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The 100-Year-Old Man . . . Movie Review *** 10/30/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on a novel, Chicago International Film Festival, Comedy, Dark Comedy, European Film Awards, Movies, Swedish language film.
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish) 2013
Based on the novel by Jonas Jonasson

Directed by Felix Herngren
Starring Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, and David Wiberg

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Audience Choice Award (Herngren), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Audience Award (Herngren), European Film Awards

Allan Karlsson (Gustafsson) doesn’t want to celebrate his 100th birthday at the nursing home, so he opens the window of his room and climbs out. Off he goes on an adventure that will eventually include disposing of a dead body.

The quirky tale of Allan’s latest adventure is interspersed with flashbacks from what has been a most unusual life. We see events of decades of history unfold through a series of coincidences that brought him into contact with major players; unwittingly he influenced the course of history.

The 100 Year old man is not your usual generic look at aging. If you like dark humor, this movie should tickle your funny bone.

Highly recommended. ***

114 min. Rated R.

For more info:
The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared

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The Two Faces of January – Movie Review 08/10/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Academy of Science Fiction, Action/Thriller, Based on a novel, British, Drama, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Online Film & Television Assoc., Thriller.
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The Two Faces of January (British) 2014

Directed by Hossein Amini
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS:
NOMINATED, Saturn Award-Best Independent Film, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
NOMINATED, Breakthrough British Filmmaker ALFS Award (Amini), London Critics Circle Film Awards
NOMINATED, OFTA Film Award, Best Feature Debut (Amini), Online Film & Television Association

In the early 1960s, Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) live an upscale lifestyle, supported by Chester’s skill as a swindler. As they are traveling across Europe, they meet up with Rydal (Isaac), a young guide who does some small scale cheating of his own. When Chester accidentally murders a private detective hired by some of his American victims, Rydal agrees to help the couple and the three get caught up in emotional turmoil.

A pretty good thriller, despite some plot holes that must be overlooked. The film is based on a novel by the prolific Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train. Director Hossein Amini garnered a few nominations for his debut film.

96 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
The Two Faces of January

How I Live Now-DVD Review 07/21/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy of Science Fiction, Based on a novel, British, British Independent Film Awards, Movies, Science Fiction.
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How I Live Now (British) 2013
Based on the novel by Meg Rosoff

Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Starring Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay

Nominated for a few awards:
NOMINATED, Saturn Award-Best International Film, United Kingdom; Best Performance by a Younger Actor
(Ronan), Academy of Science Fiction
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Ronan); Most Promising Newcomer (Harley Bird), British Independent Film Awards

A dystopian story, set in the near future. Daisy (Ronan) is a troubled American teenager sent to live with her three cousins in the English countryside, where the adult supposedly in charge (her aunt) is often absent because of work. As Daisy warms to her surroundings, she develops romantic feelings toward Eddie (MacKay), the eldest cousin. When they receive reports that the war breaking out in the world will soon reach their doorstep, the cousins must rely on themselves to survive.

Saoirse Ronan earlier appeared in Atonement, for which she received nominations for Best Supporting Actress from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, among others. She also appears in the 2011 film Hanna. How I Live Now is geared more to a teen audience; with that said, it’s okay for what it is.

101 min. Rated R.

For more info:
How I Live Now

Disgrace-DVD Review 06/03/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Australian, Australian Cinematographers Society, Australian Writers Guild, Based on a novel, Emotional Drama, Film Critics Circle of Australia, Taipei Film Festival, Thriller, Toronto International Film Festival.
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DISGRACE (Australian/South African) 2008
Based on the novel by J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Directed by Steve Jacobs
Starring John Malkovich, Jessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney, and Fiona Press

WINNER, Award of Distinction-Feature Film (Arnold), Australian Cinematographers Society
WINNER, Awgie Award, Feature Film-Adaptation (Anna Maria Monticelli-screenwriter), Australian Writers Guild
NOMINATED, FCCA Award, Best Screenplay (Monticelli), Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards
WINNER, International New Talent Competition – Grand Prize (Jacobs), Taipei Film Festival
WINNER, International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI), Toronto International Film Festival

In Capetown, South Africa, middle-aged Professor David Lurie (Malkovich) is accustomed to taking advantage of his female students. When he gets caught having a relationship with one, he chooses to leave in disgrace rather than defending his actions as expected. He visits his daughter Lucy (Haines), who lives alone on a remote farm. Despite the obvious dangers in her surroundings, he cannot convince her to leave.

