Saturday, March 26, 2016

Coming to Amazon Prime: April 2016

April 1:

Batman (1989)
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Cube (1997)
Cube 2: Hypercube
Cube Zero
Death Wish
Dennis the Menace
Deuces Wild
Dr. T. and the Women
Dream Lover (1993)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Gang Related
Into The Blue 
Lars and The Real Girl
Liberty Stands Still
Maximum Overdrive
Men in Black II
Music from Another Room
Naked Gun 2&1/2: The Smell of Fear
Nurse (2013)
Payback (1999)
Pootie Tang
Rare Birds
Rescue Dawn
Risky Business (1983)
Simon Says (2006)
Skipped Parts
Step Into Liquid
Swimming With Sharks
Teen Wolf Too
The Arrival (1996)

The Big Lebowski
The Dead Zone
The Devil's Advocate
The Holiday (2006)
The Peacemaker (1997)
You've Got Mail
April 6:
The Transporter Refueled
April 7:
Nasty Baby
April 8:
Catastrophe - Season 2
April 9:
Sliding Doors
April 12:
Mad Max (1979)
April 15:
Thunderbirds are Go! - Season 1
The Whistleblower (2010)
April 18:

Home Fires - Season 1
The Widower - Season 1
April 19:
April 21:
Veep - Season 2
April 22:
Pawn Sacrifice
April 25:
Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson
April 27:
The Great Fire - Season 1
April 30:
Ides of March

Friday, March 25, 2016

Life is Sweet Turns 25

Life is Sweet is the prototypical Mike Leigh film, embodying all that is right and good about the early phase of the director’s career. Before he branched into darker themes and period pieces, Leigh made his name with sharply observed comedies depicting ordinary working class Brits getting on with their lives, complete with tender hopes and twinkly dreams undashed by Thatcher’s experiments in Social Darwinism. Leigh’s two films from 1988, High Hopes and the made-for-TV The Short and Curlies, used lightness and eccentricity to celebrate the daily heroism of the masses and to individualize the tough slog faced by the young and unremarkable.

Life is Sweet applies Leigh’s effects to a more mature family, led by 40-ish hotel chef Andy (Jim Broadbent) and the effervescent Wendy (Alison Steadman) who holds down a variety a part time jobs. Still at home are their university-age twin daughters: the studious, well adjusted Natalie (Claire Skinner) and Nicola (Jane Horrocks), a snarling, bulimic layabout full of blind, unfocused rage. One fine afternoon, Andy leaves their humble North London townhome to visit a scrapyard with his childhood friend Patsy (Stephen Rea), an amiable ne’er-do-well with a deep fondness for ale. There, Andy acquires a rusting abandoned food truck - years before such an idea was trendy - with misty visions of finally going into business for himself.

While Andy’s scheme is greeted with skepticism, it serves as a sort of slow motion catalyst for Leigh’s widening web of offbeat character sketches. Along the way, viewers are introduced to Aubrey (Timothy Spall), a former coworker of Andy’s who is now about to open his own tragically hip bistro, featuring a menu so exotic it’s downright stomach-turning, and a thuggish young loser (David Thewlis) who casually endures a bit of rough stuff sex with Nicola every Wednesday afternoon. Through a number of meandering, but delightful, digressions - in Leigh’s best work digressions are the building blocks of narrative - the film’s collection of snapshots form a rich and compelling album of life as Britain's tumultuous 20th Century draws to a knackered close.

In typical Mike Leigh fashion, Life is Sweet rises and falls on the strength of its characterizations and happily the film offers acting splendors aplenty. Steadman (the then Mrs. Leigh) creates marvels as Wendy, adopting the permanent, slightly annoying chuckle of matriarchs who have seen it all, and must adopt sunny attitudes just to remain sane. Viewers who know Jane Horrocks mainly as the uber-ditz Bubble from the Britcom Ab Fab will be shocked at the blackhearted textures she achieves here. Horrocks pushes the character right to the edge of cartoon, then deftly backtracks as her immeasurable insecurities eventually tumble out like potatoes from a torn sack.

Broadbent and Rea, both veteran character actors in the midst of career breakthroughs, bring subtle flavors to their camaraderie that make any notions of backstory superfluous. Through tossed away line readings and abrupt intonations, the pair evoke the muscle memory of a lifetime of shared experience. One boozy night in a smoky pub the men hold forth on the great footballers of their youth and mourn the sport’s heroic history lost in time’s relentless drift. Despite the scene’s comedic tenor, and their buzzed stupor, Broadbent and Rea experience a universal passage toward mortality: that moment when sports fans realize that star athletes are now much younger than them.

