jump to navigation

Days and Clouds-DVD Review 04/04/2015

Posted by Films to consider in David di Donatello Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Italian language film, Moscow International Film Festival, Movies, Rome Film Fest.
add a comment

Days and Clouds (Italian) 2007

From Film Movement
Directed by Silvio Soldini
Starring Margherita Buy, Antonio Albanese, Alba Rohrwacher, and Paolo Sassanelli

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actress (Buy); Best Supporting Actress (Rohrwacher); NOMINATED, Best Director, David Di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Actress, Moscow International Film Festival
WINNER, Premiere Prize-Special Mention (Soldini), Rome Film Fest

Elsa (Buy) and Michele (Albanese), a middle-aged couple in Genoa, face financial hardship when Michele loses his job. Their formerly well-to-do lifestyle must change, and as it does, their relationship changes as well.

Soldini, director of Agata and the Storm (2004), and Bread and Tulips (2000) presents a thought-provoking and engaging look at a relationship in crisis, this time from an economic impact that affects the couple’s individual identities as well.

115 min. Unrated. Adult themes.

For more info:
Days and Clouds

Advertisements

Life’s A Breeze-DVD Review 03/12/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, Galway Film Fleadh, Irish film, Irish Film and Television Awards, Movies, Newport Beach Film Festival.
add a comment

Life’s A Breeze (Irish) 2013

Written and directed by Lance Daly

Starring Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Kelly Thornton

WINNER, Bingham Ray New Talent Award (Thornton), SECOND PLACE-AUDIENCE AWARD-Best Irish Feature, Galway Film Fleadh
NOMINATED, Best Lead Actress-Film (Thornton); Best Supporting Actress-Film (Flanagan), Irish Film and Television Awards
WINNER, Outstanding Foreign Film (Daly), Newport Beach Film Festival

To celebrate their elderly mother Nan’s (Flanagan) birthday, her five adult children surprise her by giving her home a  makeover. Problem is, they got rid of her old mattress, in which she had deposited all the money she had scrimped and saved for all her married life. Now everyone has to face the fact that they have thrown away a small fortune. What ensues is a moderately amusing and touching story, as the dysfunctional family frantically searches for the mattress.

A pleasant enough movie, not overly long, with somewhat predictable characters, but a funny storyline as the entire city of Dublin gets involved. I learned a new Irish slang word: “culchie” – someone from the countryside, often delivered in a disparaging way (as it was in this film).

83 min. Rated R.
For more info:
Life’s a Breeze

Jiro Dreams of Sushi-DVD 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.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japanese) 2011 ***
Documentary

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.

For more info:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Wadjda-DVD Review *** 01/24/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Arabic language film, BAFTA Awards, Drama, Independent Spirit Awards, Light Drama, Movies, National Board of Review, Satellite Awards, Vancouver International Film Festival.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Wadjda (Saudi Arabia) 2012 ***

Written and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour
Starring Waad Mohammed and Reem Abdullah

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Film-Non-English Language, BAFTA Awards
NOMINATED, Best First Feature, Independent Spirit Awards
NOMINATED, Best Motion Picture-International Film, Satellite Awards
WINNER, Freedome of Expression Award, National Board of Review, USA
WINNER, Most Popular International First Feature, Vancouver International Film Festival

Wajdja (Mohammed) is a feisty ten-year-old girl who attends a strict girls’ school in Saudi Arabia. Wajdja wants to get a bicycle, but her mother (Abdullah) patiently explains that girls aren’t supposed to ride bicycles.

When Wajdja, who is not a very dedicated student, hears about a prize competition at school, she is determined to win so that she can buy a bicycle for herself.

According to IMDB, Wajdja was both the first feature-length film set entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film by a female Saudi director. The story, while set within such a conservative society, is lighthearted and often outright funny. Mohammed’s Wajdja is charmingly recognizable as a typical high-spirited and stubborn pre-teen girl.

Highly recommended. ***

98 min. Rated PG.