I read Coetzee’s novel, which won the 1999 Booker Prize, recently and was interested to see how it fared as a film adaptation. It is a story with some very grim aspects; director Jacobs treats them fairly, with the same measured tone as the novel, and without sensationalizing them. John Malkovich’s reserved manner suits the role of the self-centered professor, who knows he has done wrong but doesn’t seem able to feel sorry about it.

119 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Disgrace

Midnight’s Children-DVD Review 01/26/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, British, Emotional Drama, Fantasy, Genie Awards, London Film Festival, Movies, Valldolid International Film Festival.
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MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN (British/Hindi) 2012
Based on the novel by Salman Rushdie

Screenplay written by Salman Rushdie et al.
Directed by Deepa Mehta
Starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, and Rajat Kapoor

Check out wins and nominations on IMDB

The title Midnight’s Children refers to those babies born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the date that India declares independence from Great Britain. The children are born with special powers, with each individual having his or her own specialty. However, two of the babies are switched in the hospital, leading Saleem to be raised by wealthy parents instead of living a life of poverty. As changes occur in the political landscape, Saleem’s life also undergoes changes, but Midnight’s Children are always part of it.

A good movie that, considering the novel it was based on, could have been better. The first part was much better than the second part, which seemed rushed and less intriguing. Rushdie wrote the screenplay, as far as I can tell his only attempt at this. Deepa Mehta is known for his trilogy of films: Fire; Earth; and Water.

148 min. Not rated. Not suitable for children.

For more info:
Midnight’s Children

Silver Linings Playbook-DVD Review 08/29/2013

Posted by dmbinder in Academy Awards, Based on a novel, Comedy, Emotional Drama, Movies, Romantic comedy.
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SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (American) 2012
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick

Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver

This film was very popular on the awards circuit, so click here for a list of awards and nominations.

Former teacher Pat Solitano (Cooper) returns to his parents’ house after spending some time in a mental institution where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His parents, Pat Sr. (De Niro) and Dolores (Weaver) do their best to cope with his ups and downs. When Pat Jr. meets the offbeat Tiffany (Lawrence), his life seems to take a new and more promising turn.

The beginning of this movie didn’t seem very entertaining or humorous to me, and I almost stopped watching it. One of its benefits is said to be an increased awareness of this type of mental illness and how the family is affected by it. That it did do, I suppose, although I venture to say that not all (and probably not most) outcomes are so positive. Overall, I thought the film was worth watching and that the versatile Jennifer Lawrence did deserve her Oscar win.

For more info:
Silver Linings Playbook

The Last Station-DVD Review*** 07/29/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Based on a novel, Biographical, British, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Hessian Film Award, Highly recommended, Independent Spirit Awards, Michael Hoffman, Movies, Romance, Satellite Awards.
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The Last Station (British) 2009 ***
Based on Jay Parini’s 1990 novel, The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy’s Last Year

Directed by Michael Hoffman
Starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, and Paul Giamatti

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Mirren); Best Supporting Actor (Plummer), Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Mirren); Best Supporting Actor (Plummer), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best International Literature Adaptation (Hoffman), Hessian Film Award
NOMINATED, Best Director (Hoffman); Best Feature; Best Female Lead (Mirren); Best Screenplay (Hoffman); Best Supporting Male (Plummer), Independent Spirit Awards
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (McAvoy), Satellite Awards

As renowned and beloved author Leo Tolstoy’s (Plummer) life approaches its end, unwanted drama surrounds him in the form of his family and associates. His associates aim to convince Tolstoy that, in his final will, his works should become the property of the Russian people; his passionate wife, Countess Sofya (Mirren), fears that she and her children will be left with nothing.

