jump to navigation

The 33 – Movie Review 12/10/2016

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true events, Drama, Imagen Foundation Awards, Movies, Spanish language film.
1 comment so far

The 33  (Chile/Spanish/English) 2015
Based on true events

Directed by Patricia Riggen
Starring Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, and Juliette Binoche

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Picture, Best Director (Riggen), Best Actor (Banderas), Best Actress (Binoche), Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress; NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress (all for Feature Film), Imagen Award

When a copper-gold mine in Chile collapses in 2010, 33 miners are trapped inside. As the miners deal with the reality that they have only a few days worth of supplies to survive on, the horrible working conditions of the mine are revealed.

Mario Sepúlvedo (Banderas) emerges as the leader of the men, rationing out the food available until supplies can be sent down to them. Aboveground their families, including María Segovia (Binoche), the sister of one of the miners, keep watch. They refuse to allow the mine owners or government authorities to give up trying to reach the men. The ordeal continues for an incredible 69 days.

Although the story of the miners’ survival is already known, the film keeps the tension going throughout. My admiration for The 33 is tempered by ongoing questions about compensation for the miners, however.

127 min.

For more info:
The 33

Advertisements

Terribly Happy-Movie Review 11/19/2016

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Bodil Awards, Chicago International Film Festival, Danish language film, Dark Comedy, Movies, Psychological Suspense, Robert Festival.
add a comment

TERRIBLY HAPPY (Danish) 2008

Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz

Starring Jacob Cedergren, Lene Maria Christensen, and Kim Bodnia

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Film; Best Actor (Cedergren); Best Actress (Christensen); Best Supporting Actor (Bodnia); Best Cinematography; Special Award; NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (Lars Brygmann), Bodil Awards
WINNER, Silver Hugo-Direction, Chicago International Film Festival
WINNER, BEST in 10 categories, including Film, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay; NOMINATED in 4 other categories, Robert Festival

After he has a nervous breakdown, Robert (Cedergren), a police officer in Copenhagen, is sent to a small, tight-knit town located near an infamous bog, where things and people sometimes just disappear. Robert doesn’t try to fit in at first, but he is gradually sucked in (sorry for pun-didn’t try) by the weirdness of the townspeople.

If you like offbeat tales from the northern climes, you will likely enjoy this one.

99 min. Unrated; not suitable for younger audiences, IMO.

Wolf Totem-Movie Review *** 07/02/2016

Posted by Films to consider in Beijing International Film Festival, China Film Directors' Guild Award, Drama, Hong Kong Film Awards, Movies.
add a comment

WOLF TOTEM (Chinese) 2015

Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring Shaofeng Feng, Shawn Dou, Ankhnyam Ragchaa

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Tiantian Award-Best Director, Jean-Jacques Annaud; Best Visual Effects-Christian Rajaud , Jianquan Guo, NOMINATED, Tiantian Award-Best Picture, Beijing International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Screenplay (Wei Lu), China Film Directors’ Guild Award

During the Cultural Revolution in China, two students are sent to live with a nomadic tribe of sheep herders in Inner Mongolia for two years. There they are to teach the herders, and also work with them. One of the students, Chen Zhen (Shaofeng Feng), has an encounter with a wolf that has a profound effect on him. He decides to capture a wolf cub and raise it.

A beautifully filmed story from French director, Jean-Jacques Annaud, known for movies such as Seven Years in Tibet, Quest for Fire, and The Name of the Rose, among others. Some of the Special Features about the film show how the wolves were trained and treated before, during, and after the filming.

Highly recommended. ***
121 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
Wolf Totem

All is Bright-Movie Review 12/24/2015

Posted by Films to consider in American, Christmas film, Comedy, Dark Comedy, Movies, North Carolina Film Critics Association.
add a comment

All is Bright (American) 2013

Directed by Phil Morrison
Starring Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, Amy Landecker, and Sally Hawkins

NOMINATED, Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Film Critics Association

Dennis (Giamatti) is a thief. When he gets out of prison, he finds out that his wife Therese (Landecker) has told their young daughter that he died of cancer. Not only that, but his former partner is set to marry Therese. Still, the two men decide to go to New York City together to make some fast money selling Christmas trees.

This film is not a family film for the holidays; its ending is only slightly uplifting to keep with the spirit of the season. It’s moderately amusing, with darkish comedy mostly based on the situation Giamatti’s character finds himself in. Still, it might give you a few chuckles and get you out of any Hallmark rut you’ve gotten yourself into! And hey, it gave me a new award category.

P.S. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more films. Happy holidays to all and to all a good day!

107 min. Rated R.