Mike Leigh’s vibrant realism is accomplished the old fashioned way, through clever, perceptive writing and painstaking immersion in character. He has never resorted to bouncy cameras or other documentary style shorthand to sell audiences his bill of goods, but trusted only actors and text to structure worlds so common and familiar they unnerve. The homey flesh and blood creations of Mike Leigh seem to live just down the street, whether that street is in London or Lubbock. Life is Sweet finds this unique auteur at the top of his game and viewers will be entranced by the film’s densely dimensional characters and warmed by its fully human glow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New on Netflix: April 2016

Available 4/1

"16 Blocks" (2006)
"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971)
"Best in Show" (2000)
"Chaplin" (1992)
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005)
"Codegirl" (2015) 

"Colegas" (2012)
"Cujo" (1983)
"Deep Impact" (1998)
"Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang" (2015)
"Dolphin Tale" (2011)
"Erin Brockovich" (2000)
"Explorers" (1985)
"Frank and Cindy" (2015)
"Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer" (2015)
"Looking for Richard" (1996)
"The Mask You Live In" (2015)
"Morituri" (1965)
"My Girl" (1991)
"The Next Best Thing" (2000)
"The Perfect Storm" (2000)
"The Phantom" (1996)
"The Princess Bride" (1987)
"The Right Stuff" (1983)
"Rising Sun" (1993)
"The Running Man" (1987)
"Say It Isn't So" (2001) 

"The Shawshank Redemption" (1994)
"Scrooged" (1988)
"Something's Gotta Give" (2003)
"Transporter 3" (2008)
"Uncommon Valor" (1983)
"Under the Same Moon" (2007)
"V for Vendetta" (2005)

Available 4/5
"Walt Before Mickey" (2015)

Available 4/8
"God's Pocket" (2014)

Available 4/9
"Look Who’s Back" (2015)

Available 4/14
"Moonwalkers" (2015)
"Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine" (2015)

Available 4/15

"Belgica" (2016)

Available 4/22
"Catching The Sun" (2015)

Available 4/24
"Minions" (2015)

Available 4/27
"Begin Again" (2014)

Available 4/29
"Hellion" (2014)
"Special Correspondents" (2016) ­­

Monday, March 21, 2016

Masculin Féminin Turns 50

Masculin Féminin (1966) is generally considered a transitional entry in director Jean-Luc Godard’s filmography. It is a product of his ‘contemplative’ period - the years between his big budget, star laden excursion Contempt (1963) and his manically productive year of 1967, which saw him direct no less than five features and documentaries. It was an era in which he completely lost interest - what little interest he had anyway - in traditional methods of cinematic storytelling, preferring improvised and often irrelevant vignettes. These low budget films were made fairly quickly with guerrilla production techniques and constructed like impressionist sketchbooks with little in the way of narrative through-lines. If you’re one of the legions repulsed by Godard, it’s probably because of a film like Masculin Feminine.

Set in the traffic snarled, grungy Paris of the 1960s, the raw world of Masculin Féminin consists of heavy gray skies, wet streets and bustling cafes populated by a generation of young adults who seem literally overcome with ennui. Here we meet the gloomy Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a recent discharge from the army with no idea how to proceed with his life. One day while sipping espresso, he has a chance encounter with a young and pretty fashion magazine editor (Chantal Goya) and his aimless life suddenly finds something resembling a purpose. The rest of the film will be devoted to their meandering romance; a wobbly, chaotic affair that flames and fizzles like a hinky barbecue grill. As with all Godard films, this unambitious plot serves only as a framework from which the director hangs his decorative baubles of political diatribes, Marxist philosophies and jarringly abrupt audiovisual transitions.

Godard skewers his favorite targets - the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnson - in ways both subtle and audacious. He also seems infatuated with singer Bob Dylan, who is mentioned several times in conversation, and Chantal Goya's character is given the surname Zimmer. There are also passing references to Godard's best frenemy Truffaut, with whom Jean-Pierre Léaud had made a number of films. In general, Godard doesn't have a terribly high opinion of his young protagonists, referring to them as "the children of Marx and Coca-Cola." Yet these rather empty vessels deliver some of Godard's most acid observations: "If you kill a man, you're a murderer. If you kill millions of men, you're a conqueror. If you kill them all, you're God." and "Give us a TV and a car, but deliver us from liberty."

