CHICAGO – Before “Snow Angels”, “Prince Avalanche”, or even “The Sitter”, director David Gordon Green flexed his film school muscles in his unabashed inauguration, “George Washington”. Eying its body, the 2000 film shares qualities other first-timers huff when trying to be taken seriously by the arthouse crowd. Especially with the films that were assuredly motivated by Green’s work like 2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “George Washington” celebrates storytelling instruments like whimsical young voiceover, shots that are equally distinct & questionable, and the raw potential of non-actors.
CHICAGO – Gus Van Sant’s “Restless” is an undeniably twee and hipster film that will annoy some viewers about as much as bad performance art, but I found the film’s commitment to a unique tone and world view refreshing as so few directors even know what those words mean. It may not be grounded enough to be emotionally effective, but another strong performance from the stellar Mia Wasikowska and a consistency to its vision make “Restless” worth a look.