Dan Partland

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Naked States Review

By now you've probably heard of Spencer Tunick -- if not the man, then you've definitely read something about his work, which consists entirely of black and white photographs of nude men and women, often in public places like Times Square.

This documentary tracks Tunick along his "Naked States" tour, wherein he photographed nudes in all 48 continental states. His journey proceeds remarkably without incident, arrested in Manhattan but otherwise fairly uneventful. His biggest challenges are finding people willing to pose in places like North Dakota and trying to herd 1,000 Phish fans or 100 nudist beachgoers into doing what he wants. His whiny demeanor never seems to help.

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The Ballad Of Ramblin' Jack Review

Very Good
One of the biggest surprises at the Sundance Film Festival was debut filmmaker Aiyana Elliott's documentary portrait of her cantankerous folk singer dad, The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack. It was curious to see how well the audience responded to this deeply personal, lyrical film of lonesome highways and tough talking cowboys.

Aiyana Elliott previously made an impression on the festival circuit with her ferocious short, Tough, which offered a strong visual sensibility influenced by the washed out look of the golden era of '70s filmmaking. She knew how to truthfully portray a modern dysfunctional family, with naturalistic performances and startlingly honest dialogue, a unit whose means of communication is handled through shouting. It's not surprising to see that these themes continue in her current feature.

Continue reading: The Ballad Of Ramblin' Jack Review

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