For more info:
Wadjda (Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD)

Ida-DVD Review 01/16/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, European Film Awards, Golden Globes, Independent Film Awards, Minsk International Film Festival, Movies, Pawel Pawlikowski, Polish Film Awards, Polish language film.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Ida (Polish) 2013

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, and Dawid Ogrodnik

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
WINNER, Audience Award (Pawlikowski); Best Director (Pawlikowski); Best Screenwriter; Best Cinematographer; NOMINATED, Best Actress (Kulesza); Best Actress (Trzebuchowska), European Film Awards
NOMINATED, Best International Film (Pawlikowski), Independent Film Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Kulesza); Grand Prix Golden Listapad-Best Film (Pawlikowski); Listapad Silver Award-Art as Phenomenon (Pawlikowski); Yury Marukhin Memorial Award-Best Cinematography, Minsk International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Film (Pawlikowski); Best Director (Pawlikowski); Best Actress (Kulesza); NOMINATED, Best Screenplay (Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz); Best Cinematography, Best editing, Polish Film Awards

In 1960s Poland, young Ida (Trzebuchowska), who was raised in a convent as an orphan, is about to take her vows to become a nun. She must first visit Wanda, an aunt who is her only known relative and whom she has never met. When Wanda (Kulesza) reveals that Ida is of Jewish background, Ida’s faith and decision about her future are tested.

The film is shot in black and white, which adds to the pensive atmosphere behind Ida’s struggle to decide between the outside world and her commitment to God. Agata Trzebuchowska was a non-actress when tapped to play Ida; she was chosen after the director had already auditioned over 400 actresses. She received many accolades for her performance; so far this is her only role.

82 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
Ida

The Grand Budapest Hotel-DVD Review *** 12/15/2014

Posted by Films to consider in American, Berlin International Film Festival, Comedy, David di Donatello Awards, Golden Globes, Movies, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Suspense.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

The Grand Budapest Hotel (American) 2014 ***

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Mathieu Amalric, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and several other big-name stars

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Director (Anderson); Best Motion Picture; Best Actor (Fiennes); Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Silver Berlin Bear-Grand Jury Prize (Anderson); NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Anderson), Berlin International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Foreign Film (Anderson), David di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Screenplay, New York Film Critics Circle Awards

In a formerly majestic hotel in a mountainous area of Eastern Europe, Zero Moustafa (Revolori), now an old man, tells the fantastic story of how he rose from lobby boy to owner, with the help of his former boss Gustave H (Fiennes). What ensues is a zany and fast-moving tale that features an all-star cast in roles ranging from supporting to cameo.

Highly recommended if you like a quirky comedy. Wes Anderson also directed The Darjeeling Limited and the Royal Tannenbaums.

*** Highly recommended.
100 min. Rated R.

For more info:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nebraska-DVD Review *** 11/23/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, AFI Awards, American, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Light Drama, Movies.
Tags: ,
add a comment

NEBRASKA (American) 2013 ***

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring Bruce Dern, June Squibb, and Will Forte

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Leading Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Cinematography; Best Director (Payne), Best Original Screenplay, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Director (Payne), Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Movie of the Year, AFI Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Dern), NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Payne), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best First Screenplay (Bob Nelson); NOMINATED, Best Feature; Best Director (Payne); Best Male Lead (Dern); Best Supporting Female (Squibb); Best Supporting Male (Forte), Independent Spirit Awards

When senile and curmudgeonly Woody Grant (Dern) becomes convinced that he must travel to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim the grand prize, neither his wife Kate (Squibb) nor his younger son David (Forte) can change his mind. David decides to take his father on a trip that includes a family reunion and a visit to the prize headquarters.

This film must have been up against some tough award competition; although it was nominated for many, it only won a few. Bruce Dern and June Squibb will surely remind you of some couple you know. Bob Odenkirk (lately of Breaking Bad fame) appears as the older son. Alexander Payne also directed Sideways and The Descendents.

