Owen Gleiberman writes in Entertainment Weekly: I want to be absolutely clear about what an independent triumph this is. The writer-director, Ali Selim, has taken a low budget, two characters who barely speak broken English (and therefore spend a lot of time saying nothing), and a pace that's rigorously true to the rhythms of rural life in 1920, and he has forged a visually indelible movie that's a grand dream of the American past — a tale that links up with the images so many of us have of our relatives and ancestors: the nation's seed sowers. Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), who grew up in Norway but speaks only German, arrives on the dappled plains of Minnesota toting a Victrola but without her papers, so when she connects with Olaf (Tim Guinee), the dour, strapping Norwegian farmer it has been arranged for her to marry, the two aren't allowed to go through with the ceremony. Instead, they coexist in an awkward limbo, which turns out to be God's romantic gift to them. Selim unveils an organic community: the farmers and capitalist land scavengers, the beauty of making a pie, the brute hardship of harvesting a corn crop the size of several baseball fields. Sweet Land is a movie of extraordinary tenderness, in which Reaser and Guinee, using a language of looks, make you happy to think about what love once might have been.
A.O. Scott writes in the New York Times: For a while, this is actually pretty riveting. The film pretends to be a look back at the events of Oct. 19, 2007, when Mr. Bush was shot and killed after delivering a speech in Chicago. After-the-fact interviews with witnesses and participants — a Secret Service agent, a presidential aide, various members of the F.B.I. and the Chicago Police Department (all actors, of course) — alternate with hand-held video, security-camera feeds and mock news clips to recreate the chaos of the event. Snippets of an actual speech Mr. Bush gave to the Economic Club of Chicago are used, and later on Ronald Reagan’s funeral is used as a stand-in for Mr. Bush’s. In a few places Mr. Range’s ingenuity exceeds his skill, but he does sometimes achieve a hectic, nerve-racking realism. The president’s motorcade makes its way through an angry throng of protesters, some of whom scuffle with police and one of whom, a radical anarchist, will later become a suspect. Then, after the fatal shots are fired, consequences start to unfold: a frenzied investigation leading to an arrest, a new version of the Patriot Act, rumbles of war-talk if a foreign government turns out to be involved.
The 1987 cult film, Street Trash, a "squeamishly funny gore fest", opens Saturday at BHC. For those of you who keep track of such things, Street Trash is one of the seminal works in the "melt" genre of horror movies. This film is not rated.