The film caused a bit of a stir due to Godard’s casting of Chantal Goya, a teenage music phenom with no film experience but a portfolio of treacly, vacuous pop songs. In today’s terms this collaboration would be like Michael Haneke casting Justin Bieber in one of his bleak dramatic dirges. And no discussion of Masculin Féminin would be complete without mentioning the glorious monotone photography of Willy Kurant, which is crisp yet retains a brooding, mysterious murk. Indeed, many black and white French films of this era have a similar aesthetic. Whether it was the Seine water used at the Pathe film lab or the permanent Gitanes haze in the Parisian air, the films of this era have a look that has never been duplicated (although Scorsese and D.P. Michael Chapman came very close with Raging Bull in 1980). Willy Kurant would go on to have a career of mind blowing diversity, filming everything from the art house classics of Godard and Agnes Varda, to the Barbara Eden vehicle Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978) to Louis C. K.’s Pootie Tang (2001). Snug in his compound on Lake Geneva, I’m sure Godard watched all of them, and smiled approvingly.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

News and Notes: March 2016

Here's a very cool video with side-by-side comparisons of originals and remakes. Scenes from Solaris, Psycho, Old Boy and more...

Remakes from Jaume R. Lloret on Vimeo.

Fans of Yasujirō Ozu, or those looking to learn more about this extraordinary filmmaker, will want to check out this list of essential films from Indiewire.  Then take a few minutes and watch this beautiful video essay by Lewis Bond.

Anime fans will want to investigate FUNimation, a new streaming service devoted to the genre.

And finally, that spiffy new Amazon Echo has a secret audio equalizer built in...who knew??

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Days of Future Passed: My Earliest Memories, Part 2

Click Here for Part One

The next memory to pop forth from my mind would have happened a few weeks after my visit to Dr. Bill when he plied me with vaccines. My mother took me to the local elementary school to register me for first grade. This must have been in the summer because I remember the building being really hot - no schools in our area had air conditioning at the time - and the windows were open. This was significant because it meant we could hear the foul oaths of a farmer named Hart whose hay baler had broken down in the nearby soybean field. Although my mother tried to ignore it, Mr. Hart’s stream of imprecation reverberated with impressive acoustic power, as he recalled in colorful verbiage each and every time the baler had crapped out on him at critical moments, and the great inconvenience and expense the grease-spewing contraption had caused him over the years.

We were met by a Mrs. Eichel, who told us she would handle our registration and would be my first grade teacher in the fall. As she wrote down my name and address, my mother showed her my birth certificate and a citation signed by Dr. Bill attesting that I had received the pre-school inoculations required by the great state of Virginia. Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, the void was quickly filled by the bellowing of Mr. Hart, who loudly questioned the ancestry of his hay baler.

Mrs. Eichel then did a most peculiar thing. She stepped out from her desk and moved directly behind me. She then started tugging and separating my hair, and rubbing her fingers on my scalp. As my mother looked on quite stunned, Mrs. Eichel said that she was just checking for lice, and it was standard procedure.

“Well I assure you, my child is clean!” snapped my offended mother.

“Yeah, everybody says that.” Mrs. Eichel responded, “But you’d be surprised. Especially these curly headed boys. Lot of places for those critters to hide. I’ve had nothing but white trash in here all day.”

My pate having passed muster and the registration process completed, my mother and I left - stormed would be a better word - out of the building and into our 1958 Ford Fairlane. My mother’s face was bright crimson and I had never seen her so angry. Not even that time at Easter when she caught me throwing handfuls of mud at my cousin Amy. Mr. Hart’s endless malediction seemed the perfect musical accompaniment to her pitch black mood. I remember thinking that this school stuff was not getting off to a good start.

On the way home, we stopped off at Punk’s Grocery where my mother bought me a candy bar and told me to wait in the car while she made a phone call. Like most folks in our community, we didn’t have a telephone at our house, and Punk’s phone booth was a popular spot. I knew this would take a while because she had bought me a Sugar Daddy, a gooey caramel confection that required beaucoup saliva and tongue labor to devour. When parents wanted their kids to be quietly busy for awhile, Sugar Daddys always did the trick.

