Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Flame & Citron ****

Flame & Citron

Two Danish Resistance fighters serve as assassins of Danish Nazi's when orders are handed down to kills some Germans.   And then the proverbial plot thickens.  A gritty, atmospheric film that removes some of the romantic charm from the résistance fighters.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Secret In Your Eyes

the secret in your eyes

Wow.  Excellent in every way.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


State of Play

This thriller feels all too real at times. Cal McCaffrey, an old-style journalist working for the Washington Globe.  He begins to investigate the death of a young woman who was a research assistant for his college friend, who is now an ambitious congressman.  He works to help the congressman to keep his career from being ruined when facts emerge there had been an affair  between the research assistant and the congressman.  The movie is a fast paced political thriller that is at once thought provoking and entertaining.  A menacing Blackwater-like group appears to be behind the young woman’s death and McCaffery is working against the clock to uncover the truth. 

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

And The Winner Is . . .

Kinamand ("Chinaman")

Following are the movies we watched between mid-February and August 1st, 2009. Kinamand was our favorite. Slum Dog Millionaire was really good, but the brevity and simplicity of Kinamand . . . the sweetness, I guess, won over the complexity, audacity and shock value of Slum Dog. It's supremely more difficult to pull off something simple really well, I think, than to do something that is dazzling. Kinamand succeeded.

In Burges was surprisingly entertaining. Borat was simply out of hand ridiculous; the definition of sophmoric, yet infinitely memorable.

Le Cercle Rouge *** (2-16-09)

Late Spring ** (2-23-09)

Intolerable Cruelty **** (2-25-09)

WALL-E **** (3-09-09)

Mongol *** (3-16-09)

Le Samourai *** (4-20-09)

Tell No One **** (5-11-09)

Slumdog Millionaire ***** (6-1-09)

Cranes Are Flying *** (6-16-09)

In Bruges **** (6-19-09)

Kinamand ***** (6-20-09)

Borat **** (7-12-09)

Seduced and Abandoned **** (7-24-09)

Jellyfish *** (7-31-09)

Love Actually *** (8-1-09)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Divorce Italian Style ****

Italian, with English sub-titles

Ferdinando is in love with his cousin Angela, who lives across the garden. She's 16 and he's 37. But age disparity is not a problem. Being surrounded by family and lacking privacy is annoying, but most annoying is the fact that Ferdinando is married! As his desire for Angel grows, so do fantasies of doing away with Rosalia, his overbearing wife. Eventually he concocts a scheme . . .

A genuinely amusing comedy start to finish.

U-571 ***1/2

World War II thriller. An American submarine crew is dispatched to recover an Enigma machine from a disabled German U-boat in hostile waters. The Enigma is a code machine that kept the German's one step ahead of the Allies during WWII. Suspenseful and tense, with great sound effects, but essentially a formula movie.

Fascinating information about the Enigma here: ENIGMA

Diva **1/2

French with English sub-titles

A young postal worker surreptitiously records a concert of the diva who refuses to be recorded. Another tape ends up in his bag and soon he is involved with Parisian mob killers, a corrupt police captain, and a mysterious guy who helps save the day. Intricate and stylish thriller that, although full of holes and utter improbability, was likely considered very cool in 1982.

The Bicycle Thief *****

Ladri di Biciclette - Vittorio De Sica's 1948 masterpiece.

Italian with English sub-titles

Unemployment is rampant in postwar Italy and Antonio is ecstatic when he lands a job as a poster hanger. The catch is that the job requires that he have a bicycle. The family is virtually penniless, but his wife gathers together all the bed linens and sells them so Antonio can buy a used bike. While he is busy hanging posters, someone steals the bike. A frenzied search ensues in the streets of Rome with the aid of his young son Bruno.

This is an incredibly simple plot, with no distracting sub-plots or extraneous devices. It is a simple, linear movie about a man struggling to keep his job, to keep his family fed, and to regain his dignity. In one moment, he's on top of the world. In the next, and it happens within seconds, he is reduced to utter desperation. It's heartbreaking to watch as fear and anger undermine his relationship with his son. The movie reminds us that in an absolutely desperate situation, we will stop at nothing in order to survive. A tragic and memorable movie with a poignant ending scene. Don't miss it!

Shooter *1/2

I like to see an action flick from time to time. The Dark Knight filled the bill recently. This movie has action, but other than that, it's about as forgettable as one can imagine. The plot: Ex-sniper is sought out by the government to help prevent the assassination of the President. Instead, the Pres gets knocked off anyway and the protagonist finds that he has been set up and the subject of a manhunt. Unless you are stuck on a runway and have no other options, don't waste your time . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Before Sunrise ***

An American tourist meets a pretty fellow traveler on a train heading Vienna. He persuades her to disembark spend the night (his last in Europe) walking the streets with him. The movie was nicely filmed, but overall somewhat boring. I can't bring myself to watch the sequel, Before Sunset.

The Dark Knight ***1/2

In this sequel to Batman Begins, Batman teams with Lt. James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent in the battle to dismantle Gotham City's criminal organizations. But the Joker, a psychotic villain who stops at nothing, takes control of the situation. Good action flick!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Russian Dolls ***1/2

Various languages, with English subtitles

Written and directed by Cédric Klapisch, Russian Dolls picks up where his 2002 comedy, "L'Auberge Espagnole" ended. The same characters are played by the same actors. Smart, sexy, educated young Europeans who have hit their thirties and are being to experience anxiety about their lives and love.

There are many interesting, playful uses of video editing employed that I enjoyed. I saw L'Auberge Espagnole, but didn't blog it, and had the same overall impression: Entertaining, but unbelievable.

See trailer HERE.