Stop the Pounding Heart *** Directed by Roberto Minervini. Sara (Sara Carlson), a girl being home-schooled on a goat farm alongside her 11 siblings, finds her devout values challenged after she meets Colby (Colby Trichell), an amateur bull rider. A modest film made with an authenticity that commands respect.
The Other Man: F.W. de Klerk and the End of Apartheid **½ Directed by Nicolas Rossier. A documentary about one of modern political history's most enigmatic figures, President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, who presided over the end of the nation's apartheid era and the release of his successor, Nelson Mandela. It’s an opportunity only half seized: Haphazard both as biography and historical survey, the film asks more salient questions than it can answer in a rushed 76 minutes.
Pound of Flesh *½ Directed by Ernie Barbarash. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. A man's heroic attempt to help a woman in distress ends up with him waking up the next day without a kidney and plotting his revenge. A solid if occasionally silly B-picture of the sort that JCVD used to make, before "JCVD" suggested there might be more to him than mere "Muscles from Brussels."
Marfa Girl *½ Directed by Larry Clark. A story centered on a directionless 16-year-old (Adam Mediano) living in Marfa, Texas and his relationships with his girlfriend, his neighbor, his teacher, a newly arrived local artist, and a local Border Patrol officer. As shallow as its characters' oversexed conversations.
Ghoul * Directed by Petr Jákl. Three American filmmakers become the targets of the evil spirit of the most violent cannibal in recorded history. As low-budget horror filmmaking goes, this is derivative, uninspired material.
The Forger * Directed by Philip Martin. With his son dying from cancer, art forger and prison inmate Ray Cutter (John Travolta) is desperate to share some time with him. A local mobster offers to arrange Ray's early release — but only if he copies a priceless painting and switches it with the original. Nicolas Cage at least manages to bring the occasional jolt of electricity to disposable genre tripe like this. Travolta is practically comatose.