September 13, 2012 |
Documentarians David Redmon and Ashley Sabin have pieced together an eye-opening account of a form of human trafficking: an industry that sends pubescent European girls to Asia as wannabe models, offering meaningless contracts and no accountability. As an indictment of 'an unscrupulous business, "Girl Model" is more impressionistic than investigative. The nonaggressive approach can be frustrating, but it nonetheless gets under the skin-deep promises of glamour and wealth that lure a seemingly endless stream of very young hopefuls.
November 4, 2011 |
'Silenced' is harrowing A recent hit in Korea, "Silenced" (" Dogani ") is based on a true story in which administrators at a school for deaf children received extremely light penalties for sexually abusing their young charges. In the film, a teacher (Gong Yoo) uncovers the awful goings-on and enlists a local human rights worker (Jung Yu-mi) to seek justice. They come to realize that officials are more concerned with sweeping the problem under the rug than bringing vicious predators to justice.
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.
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)
February 24, 2012 |
A crucial civil rights issue receives dull, inelegant scrutiny in "Iranian Taboo," director Reza Allamehzadeh's documentary that attempts to shed light on the persecution and scapegoating of members of the Bahá'í faith by Iran's Islamic regime. Allamehzadeh, reportedly banned from entering his native Iran (friends secretly filmed "Taboo's" Iran-set footage, while the director shot in such countries as France and Israel), takes an unsatisfying, two-pronged approach to this complex subject.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2012 |
Alma, the 15-year-old heroine of the Nordic import "Turn Me On, Dammit!," is introduced pleasuring herself on the floor of her kitchen to the chatter of a phone sex operator. Instead of setting up a single-minded comedy about teenage desire, however, this gently amusing film from writer-director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen delicately renders more than a few shades of a turbulent female adolescence. Soft-eyed, hangdog Alma (a wonderful Helene Bergsholm) is racked with horny/romantic fantasies and hates the backwater mountain village where she lives.
May 11, 2012 |
At the outset of the new film"Where Do We Go Now?"the usual constant fighting between Muslim and Christian men in a remote Lebanese village has reached a fragile peace aided by the arrival of a television set. When a series of events threatens this uneasy accord, the women of the town must band together to bring things back to an even keel with a plan that comes to involve Eastern European belly dancers and baked goods laced with hashish. Directed, co-written by and starring Nadine Labaki, the film aims to be a gentle comedy (there are even some songs approaching musical numbers)
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.
January 20, 2012 |
Over the course of a career that stretches back more than 50 years, Jean-Luc Godard might have cultivated a reputation as a maker of forbiddingly dense, impenetrably allusion-heavy films, but his work also always holds the potential to offer something groundbreaking and new. Despite (or maybe because of) his penchant for provocation and predilection toward the obtuse, he was and remains a rare, uncanny mix of professor, trickster and crackpot, guardian of the past and gatekeeper of the future.