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Jiro Dreams of Sushi-Movie Review *** 02/12/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Documentary, Japanese language film, Movies, Online Film Critics Society Awards, Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, St. Louis Film Critics Association.
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Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japanese) 2011 ***

Directed By David Gelb
Starring Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, and Takashi Ono

Check out the list of one win and eight nominations on IMDB.

Jiro Ono has devoted his life to sushi. At the time of filming he is age 85, but not yet ready to hand the reins of his famous, award-winning Tokyo restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, over to his elder son. Yoshikazu, who is in his fifties, has been his father’s apprentice for many years, but is still not skilled enough to take over his father’s business. Jiro’s younger son Takashi has opened a second successful sushi restaurant based on his father’s principles.

For anyone who thinks they love sushi: Jiro Ono will show you what a true passion for it is. Whether his control of the fate of his sons–however well-meaning–is an admirable quality is, for me, something to ponder.

Writing this review makes me want some well-prepared sushi, and I know just where to get some. But (sorry, Jiro) sometimes nothing makes me happier than opening the refrigerator and seeing some leftovers that I just have to heat up! 🙂

Highly recommended. ***
81 min. Rated PG.


Broken Flowers-Movie Review 12/28/2013

Posted by Films to consider in American, Cambridge Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Drama, Emotional Drama, Movies, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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BROKEN FLOWERS (American) 2005

Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Starring Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton

Winner of the following awards and nominated for several others:
WINNER, Audience Award-Best Film (Jarmusch), Cambridge Film Festival
WINNER, Grand Prize of the Jury, NOMINATED, Palme d’Or, (both for Jarmusch) Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best Foreign Language Film (Jarmusch), Czech Lions
WINNER, Best Supporting Actor (Wright), San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

Bill Murray gives an unexpectedly touching performance in this low-key drama/comedy. Don Johnston (Murray) is a man with little emotional connection to life. He receives an anonymous letter informing him that he has a nineteen-year-old son he knew nothing about, but no other details. From his past relationships, there are four possibilities. Urged on by his neighbor Winston (Wright), a family man with dreams of writing mystery stories, Johnston makes unannounced visits to his former girlfriends to see if he can figure out who might be the mother.

Some of the comedy falls flat, but somehow the overall story makes up for it.

106 min. Rated R for language, graphic nudity and brief drug use.


Ondine-Movie Review 01/12/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Folk Tale, Irish film, Irish Film and Television Awards, Neil Jordan, Romance, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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Ondine (Irish) 2009

Written and directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda, Dervla Kirwan, and Alison Barry

WINNER, Best Lead Actor (Farrell); Best Supporting Actress (Kirwan); Best Production Design; Best Sound, Irish Film and Television Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Farrell); NOMINATED, Best Original Screenplay (Jordan), San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

An updated version of the Irish folktale of the Selkies, seals who transform into humans for a time.

Syracuse (Farrell) is a fisherman and a recovering alcoholic with a solitary lifestyle. His young daughter Annie (Barry), who lives with his ex-wife Maura (Kirwan), has kidney disease and must use a wheelchair. Syracuse does his best to help care for her.

One day, Syracuse pulls up one of his fishing nets and finds a young woman named Ondine (Bachleda). At first she seems to be drowned but comes back to life. Annie begins to believe that she is a Selkie, and she soon has her father and much of the town believing it, too.

Although not a big award winner, I thought this film was refreshing and not overly sentimental. Farrell shows an emotional side that makes his relationships with Annie and Ondine touching, and the ending, which is a bit of a stretch, easier to accept. Alison Barry, who plays Annie, hasn’t acted before this role.

Also check out The Secret of the Roan Inish, for another retelling of the tale.

103 min. Rated PG-13.


A Somewhat Gentle Man-Movie Review 08/13/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Amanda Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Chlotrudis Awards, Dark Comedy, Hans Petter Moland, Movies, Norway, Norwegian language film, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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A Somewhat Gentle Man (Norwegian) 2010
En ganske snill mann

Directed by Hans Petter Moland
Starring Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Floberg, Gard Eidsvold, Jorunn Kjellsby, and Jannike Kruse

WINNER, Best Actor (Skarsgard); NOMINATED, Best Film; Best Editing; Best Supporting Actress (Kjellsby), Amanda Awards, Norway
WINNER, Reader Jury of the “Berliner Morgenpost” (Moland); NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Moland), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Skarsgard), Chlotrudis Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

A dark comedy from the north country, with a suitably quirky sense of humor and a very amusing cast of characters.

When Ulrik (Skarsgard) is released from prison after serving a 12 year sentence for murder, he tries to escape from the revenge plot put into action by his former associates.

103 min. Not rated. Suitable for adults and older teens.


The Messenger-Movie Review *** 06/17/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Oren Moverman, Samantha Morton, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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The Messenger (American) 2009 ***

Directed by Oren Moverman
Written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
Starring Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, and Samantha Morton

Among many awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson); Best Original Screenplay (Camon and Moverman), Academy Awards
WINNER, Peace Film Award (Moverman); Silver Berlin Bear-Best Screenplay (Camon and Moverman); Golden Berlin Bear (Moverman), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson), Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Breakthrough Award (Foster), Gotham Awards
WINNER, Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson); NOMINATED, Best First Feature; Best Screenplay; Best Supporting Actress (Morton), Independent Spirit Awards
WINNER, Best Supporting Actress (MORTON); 2nd PLACE-Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson); NOMINATED, Best Actor (Foster), San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

Returning from Iraq, injured and with three months of service left, Will Montgomery (Foster) gets assigned to Casualty Notification and is paired up with career officer Tony Stone (Harrelson), a recovering alcoholic. Their job is to inform the next of kin, in person and as soon as possible, when a loved one has been killed in the line of duty. The range of emotions they must deal with in the family members corresponds to the range of emotions they must face in themselves.

As noted above, Woody Harrelson received much-deserved acclaim for his role as the tough-minded captain trying to break in the new messenger. I also thought Ben Foster did an outstanding job as the younger, more vulnerable, and, in some respects, more mature Will Montgomery.

Highly recommended.

112 min. Rated R. Adult themes.