TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (grade: 3/5)
CITY OF GOD mixed with PAN'S LABYRINTH. It's not an instant-classic like those films, but this little gem from Mexico is worth seeing for the heartbreaking tale of a young girl joining a group of orphaned boys when her mother goes missing, who may have been kidnapped by the rough gangsters rampaging through her town. There are supernatural elements throughout the story, but the most effective parts are just about the group of kids adjusting to the newcomer and struggling to survive on their own, all while still doing what kids do -- play, argue, laugh, cry, and tell each other bedtime stories. And that ending packs a punch.
BODIED (grade: 4/5)
"I don't know what the fuck just happened, but I love what the fuck just happened." Couldn't have said it better myself. I will watch anything Joseph Kahn makes. I even watch his music videos for Taylor Swift, and I can't stand her. So when I say anything, I mean it. Fortunately, this lived up to the massive hype coming out of TIFF. But it still doesn't have studio distribution. Come on, Hollywood!
SEE YOU UP THERE (grade: 4/5)
A quirky post-WWI drama about a soldier taking care of his war buddy that saved his life, but paid for it by getting disfigured in the process. Clearly influenced by Jeunet. Both heartwarming and tragic.