Adventureland (2009) **** Mixes the intimate, indie vibe of Daytrippers with the absurdist screwball streak of Superbad, to winning effect.
Duplicity (2009) ***½ There are so many leaps back and forth in time, so many twists and countertwists and double fake-outs, that I kept losing track of who is supposed to know what when.
Fighting (2009) *** As its defiantly bland title suggests, Fighting is a bare-bones effort that tries just hard enough to keep us watching. By making good use of its New York setting, filmmaker Dito Montiel does bring a certain indie grit to the generic story.
Full Grown Men (2008) **½ A strong cast, beautiful production values and generally pleasant execution can't disguise the fact both laughs and surprises are on the thin side here, despite the abundant care and affection lavished on the central characters by first-time writer-director David Munro.
Goodbye Solo (2009) ****½ Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani possesses a disciplined sense of composition and form, a vision of the world that extends beyond the boundaries of his own navel, and the understanding that it is possible to make films about class and race in this country without pandering to the audience.
The Informers (2009) * A nihilistic, narcissistic, knuckleheaded move about nihilistic, narcissistic knuckleheads, The Informers might have been an interesting exercise in satire, if it only had a sense of humor. Which it doesn't. You'll need one, though, after forking over hard-earned money to rent it.
Life Is Hot in Cracktown (2009) ** Life goes far past the boiling point for most of the characters in this hilariously overwrought ghetto soap opera from cult writer-director Buddy Giovinazzo.
Rudo y Cursi (2009) ***½ The film scores from every angle — comic, personal and cross-cultural.
Sunshine Cleaning (2009) *** Could have been a little more darkly comic in places but the performances are superb.
Trouble the Water (2008) **** One of the most eloquent records we have of a tragedy that brought out some of the most impressively alive men and women in New Orleans.