Rick Dahl

Rick Dahl

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Red Rock West Review


Excellent
With J.T. Walsh, Dennis Hopper, and Lara Flynn Boyle in your desert thriller, it's hard to go wrong, and in his riveting sophomore feature, John Dahl rarely gets tripped up. Why, even Nicolas Cage is in fine form, filling this small movie with wit and a surprising toughness that is refreshing in a world of pulled punches and pointless violence. Tragically, Dahl's output has slowly meandered into irrelevant Hollywood fluff, but you can remember some of his great, early work with this film. It gets a little self-consciously twisty in the last act, but it's all good. This trip through the Wyoming desert (though none of it was shot there) is one you won't soon forget.

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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