March 27, 2012

Footnote (2011)

Directed by: Joseph Cedar
Country: Israel

Plot: Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are father and son as well as rival professors in Talmudic Studies. When both men learn that Eliezer will be lauded for his work, their complicated relationship reaches a new peak.
Quick comment: The fifth feature from the israeli Joseph Cedar is a well made satire about ambition and obsession in a literate jewish family. With a confident direction and great moments of nervous tension we are before an odd, subtle and precise caricature of a father and son searching for recognition.
Relevant Awards: Best screenplay at Cannes (France) and Dublin (UK) Film Fests.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Country: USA

Plot: A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Quick comment: A boring and pretentious movie inspired by the 9/11 events. British director Stephen Daldry, known for much better works such as “the hours" (2002), “billy elliot" (2000) and “the reader" (2011), creates a family drama plus detective story which never gets the right way. Let’s wait for him to return to good ones.
Relevant Awards: -

March 23, 2012

Coriolanus (2011)

Directed by: Ralph Fiennes
Country: UK

Plot: A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.
Quick comment: Fiennes debut in direction is a contemporary adaptation from a Shakespeare’s tragedy. The uncontrollable and proud Caius Martius after being banished by the people of Rome, decide to join his enemies to take revenge. However he couldn’t cope with the idea of his family on the other side and is persuaded by his mother to spare the city. A well cooked up dark tale though not so enthusiastic as expected.
Relevant Awards: -

March 21, 2012

Intouchables (2011)

Direced by: Olivier Nakache / Eric Toledano
Country: France

Plot: Affluent paraplegic Philippe develops an unexpectedly close bond with his gruff aide, Driss, in this affecting comedy drama inspired by a true story.
Quick comment: An improbable friendship is depicted by giving more emphasis on laughs rather than sentimentality. Despite some manipulations to please the masses it delivers some joy through funny situations. Great soundtrack (especially by Kool and the Gang) also helps. Without being great it guarantees a good dose of entertainment.
Relevant Awards: Grand Prix at Tokyo Film Festival, Japan; Cesar Award for best actor (Omar Sy), France.

The Grey (2011)

Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Country: USA

Plot: After their plane crashes in Alaska, seven oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.
Quick comment: Liam Neeson plays a grieved hunter who takes the lead in a survival journey through desolate landscapes full of hungry wolves. The scariest part was the plane crash. All the rest was just cliché stuff decorated with very bad dialogs. Not recommended.
Relevant Awards: -

March 20, 2012

Blood Of My Blood (2011)

Directed by: João Canijo
Country: Portugal

Plot: A regular family living in the outskirts of Lisbon sees the serenity of their lives shaken beyond any remedy within a week.
Quick comment: Internationally acclaimed this movie has motives to be the proud of modern portuguese cinema. João Canijo does a wonderful job in direction, the acting is sensational and the compelling script evolves to an unexpected and shocking final. Aside from Pedro Costa's trilogy about the Fontainhas neighbourhood, never before a typical low-class portuguese family had been so masterfully portrayed.
Relevant Awards: grand jury prize and special mention at Miami Film Festival, USA; etc.

March 19, 2012

Oranges And Sunshine (2010)

Directed by: Jim Loach
Country: Australia/UK

Plot: Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunite the children involved (now adults living mostly in Australia with their parents in Britain).
Quick comment: The movie tends to be scattered in the first 40 minutes. When it tries to get right back on track it is too late. The story is consistent and it’s visible the concern of being truthful to the facts. The problem is in the way it was done. Using the same old conventional approach it wasn’t able to be catchy.
Relevant Awards: -

March 16, 2012

The Last Rites of Joe May (2011)

Directed by: Joe Maggio
Country: USA

Plot: This movie chronicles the last days in the life of Joe May, an aging, short money hustler who always believed that a glorious destiny awaited him around every corner...
Quick comment: The character played by Dennis Farina as an old-fashioned gangster trying desperately to survive is very good. On the other hand the big-hearted crook story's development isn't novelty, making you guess what will happen next. Nevertheless the conflicts shown are realistic and little by little we become getting fond of Joe May.
Relevant Awards: -

March 15, 2012

Putty Hill (2010)

Directed by: Matthew Porterfield
Country: USA

Plot: A young man's untimely death unites a fractured family and their community through shared memory and loss.
Quick comment: The death of a young drug-addict from Baltimore was the inspiration for Porterfield to blend fiction and documentary in this "indie" production. Without making judgements, he directs the camera on family and friends of the deceased around his funeral date. The tough environment these people live are evident - they all seemed detached and somehow lost, having trouble in exteriorize their affections. Without a main character it has the ability of never losing interest.
Relevant Awards: -

March 14, 2012

Young Adult (2011)

Directed by: Jason Reitman
Country: USA

Plot: Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter.
Quick comment: Reitman has accustomed us with the excellence of his scripts (“thank you for smoking”, “juno”, “up in the air”) and “young adult” is no different. A very smart movie that features loneliness, immaturity and frustration (all quite common these days!) disguised with light touches of dark humor. Charlize Theron has a terrific performance as a disturbingly depressive woman.
Relevant Awards: -

