's new "Film Focus."