About a week later, an article appeared in the local newspaper announcing that Mrs. Charlotte M. Eichel would no longer be teaching at county schools because she had been assigned to the post of Deputy Curriculum Planner by the School Board. The address and phone number of her new office would be announced at a later time once the details had been determined. While the article - possibly written by Mrs. Eichel herself - put a highly positive spin on the news, this didn’t really seem like much of a promotion, especially since they weren’t sure where they would put her. When my father read the article at lunch that day, he leaned over and gave my mom a little kiss on the cheek. “I guess your phone call paid off.” he said with wink.

It turned out that day at Punk’s my mother had called Mr. McLean, head of the local school board. Mr. McLean was also in the cattle business and my father had purchased several expensive pedigreed bulls from him over the years. My mother actually spoke to Mrs. McLean - for her to speak directly to Mr. McLean would have been a breach of protocol - and she recounted Mrs. Eichel’s louse search and my mother made it quite clear that she found the whole process offensive and demeaning. The sympathetic Mrs. McLean said she was unaware of any such policy at the school, and would speak to her husband about it when he came home from work.

My mother was a kind and gentle person, but she could be distant and reserved at times. She was also prone to long, gloomy sulks and silences; a trait I unfortunately have inherited. But that day I learned that when it came to her family, my mother would fight like a pitbull. She showed her affection in deeds, not words. We may not have always seen eye-to-eye, but I knew that I would always be able to count on her when I needed support and love. And for nearly 50 years, I did.

Click Here for Part 3

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Lives of Others Turns 10

Although it’s rife with spooks, secrets and surveillance, 2006’s Best Foreign Film Oscar winner The Lives of Others is not so much a spy thriller as a spy meditation. Directed with appropriately gloomy atmospherics by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - my favorite Germanic name since Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf - every sprocket hole of the film oozes with the oppression and paranoia that pervaded communist East Germany in the 1980s. Of course, the citizenry had good reason to be paranoid, as the state’s fanatical secret police, known as the Stasi, left no stone unturned in search of possible traitors and subversives.

But the Stasi’s biggest concern was East Berlin’s artistic community, and the possibility that one of these sketchy bohemians would create an unflattering portrait of life in the GDR, tossing an embarrassing wrench into the state’s propaganda machine. Toward that end, a lifer Stasi agent named Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) decides to wiretap the apartment of a celebrated playwright (Sebastian Koch) and his actress girlfriend (über-sexy Martina Gedeck). As Wieser huddles in a dark room surrounded by tape recorders and microphones, he listens in on the couple’s tender and tempestuous moments, and has a surprising reaction. Their kindness and basic human decency strike a strong contrast to the thick-necked cruelty of his ambitious fellow agents, and Wiesler finds himself becoming more of a protector than a prosecutor to the beleaguered couple.

While the The Lives of Others was a boon to the careers of Koch and Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe’s sad eyes and melancholy demeanor dominate the film. It was a role that resonated deeply with him. Decades earlier as a struggling young actor, he had briefly been the subject of Stasi surveillance after his angry ex-wife denounced him to the authorities. Little known outside of Germany, save for a few early Michael Haneke films, Ulrich Mühe spent most of his long career in relative obscurity, and The Lives of Others seemed like his ticket to international stardom. Alas it was not to be, as Ulrich Mühe was hiding a secret of his own. Just hours after the Oscar ceremony, he flew back to Germany to undergo surgery for stomach cancer, and died four months later. The Lives of Others stands as a superb tribute to the quiet brilliance of Ulrich Mühe; a talent taken from us way too soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Trailers: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

Eye in the Sky (2015)

Now playing. Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.

Valley of Love (2015)

In select theaters March 25th. In this examination of a broken family, acclaimed actors, Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu play thinly disguised versions of themselves as a separated couple who journey to Death Valley after receiving a mysterious letter from their dead son. An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival

Me Before You (2016)

Opening June 3. A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.

The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Opens July 1. Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Days of Future Passed: Earliest Memories, Part 1

Painting courtesy Duane Dorshimer

Recently I’ve been trying to sort out my earliest memories from childhood. Considering my dearth of memories prior to about third grade, one could conclude that I was a child prodigy in the art of not paying attention. I’ve always had a dreamy, introspective mind, subject to flights of fancy, impressionistic wandering and habitual drift. However there are a few actual events I recall with clarity. They’re quite ordinary things, but for some reason they’ve managed to stick in the gooey, discombobulated jumble between my ears.