March 13, 2012

Mozart's Sister (2010)

Directed by: René Féret
Country: France

Plot: A re-imagined account of the early life of Maria Anna 'Nannerl' Mozart, five years older than Wolfgang and a musical prodigy in her own right.
Quick comment: A creative story that somehow turns out to be forgettable. The repressed Nannerl never clearly emerge with her emotions and as consequence the movie never gets close to its potential. Féret had directed 14 feature films before. None of them achieved notoriety.
Relevant Awards: -

March 12, 2012

Las Acacias (2011)

Directed by: Pablo Giorgelli
Country: Argentina

Plot: Rubén is a lonely truck driver who has been covering for years the motorway from Asunción del Paraguay to Buenos Aires, carrying wood. However, today's journey will be different.
Quick comment: Definitely not for everyone - minimal story; very slow pace. At first it’s really a test to your patience because almost anything happens for a long time. Slowly, it starts to unfold some warm feelings and we can catch a glimpse of romance that will arrive soon. Could have had a bit more of excitement but it’s still worth for its realism and authenticity.
Relevant Awards: Golden Camera at Cannes Film Festival, France.

March 09, 2012

Take Shelter (2011)

Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Country: USA

Plot: Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
Quick comment: I usually don’t like this kind of movies (about catastrophes) but this one has something more. It takes good advantage of psychological factor and can deliver real panic and stressful situations. The cold and determined character played by Michael Shannon is excellent and enough to keep us startled till the final revelation.
Relevant Awards: Critics Week Grand Prize and SACD Award for best feature(Cannes, France); Special Jury Award (Gijon , Spain).

March 08, 2012

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)

Directed by: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Country: Turkey

Plot: A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.
Quick comment: The cinema of Nuri B.Ceylan is beautiful but requires some patience from the viewer due to its slow pace. A very detailed investigation of a murder is the excuse to disclose the different characters of the people involved – suspects, police officers, doctor and prosecutor. A cynical criticism is used to denounce fragilities in the turkish police and medical procedures.
Relevant Awards: Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes Film Festival, France; Netpac Award at Karlovy Vary Fest., Czech Republic.

March 07, 2012

Faust (2011)

Directed by: Aleksandr Sokurov
Country: Russia

Plot: A version of the German legend in which a man sells his soul to the devil in exchange of knowledge.
Quick comment: Master direction from Sokurov in this loose and controversial, though captivating, adaptation of Goethe's literary work. Every frame is like a painting made with brush strokes of grotesque and profanity. As in most of his movies, the adopted style and mood are not easy to assimilate at once, whereas its creative approach has something to say in a time where fresh new ideas are very welcomed.
Relevant Awards: Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, Italy.

March 06, 2012

Terraferma (2011)

Directed by: Emanuele Crialese
Country: Italy

Plot: A Sicilian family deals with the arrival of a group of immigrants on their island.
Quick comment: Crialese (“respiro”; “the golden door”) expose the issue of illegal immigration lived in the Sicily islands. It’s curious the dilemma that opposes the law of the fishermen to the law of the authorities concerning immigration. Despite some irrelevant scenes and an unfinished story, "terraferma" is worth seeing for its cinematography and to better understand the different sides taken by the inhabitants that live mostly from fishery and tourist activities.
Relevant Awards: Special Jury Prize and Pasinetti Award at Venice Film Festival, Italy.

March 05, 2012

The End (2008)

Directed by: Nicola Collins
Country: USA

Plot: The End reveals the bloody history and confessions of the cockney gangster.
Quick comment: A documentary presenting a few british gangsters boasting about deeds that they shouldn't be proud of. Both director and producer are daughters of the interviewed gangster Les Falco. Sometimes is funny.
Relevant Awards: -

March 02, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Country: USA

Plot: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.
Quick comment: Based on the great novel by John Le Carré, this feature doesn't spread much intensity or enthusiasm. A too dense content and the uncountable connections become a bit hard to follow if you're not attentive. Even so I watched it with curiosity. From the swedish director of "let the right one in"(2008).
Relevant awards: best adapted screenplay at BAFTA Awards, UK.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Country: USA

Plot: Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.
Quick comment: Inspired by one of the best known comics ever, "Tintin" reveals Spielberg's return to the ebullient times of "raiders of the lost ark". Expect lots of action, adventure and funny situations in a very well made adaptation. If "war horse" which was made in the same year was a disappointment, "tintin" cheered me up.
Relevant awards: -

March 01, 2012

Chronicle (2012)

Directed by: Josh Trank
Country: USA

Plot: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.
Quick comment: Presented as a false documentary, it tries to persuade us with super-powers stuff and a bunch of special effects. I wonder if this was made for grown-ups or just for kids. No, no...the chaos is not installed! It's just a movie full of crap.
Relevant Awards: -