Crip Camp

A unique, passionate story.

Jumping from Camp Jened, the first place to give many ’70s teens a chance to experience a different way of life, to the long struggle to establish the American With Disabilities Act, this doc soars.

It’s one of the frontrunners in this year’s Oscar scramble, and deservedly so.

Co-Director James LeBrecht, born with spina bifida, was one the residents at the commune-style camp, run by hippies with a dream of equality.

His flashback footage is combined with modern-day glimpses of where the alumni have gone, and what they’ve accomplished, in their lives.

Impressive in every way.

A Love Song for Latasha

She died for $1.79.

Shot from three feet away, in the back of the head, while holding two dollars to pay for her orange juice, Latasha Harlins was just 15-years-old when her violent murder at the hands of a quickie-mart owner helped spark the 1992 L.A. riots.

But for all the hate the crime generated, this short film, an Oscar favorite this season, instead embraces the bright promise the young woman held in her heart.

Remembered in the words of her cousin and best friend, Latasha comes alive again, and it’s heartbreaking.

She should be here to tell the world her own story.

The Prom

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

This is far from a perfect film, but the parts which work, do so really, really well.

And most of those parts are the ones featuring young actress Jo Ellen Pellman, who rocks in her debut movie, outshining all-timers like Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

As a young lesbian who wants to take her girlfriend to their Indiana high school prom, only to find a great deal of (temporary) resistance, Pellman glows with a rare light every time she’s in front of the camera.

A star is born, with a song on her lips.

 

Lost Girls

Amy Ryan blisters the movie screen like few others.

The veteran actress, so good in Gone Baby Gone, scores again as a New Yawk mom who relentlessly pursues the truth in the murky disappearances and deaths of several young women, including her own daughter.

Based on real life cases, some still unresolved, the film can’t always offer definitive answers, but it nails the atmosphere and gives Ryan a chance to royally rage.

Her verbal showdowns with fellow old pros like Gabriel Byrne leave lasting scars, and her gaze will sear your soul.

Where’s her Oscar, Hollywood? She’s way past due.

1BR

Come for the daddy issues, stay for the creepy cult.

Nicole Brydon Bloom, looking for a new lease on life in the big city, flees to L.A. and falls in with a group of suspiciously-nice apartment complex dwellers who just want her to feel like “one of the family.”

Zippy lil’ suspense thriller, with some fairly-quick, but painful-looking, scenes involving a couple of large nails being hammered someplace they really shouldn’t be.

Director/writer David Marmor keeps you guessing as to where things are going, and wins extra points for a paranoid final twist in the waning moments.