+ "Twelve and Holding": "L.I.E."‘s Michael Cuesta returns with another shocking look at teenage suburban life as â€” Armond White writes in the NY Press, he has "what Truffaut called an ‘idÃ©e fixe.’ He’s stuck on recreating adolescent trauma, examining that period when sex and social rules don’t come together satisfactorily." White, who liked "L.I.E.", is not impressed by "Twelve and Holding," which he believes "offers no revelation." Dennis Lim at the Village Voice goes further: "[S]triking in both its confidence and its incoherence…Cuesta’s new poisoned valentine to adolescence, a tragicomedy of pubertal acting out, is likewise premised on the clueless self-involvement of parents and the innate wisdom of children." He does, however, add that "Cuesta has a real skillâ€”or maybe a perverse giftâ€”for coaxing persuasive performances from young actors."
At the New York Times, on the other hand, Stephen Holden thinks it’s a "poignant, beautifully acted film," and likes everything except the ending. And at indieWIRE, this week’s Reverse Shot three, Michael Koresky, Kristi Mitsuda and James Crawford, are mixed: Koresky finds the film melodramatic and tonally imbalanced, Mitsuda interesting if imperfect, and Crawford initially admirable but ultimately merely a collection of cheap shots.
+ "The King": "Has William Hurt ever been this perfectly cast?" writes New York‘s David Edelstein of James Marsh‘s narrative debut. Edelstein’s fond of it, calling it a "tender psycho love story" that "makes ‘Down in the Valley’ look like ‘Field of Dreams.’ " Michael Atkinson at the Village Voice is also won over by Hurt ("Probably no other actor standing today could’ve brought this much juice to such a potentially simplistic character") and suggests that "despite a story that’s as lackadaisical as it is programmatic, ‘The King’ has a hypnotically naturalist vibe." Manohla Dargis at the New York Times thinks the film is "fitfully engaging, finally exasperating," though she does like the performances.
And at indieWIRE‘s Reverse Shot review, Michael Koresky, Jeff Reichert and Brad Westcott see fit to make the film a stand-in for all that is wrong with, as Reichert puts it, "a certain strain of aggressively average American Independent film that continues to lurk around the peripheries of the scene." C’mon now, what did it ever do to deserve that?