For more info:
All Is Bright

Tristana-Movie Review *** 11/16/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Black & white, Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Classic film, Drama, Emotional Drama, Fotogramas de Plata, Luis Buñuel, National Syndicate of Spectacle, Premios ACE, Psychological Drama, Sant Jordi Awards, Spain, Spanish language film.
add a comment

Tristana (Spanish) 1970 ***

Directed by Luis Buñuel
Starring Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey

NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Film; Best Actor (Rey); Best Director (Buñuel), Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain
WINNER, Best Spanish Movie Performer (Rey); NOMINATED, Best Spanish Movie Performer (Lola Gaos), Fotogramas de Plata
WINNER, Best Supporting Actress (Lola Gaos); Best Film; Best Male Star (Rey); Best Cinematography, National Syndicate of Spectacle, Spain
WINNER, Best Actor (Rey), Premios ACE
WINNER, Best Film (Buñuel); Best Performance in a Spanish Film (Rey), Sant Jordi Awards

When Tristana (Deneuve), an innocent young woman, loses her mother, she is sent to Toledo to live with Don Lope (Rey), a poverty-stricken nobleman, as her guardian. Lope is a lecherous man who is losing his charm as he ages. He seduces the innocent Tristana and tries to keep her in his clutches.

A psychological drama spotlighting the talents of two popular actors: a young Catherine Deneuve and the seasoned Fernando Rey. Famed writer and director Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) often took on the hypocrisy in Spanish society and in the Catholic Church, and this story includes both those themes. Although not a big award winner outside Spain in the early 1970s, the film, which was shot in black and white, stands as part of Buñuel’s legacy.

*** Highly recommended.

95 min. Rated PG-13

For more info:
Tristana

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.
add a comment

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

The Robber-Movie Review 09/13/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Austrian Film Awards, Based on true events, Bavarian Film Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Crime, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Movies, Suspense.
add a comment

The Robber (German/Austrian) 2010
Based on true events

Directed by Benjamin Heisenberg
Starring Andreas Lust and Franziska Weisz

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Director (Heisenberg); Best Actor (Lust); NOMINATED, Best Screenplay; Best Feature Film; and other wins and nominations, Austrian Film Awards.
WINNER, Best Direction-Young Film (Heisenberg), Bavarian Film Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Heisenberg), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Gold Hugo-Best Feature; Best Feature (both Heisenberg), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lust), German Film Critics Association Awards

In Austria, Johann Kastenberger (Lust) serves time in prison for bank robbery, where he diligently pursues physical training. After he is released in 1984, he begins to win marathons but pursues a double life as a serial bank robber. Kastenberger doesn’t seem motivated by simple greed–but by a desire to win, perhaps?

The film is based on a real events in the life story of Kastenberger, who was finally stopped in the late 80s after eluding the police for several years. The film has very little dialogue, but plenty of action and chase scenes as it portrays the string of brazen robberies and incredibly successful getaways. It leaves much of the psychological interpretation behind events to the viewer.

97 min. Unrated.

For more info:
The Robber

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.
add a comment

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

Whiplash-DVD Review *** 07/12/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Based on true events, Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Gotham Awards, Movies, Sundance Film Festival.
add a comment

Whiplash (American) 2014

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons

Among many other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Supporting Actor (Simmons); Best Sound Mixing; Best Film Editing; NOMINATED, Best Motion Picture; Best Writing, Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Supporting Actor (Simmons); Best Editing; Best Sound; NOMINATED, Best Original Screenplay; David Lean Award for Direction (both Chazelle), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Teller), Gotham Awards

Andrew (Teller), a student at a prestigious music academy, is obsessed with the idea of becoming the next great jazz drummer. His talent and determination get the notice of Fletcher (Simmons), a top teacher at the school. To force his students to be their best, Fletcher uses a style of teaching that can only be called outright abuse.

Director Chazelle wrote this film as a result of his own experiences trying to break into the jazz drumming world. As he mentions in an interview, the reason he became a director and not a jazz drummer is essentially the story of the movie. Teller does a great job in the drumming sequences; Simmons goes over and above the call of duty in becoming the kind of teacher you don’t want to have. Chazelle and Simmons especially garnered many wins and nominations.

Highly recommended. ***

107 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Whiplash

The Broken Circle Breakdown-DVD Review *** 05/15/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, César Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Flemish language film, Movies, Norwegian Int'l Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival.
add a comment

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Flemish) 2012 ***

Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Starring Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Foreign Film (van Groeningen), César Awards
WINNER, Audience Award (van Groeningen ), Norwegian International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Motion Picture-International, Satellite Awards
WINNER, Best Actress-Narrative Feature (Baetens); Best Screenplay (Carl Joos and Felix Van Groeningen); NOMINATED, Best Narrative Feature (Van Groeningen),Tribeca Film Festival

In Belgium, Elise (Baetens) and Didier (Heldenbergh) meet and fall in love. Elise is a tattoo artist; Didier is a singer with a band that plays American country music. They marry and have a daughter, but soon the couple must face a heartbreaking tragedy that strikes their family.

Highly recommended.

111 minutes. Not rated (adult themes).

For more info:
The Broken Circle Breakdown (English Subtitled)