My first memory is standing in a tobacco field on a bright summer afternoon; the waxy plants billowing over my head in a hot breeze. A tall, muscular black man who worked for my father leaned down to my eye level. With rivulets of sweat dripping from his forehead and an unfiltered Camel dangling from his lips, he asked me how old I was. I deeply pondered the question for a few moments and said “I believe I’m four.”

Whether it was my long deliberation or the solemness of my young voice I can’t say, but the man erupted in a fit of hysterical laughter that ended only when he was overtaken by a spell of phlegmy coughing. When he’d sufficiently recovered he reached into his pocket and handed me a dime - a princely sum in those days - and told me to buy myself some candy. He turned away and hocked up a few foamy bits of mucus which he casually spat onto the chunky red clay of Southside Virginia. I have tried to remember the man’s name but it’s been lost to history’s mists, and why this banal exchange stands out in my mental clutter I really don’t know.

The next clear memory I have is my mother taking me to Dr. Bill Haywood’s rural clinic for my pre-school vaccinations. Along with the required injections Dr. Bill, as everyone called him, told my mother that I should also have the newfangled polio vaccine. The shots had hurt like hell, and neither me nor my mother were too crazy about the idea of additional punctures. Dr. Bill said not to worry, that I could take it orally. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but he then produced a sugar cube that had been impregnated with the magic medicinal, and instructed me to eat it. We only used powdered sugar at our house, and I had never seen a sugar cube before. It was delicious.

Dr. Bill was our family doctor, not to mention the only doctor for miles around. He was the sort of jack-of-all-trades physician you don’t find much anymore. He set broken bones, removed suspicious cysts, treated childhood maladies, cared for incontinent elders and rarely faced an illness he couldn’t lick with a combination of time tested meds and a jovial bedside manner. He was a very important person in my young life. He delivered me at his office when my mother went into labor a few weeks early. He attended to my various youthful poxes, infections and boneheaded injuries. When I was 10 years old he drove me to the hospital, quite rapidly as I recall, because I required an emergency appendectomy. He even assisted in the operating room while his brother Walter, the town’s only surgeon, removed the seriously inflamed but wholly unnecessary organ.

My recollection of the details concerning that hair-on-fire trip to the hospital are a little hazy, probably because I was writhing in pain and dehydrated from projectile vomiting, but I assume it took place in Dr. Bill’s prized 1953 Jaguar XK-120. He was passionate about that car, and after long days of caring for us country bumpkins, he certainly deserved to blow off a little steam by zipping along our winding roads with the top down. Unfortunately that car also indirectly led to his untimely demise during my junior year in high school. By then Dr. Bill’s beloved Jag was 20 years old and, while never a highly reliable car, it had become extremely hinky in its dotage. Very early one morning Dr. Bill noticed the car was making a strange clanging noise, and decided to drop it off at Mr. Barnwell’s garage. The garage had not yet opened, so he dropped the keys in a special box Mr. Barnwell had installed on the front door for such purposes. The clinic was only about a mile away, and Dr. Bill decided the walk would do him good. But it was still quite dark out and a thick fog was rising out of the nearby Staunton River. As Dr. Bill ambled across state road 501, he failed to notice an approaching truck full of chickens driven by a man from Red Oak who wasn’t yet fully awake.

The loss of Dr. Bill stunned our community. The Episcopal church in town overflowed with mourners at his memorial service. It also represented the end of an era. Dr. Bill’s practice was eventually taken over by Dr. Shuthanaporn, a recent arrival from Thailand who spoke English with a thick, exotic accent the provincial ears of southern Virginia found indecipherable. Unlike Dr. Bill, Dr. Shuthanaporn did not know you, the names of your kids or your grandmother’s medical history. He was very busy and didn’t have time for your thoughts, emotions or funny stories about fishing trips. To him you were a page of vital signs, statistics and test results. He was the future.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A War (2015) ✭✭✭✭

Nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar, Danish import A War (2015) is an emotionally charged story about the war on terror and the impossible situations in which soldiers are often placed. Part war story, part courtroom drama, the film stars rising young talent Pilou Asbæk as a squadron commander in Afghanistan who during a battle reports false information in order to save the life of a gravely wounded comrade. When his actions lead to the accidental death of some Afgan civilians, he is brought up on serious charges and faces a long prison term. As becomes clear in the following trial, Western governments want their military interventions nice and clean, with no mistakes or collateral damage whatsoever, even at the risk of their own troops. But when fighting an enemy with no uniforms who are able to blend into the local populace, are such laudable goals even possible?

