February 8, 2008 |
The decline of the art-house theater has severely curtailed America's exposure to foreign films -- now limited largely to the occasional picture so prize-laden or distinctive that it breaks through. Romania's current critical darling, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," is a prime example.
May 6, 1999 |
As the growing number of otaku (American fans of anime) can attest, animation in Japan is very different from what Americans are accustomed to seeing. In the United States, virtually every feature has followed the upbeat musical comedy model Walt Disney established in 1937 with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Nuanced acting and lip-sync dialogue bring the characters to life as individuals.
November 1, 2013
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6 A Case of You A young writer smitten with the barista at his local coffee shop scours her Facebook profile for intel and tries to transform himself into her dream guy. With Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood. Written by Long. Directed by Kat Coiro. IFC Films The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers A documentary tracing six decades of Israel's history, from its founding into the early 21st century. Directed by Richard Trank. Moriah Films FRIDAY, NOV. 8 The Armstrong Lie This documentary follows cyclist Lance Armstrong's return from retirement in 2005 in an attempt to win an eighth Tour de France, and the eventual scandal that resulted from his admitting to the use of performance-enhancing drugs after a federal criminal investigation.
August 23, 2012 |
At any other time, the storyline of a film like "R2B: Return to Base" - a reckless young fighter pilot (Korean superstar Rain) is taken down a few pegs by a more experienced and disciplined rival (Yu Jun-sang) and learns the value of teamwork - would likely earn references to "Top Gun. " With the film by chance seeing release so closely after the recent death of "Top Gun" director Tony Scott, one almost feels sorry for "R2B" director Kim Dong-won for how inescapable the comparisons will be. They are not unfounded, of course, as Kim's film looks to get premium mileage from the thrill of a slo-mo formation walk across a tarmac or the whooshing rush of the horizon line slipping by the cockpit.
February 27, 2014 |
The Korean import "Venus Talk" starts off as a light and lively look at the sex lives of 40ish female friends before eventually giving way to something deeper and more thoughtful. It's an enjoyable, often amusing, occasionally touching ride that may not break much new ground but still satisfies its modest goals. The three "Venusians" here each find themselves at a romantic crossroads early in the film. Hae-Young (Jo Min-soo), a single mother and cafe owner, wants the security of marriage from her wedding-averse carpenter boyfriend (Lee Geung-young)
January 13, 2008
The Air I Breathe Four stories based on a Chinese proverb interweave to depict life's emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. With Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brendan Fraser, Julie Delpy and Emile Hirsch. Written by Jieho Lee and Bob DeRosa. Directed by Lee. ThinkFilm, Jan. 25. Alexandra Opera star Galina Vishnevskaya plays an elderly woman visiting her grandson, an army officer, at his base in Chechnya.
May 25, 2012 |
Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose 2003 feature debut, "The Return," was a masterpiece of cinematic allegory, turns to noirish territory, by way of Dostoevsky, in his third film, the spellbinding and impeccably crafted"Elena. " Set in contemporary, well-to-do Moscow and its seedy, Soviet-leftover suburbs, the drama lays bare the moral dilemma - and class divide - between a 60ish couple. Elena (Nadezhda Markina) and Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov) share an orderly life in the ocean-blue expanse of their apartment, but their relationship feels more like an arrangement than a marriage.
December 6, 2013 |
It's debatable whether the best love stories are also the "weirdest," as Emile Hirsch's character declares in "Twice Born. " But they do require chemistry, the missing piece in his pairing with Penélope Cruz. Set in Sarajevo before, during and many years after the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, the drama is undone by hyperventilating poetics and a busy time-hopping structure. The usually subtle Hirsch flounders as American photographer Diego, who falls hard for older Italian graduate student Gemma (Cruz)
October 24, 2013 |
From the stark glare of paralyzing grief to the shadow eroticism of a neo-gothic romance, "Il Futuro" makes for a peculiar strain of otherworldly viewing. An exquisitely shot love-among-the-ruins story adapted by Chilean filmmaker Alicia Scherson from a novel by her late countryman, the cult author Roberto Bolaño, it begins with a pair of dazed, bored teenagers, Bianca (Manuela Martelli) and younger brother Tomas (Luigi Ciardo), facing uncertain times in a rundown Rome apartment following their parents' death from a car accident.
June 22, 2012 |
Too many questions and not enough answers haunt the slow-going mystery "The Woman in the Fifth,"a thankless lead vehicle for Ethan Hawke who's left largely stranded by writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski's opaque adaptation of Douglas Kennedy's novel. Hawke stars as American writer Tom Ricks, a one-book wonder who arrives in Paris to reunite with his ex-wife, Nathalie (Delphine Chuillot), and their small daughter, Chloé (Julie Papillon). But complications instantly pile up: Nathalie blocks Tom from seeing Chloé, his money and belongings are stolen, Tom's dumpy hotel room comes complete with sinister proprietor (Samir Guesmi)