January 25, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Directed by: Sean Durkin
Country: USA

Plot: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Quick comment: A disturbing 'indie' film. Teaches you a lesson by giving a creepy notion of how destructive a brainwash can be in one's life. An outstanding nightmare portrait that will make you feel unconfortable.
Relevant Awards: Directing award at the Sundance Film Festival, USA; Most promising filmmaker at the Chicago Film Critics Association awards, USA.

January 24, 2012

50/50 (2011)

Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Country: USA

Plot: Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.
Quick comment: What the hell of a movie makes jokes about a guy with cancer? This is the first thing that comes to your head when you start watching this. But the truth is that the story flows in a natural and optimistic way and manages to be successful on both drama and comedy.
Relevant Awards: Best original screenplay and top ten independent film at the National Borad of Review, USA; Actor of the year at Hollywood Film Festival, USA.

January 21, 2012

The Future (2011)

Directed by: Miranda July
Country: USA

Plot: When a couple decides to adopt a stray cat their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves.
Quick comment: Despite of several good intentions and the weird floating approach by July, this is a movie that doesn't remain in your head for much time. Somehow its abstraction level makes you feel lost and stop caring about the characters.
Relevant Awards: -

January 20, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
Country: UK

Plot: The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief - and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions.
Quick comment: From the amazing director of "ratcatcher" and "morvern callar", comes a gripping psychological thriller that makes you wonder how much responsible the parents can be when their children express an evil behaviour. A memorable performance by Tilda Swinton.
Relevant Awards: Best director at the British Independent Film Awards and London Film Festival

The Ides of March (2011)

Directed by: George Clooney
Country: USA

Plot: An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.
Quick comment: Good performances in a consistent political story which would have benefited with more suspense moments in order to catch the viewer.
Relevant Awards: Brian Award at the Venice Film Festival, Italy.

January 18, 2012

Hugo (2011)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA

Plot: Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.
Quick comment: The return of the adventure genre by the hand of master Scorsese, mixing up fiction and reality. An excelent piece of entertainment and an opportunity to know more about the french illusionist and filmmaker Georges Meliés. Highly recommended.
Relevant Awards: Best Director at the Golden Globes, USA

Cinema Verité (2011)

Directed by: Shari Springer Berman
Country: USA

Plot: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the first american family to be the subjects of a reality TV show.
Quick comment: Made for TV, it doesn't have the strength of "american splendor", the big success from it's director. Based on a real case, it's a false documentary capable of amusing but certainly not a big deal.
Relevant Awards: -

Turn Me On, Dammit! (2011)

Directed by: Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Country: Norway

Plot: A mother learns her 15 year old daughter has been making phone calls to a service number... an adult-oriented service number. A norwegian teen sex comedy.
Quick comment: It has nothing new to say about the subject but in fact some ideas presented are fresh and the humor is remarkable. Light and no more than enjoyable.
Relevant Awards: -

January 17, 2012

Breathless (2008)

Directed by: Yang Ik-Joon
Country: South Korea

Plot: A violent man learns compassion when he starts to care for a young woman in this independent crime drama. Ddongpari (aka Breathless) was the first feature film from writer, producer and director Yang Ik-Joon.
Quick comment: A violent drama with substance. Hard to watch at the beginning, slowly we're able to get the point of view of the dynamic director, writer and actor Ik-Joon in his impressive debut.
Relevant Awards: Best Foreign Film and Director at Kinema Junpo Awards, Japan; Audience Award at Tokyo Filmex, Japan

Anton Checkov's The Duel (2010)

Direcetd by: Dover Koshashvili
Country: USA

Plot: Gambling, alcohol and flirtations consummated in an impossibly beautiful countryside hold obvious attractions for Laevsky. But he's brought up short when financial ruin and his mistress's sexual dalliances lead to a violent denouement.
Quick comment: Lacks some enthusiasm and drags here and there. However the story based on the Checkov's play is interesting and the characterization invoking the period is quite alright.
Relevant Awards: -

January 16, 2012

The Debt (2010)

Directed by: John Madden
Country: USA

Plot: This espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel and Stephan about their former colleague David. All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966 in East Berlin.
Quick comment: In this unconvincing thriller we have solid performances but the story isn't interesting enough to make us stick to it.
Relevant Awards: -

Happy Happy (2010)

Directed by: Anne Sewitsky
Country: Norway

Plot: Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja. She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys...
Quick comment: a bit predictable in its mixed amorous betrayals, could have been much better in many aspects. However it guarantees some entertainment in a melancholic mood.
Relevant Awards: Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, USA

The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

Directed by: Uli Edel
Country: Germany

Plot: A look at Germany's terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s.
Quick comment: it succeeds by showing clearly the ideas and operating methods of one of the most feared terrorist groups of the 70's. A docudrama filled with action.
Relevant Awards: Best production at Bavarian Film Awards, Germany

The Skin I Live In (2011)

Direcetd by: Pedro Almodovar
Country: Spain

Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Quick comment: The hand of Almodovar is there and we are able to recognize his usual style but the plot lacks power as it reaches the end. It promises much more than it gives. A frustrating picture.
Relevant Awards: Best Foreign Language Film at Phoenix and Washington Film Festivals, USA

January 14, 2012

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

Directed by: Ben Palmer
Country: UK

Plot: Four socially troubled 18-year-olds from the south of England go on holiday to Malia.
Quick comment: Another dull movie about adolescence. As expected it has a very low level of maturity becoming tedious and it's jokes are never succeeded.
Relevant Awards: -

Perfect Sense (2011)

Directed by: David Mackenzie
Country: UK

Plot: A chef and a scientist fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions.
Quick comment: This kind of apocalypse doesn't thrilled me nor convinced me at all. Completely forgettable and out of balance.
Relevant Awards: Best Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland

Neds (2010)

Directed by: Peter Mullan
Country: UK

Plot: We meet confident, studious John McGill just as he's about to start secondary school, where he fully expects to continue his so-far glittering academic career. But there are dark clouds on the horizon. Bad companies and the dysfunction of his home will lead him to a path of delinquence.
Quick comment: Influenced by Ken Loach this is the third movie from Peter Mullan. In a raw mood and with a kind of an indie-style, it holds terrific performances to get us focused on the subject
Relevant Awards: Best Director of BAFTA Awards, Scotland; Best Film at San Sebastain International Film Festival, Spain.

January 13, 2012

The Window (2008)

Directed by: Carlos Sorin
Country: Argentina

Plot: Carlos Sorin writes and directs this nostalgic meditation on memory, aging, and death concerning a bedridden 80-year-old father anticipating the arrival of his long-estranged son, a world-renowned concert pianist.
Quick Comment: very well thought and done, based on a beautiful lyrical reflection about getting old. Simple but deep plot with a fantastic photography.
Relevant Awards: FIPRESCI Prize at Valladolid International Film Festival, Spain


King of the Devil's Island (2010)

Directed by: Marius Holst
Country: Norway

Plot: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?
Quick Comment: Good cinematography and good acting in general, but it could have been more ambitious in a theme so much revisited in the past.
Relevant Awards: Best Film at Amanda Awards, Norway and Lubeck, Germany

Submarino (2010)

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Plot: Two brothers meet at their mother's funeral, each in his way on a path of self-destruction, both haunted by a tragedy in their youth.
Quick Comment: with some questionable coincidences, it's not so deep as it would like to be despite of showing some powerful scenes.
Relevant Awards: Best Director and Script Writer at Nordic Council's Film Prize, Finland (Thomas Vinterberg).