Plummer’s Tolstoy tries (but doesn’t always manage) to retain a sense of peaceful dignity as he contends with his distraught wife. Mirren’s Sofya pulls no punches with increasingly erratic behavior as she once again puts in an outstanding performance that makes this a film worth seeing.

Highly recommended.

112 min. Rated R.

Check it out on Netflix
or
Amazon The Last Station

The Idiot-DVD Review 05/14/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, Classic film, Drama, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Japanese language film, Psychological Suspense, Setsuko Hara.
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The Idiot (Japanese) 1951

Adapted from the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Masayuki Mori, Setsuko Hara, Yoshiko Kuga, and Toshirô Mifune

From director Kurosawa’s postwar series, this adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novel features Kamuda (Mori), a man recently released from an asylum and branded an idiot as a result of his war injuries, and his volatile friend Akama (Mifune). Both are loved by Taeko (Hara), but even after the innocent and trusting Kameda makes a life with Ayako (Kuga), Akama cannot let go of his jealousy.

The film, set in a stark and snowy environment, stars many of Kurosawa’s favorite actors, most notably Setsuko Hara in the lead female role. It was originally 265 minutes long, but Kurosawa was forced to cut it to a still-lengthy 166 minutes.

Black and white.
166 min.

Check it out on Netflix
or
Amazon (this link is for the Criterion Collection, not the same DVD I watched):
Eclipse Series 7: Postwar Kurosawa (No Regrets for Our Youth / One Wonderful Sunday / Scandal / The Idiot / I Live in Fear) (The Criterion Collection)

Winter’s Bone-DVD Review 03/31/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Based on a novel, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Sundance Film Festival, Suspense, Thriller.
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Winter’s Bone (American) 2010

Adapted from the novel by Daniel Woodrell
Directed by Debra Granik
Screenplay by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, and Dale Dickey

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Picture (Rosellini and Alix Madigan); Best Supporting Actor (Hawkes); Best Leading Actress (Lawrence); Best Adapted Screenplay (Granik and Rosellini), Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress-Drama (Lawrence), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best Supporting Female (Dickey), Best Supporting Male (Hawkes), NOMINATED, Best Cinematography (Michael McDonough); Best Feature; Best Director (Granik); Best Female Lead (Lawrence); Best Screenplay, Independent Spirit Awards
WINNER, Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic (Granik); Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award (Granik and Rosellini), Sundance Film Festival

In a poor backwoods area of the Ozarks, seventeen-year-old Ree (Lawrence) is forced to care for her two younger siblings when her mother goes into a depression and her father goes missing. Despite warnings to leave matters alone, she sets out to find her father.

Although it received critical acclaim and many awards (above is just a small selection), Winter’s Bone is one of the lower grossing films nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards. Here’s a chance to see a gripping performance by young actress Jennifer Lawrence before her new release, The Hunger Games.

100 min. Rated R for drug use, language, and violence.

For more info:
Winter’s Bone

Das Boot-DVD Review *** 08/04/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, Drama, German language film, Movies, World War II.
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Das Boot (German) 1997/1981

The Director’s Cut released in 1997
Originally released in 1981
Based on the novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim

NOMINATED, Best Cinematography (Jost Vocano); Best Director (Wolfgang Petersen); Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Mike Le Mare); Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Wolfgang Petersen), Academy Awards
WINNER, Film Award in Gold Outstanding Individual Achievement: Sound/Sound Mixing (Milan Bor); Film Award in Silver, Outstanding Feature Film, German Film Awards

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, and Martin Semmelrogge

The physical hardships and emotional toll faced by the young men of a German U-boat crew, who went to battle facing almost certain death.

This remastered version of the film, which was first shot as a German TV miniseries, gives an incredibly realistic portrayal of the close quarters in a submarine, and of the terrifying sounds in a submarine under attack.

Over three hours long, the film maintains the suspense throughout.

209 min. Rated R. Adult themes and violence.

For more info:
Das Boot – The Director’s Cut