*** Highly recommended.

114 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Nebraska

Saving Mr. Banks-DVD Review *** 11/06/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, American, Based on true events, Empire Awards, Golden Globes, Irish Film and Television Awards, Light Drama, Movies, Satellite Awards.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Saving Mr. Banks (American) 2013 ***
Based on real events

Directed by John Lee Hancock
Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, and Colin Farrell

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actress (Thompson), Empire Awards, UK
NOMINATED, Best Original Score, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress-Drama (Thompson), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor-Film (Farrell), Irish Film and Television Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Thompson); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hanks); Best Motion Picture, Satellite Awards

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney (Hanks), at the helm of the successful Disney Studios, is determined to fulfill a promise made to his daughters: that he will make a movie of their favorite book, Mary Poppins. Used to getting his way, he sets out to convince the stubborn author, P. L. Travers (Thompson), to give him the rights, pledging that the musical he has planned will honor her story. As negotiations continue, flashbacks reveal the author’s less-than-perfect childhood that inspired the tale.

I was prepared to merely “like” this movie but found that I truly enjoyed it. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson play off each other very effectively as Disney vs. Travers. Colin Farrell does well as Miss Travers’ charming but ne’er-do-well father, who encourages his young daughter’s flights of fancy. Note that the end credits have actual tapes from the negotiations and meetings that mirror what is shown in the film.

Highly recommended. ***

125 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
Saving Mr. Banks

Fambul Tok–DVD Review *** 10/12/2014

Posted by Films to consider in African language film, Based on true events, Documentary, Movies.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

FAMBUL TOK (African) 2011
Family Talk

Directed by Sara Terry
from Catalyst for Peace

WINNER, Best of the Fest, Global Social Change Film Festival
WINNER, Human Spirit Award, Nashville Film Festival
WINNER, Best Documentary-Audience Choice, Rhode Island Film Festival
WINNER, Best Documentary, Fort Myrers Film Festival

A powerful and beautiful documentary about an organization that works to bring about reconciliation between community members in various parts of Sierra Leone. There the civil war that took place from 1991–2002 led to murders and horrific tortures among family members and people who lived in the same community.

Rather than having the perpetrators go before the courts and be taken to prison, the organization facilitates the resolution of crimes within the community. If perpetrators genuinely seek forgiveness, the community members agree to truly welcome them back into the community. With little narration, an incredible lesson is learned here about the need for and power of genuine forgiveness in a situation in which it doesn’t seem possible.

In the special features, which can be viewed online, is the story of the man who came to be known as Captain Savage, who came forward to seek forgiveness after the original filming.

Highly recommended. ***

82 min. Not rated (discussion of harsh violence).

For more info:
Fambul Tok

The Butler-DVD Review 09/22/2014

Posted by Films to consider in American, BAFTA Awards, Based on true events, Drama, Emotional Drama, Historical Drama, Image Awards, Movies, Satellite Awards.
add a comment

The Butler (American) 2013
aka Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Based on true events

Directed by Lee Daniels
Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Elijah Kelley, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actress (Winfrey), BAFTA Awards
NOMINATED, Outstanding Male Actor-Lead (Whitaker); Outstanding Female Actor-Supporting (Winfrey), Screen Actors Guild Awards
WINNER, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (Whitaker); Outstanding Supporting Actor (Oyelowo, Howard, and Gooding); NOMINATED, Outstanding Motion Picture; Outstanding Supporting Actress (Winfrey)
Outstanding Writing (Danny Strong); Outstanding Directing (Daniels), Image Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Whitaker); Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winfrey), Satellite Awards

Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) grows up in the deep South, where he is given the chance to be a house servant instead of working in the fields. He excels and makes his way North; he is eventually hired as one of the White House butler staff. Cecil serves through eight presidencies, often putting the needs of his job above those of his wife, Gloria (Winfrey) and sons. The film follows Cecil through the turbulent decades of the Civil Rights movement, which causes estrangement between Cecil and his older son Louis (Oyelowo), and the Vietnam War, which takes the life of his younger son Charlie (Kelley).

The screenplay is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served in the White House from 1952-1986.

132 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
Lee Daniels’ The Butler