The film attempts to capture all angles of a modern soldier's life, including the plight of Asbæk's wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) who faces struggles of her own. Trying to raise three young children who pine for their father, Maria's exhausting days are spent trying to keep them on the straight and narrow long enough to maintain an illusion of calm for Daddy's nightly Skype chats. For in this technological age, our soldiers remain connected enough to still be fully aware of their crumbling families, but powerless to help. Director Tobias Lindholm pushes this subplot just enough to create well rounded characters of his camo-clad warriors, as they're beset by fears and dangers from all sides. Ironically, once Asbæk returns home to face his legal proceedings, he spends much of his time alone on the patio, immersed in cigarette smoke and deep thought. As Lindholm subtily and sadly posits, the family seemed closer when Dad was deployed.

Fans of recent Danish productions will spot a number of familiar faces. Asbæk’s colleagues from Borgen include Soren Malling as a defense attorney and Dar Salim as an army officer, along with Charlotte Munck from Headhunter (2009) and the excellent TV series Anna Pihl (2006-08). I saw the film at a newly opened theater that features the latest in Dolby Atmos audio technology. While I am not usually a fan of such gimmicks, the effect is put to good use here, with the battle scenes’ explosions and gunfire reverberating with a soul shattering power I had never experienced before. One gains a deep appreciation of how difficult it is for soldiers to keep cool heads and make good decisions while immersed in such deafening bedlam. A War breaks no new ground in the genre of modern war movies, but it's highly effective at capturing the enormous demands placed on our fighting men and women and their splintered families back home. And it offers deeper condemnation of those leaders who would dispatch them for frivolous and fraudulent purposes.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

César Awards 2016

The César Awards - the French equivalent of the Oscars - were presented last Friday night. In a surprise, Philippe Faucon’s Fatima won Best Picture, while Mustang took four categories. Veterans Catherine Frot and Vincent Lindon took top acting honors while Birdman was awarded Best Foreign Film. Michael Douglas was recognized for lifetime achievements, and delivered a stirring acceptance speech in French. More details HERE.

Fatima, dir: Philippe Faucon

Vincent Lindon, La Loi Du Marché

Arnaud Desplechin, My Golden Days

Catherine Frot, Marguerite

Birdman, dir: Alejandro G Inarritu

Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour, Mustang

Benoit Magimel, La Tête Haute

Warren Ellis, Mustang

Philippe Faucon, Fatima

Sidse Babett Knudsen, L’Hermine

Martin Kurel, Marguerite

Mustang, dir: Deniz Gamze Erguven

Tomorrow, dirs: Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent

Mathilde Van De Moortel, Mustang

Christophe Offenstein, Valley Of Love

François Musy and Gabriel Hafner, Marguerite

Le Petit Prince, dir: Mark Osborne

Le Repas Dominical, dir: Céline Devaux

Rod Paradot, La Tête Haute

Pierre-Jean Larroque, Marguerite

La Contre Allée, dir: Cécile Ducrocq

Zita Hanrot, Fatima

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Quickies: March 2016

The Window (2008) ✭✭✭✭

One of those bleak yet magical stories that seem to run in the blood of South American directors.  An elderly gent (Antonio Larrea) spends his final days in bed staring out the window to the rolling meadows beyond. He decides to take one last stroll and finds he's not too old and sick to still experience adventure.

In The Courtyard (2014) ✭✭✭½
Amazon Prime

Amusing Deneuve vehicle in which she plays a slightly senile pensioner who becomes convinced her Paris neighborhood is sinking into the ground. Permanently rumpled Gustave Kervern is quite funny as her co-hort and protector.

The Giant Mechanical Man (2012) ✭✭✭½
Amazon Prime

Rom-Com royalty Chris Messina and Jenna Fischer star in this above average chick flick. Topher Grace is terrific as a self-help guru you want to smash like a bug.

Ici-bas (2012) ✭✭½ 

True story of a nun who commits treason during WWII because of romantic emotions she doesn't really understand and is ill-equipped to handle. Promising beginning, but lapses into crappy melodrama.