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.
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)
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.
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.
January 13, 2013
FRIDAY 56 Up The latest installment of a decades-long documentary series chronicling the lives of 14 people from all over England who have participated in interviews every seven years since 1964. Directed by Michael Apted and Paul Almond. First Run Features Brief Reunion A successful entrepreneur has his comfortable life in rural New England turned upside down by the unexpected appearance of a former classmate. With Joel de la Fuente, Alexie Gilmore and Scott Shepherd.
January 10, 2013 |
Prolific filmmaker Hong Sang-soo's latest experiment in form, "In Another Country," is a beguiling set of variations on a theme, a gossamer-light étude composed for delight rather than dissection. The movie comprises a triptych of vignettes, each about half an hour long and centering on a French woman, played by Isabelle Huppert, who's visiting a seaside town in South Korea. The three scenarios are presented as the creations of a young screenwriter (Jung Yumi) who's at loose ends.
January 17, 2013 |
There are slivers of wit embedded in the broad shtick of "Let My People Go!," a home-for-the-holidays romantic comedy for which home is a noisy Parisian clan, the holiday is Passover and the prodigal son is a gay 30ish mailman whose usual state of mind is the tizzies. The road to the inevitable slapsticky Seder is paved with more sweetness than bite, a good deal of frantic foolishness and progressively thinner laughs, all wrapped in a message of acceptance and inclusiveness. Scripted by first-time director Mikael Buch and art-house auteur Christophe Honoré, the farce is by turns fresh and fusty.
June 8, 2012 |
It's startling to consider that the state of Israel as we know it might not exist without the more than century-old kibbutz movement. That assertion, along with the historical highlights of both modern Israel and its kibbutzim, are efficiently examined in the absorbing documentary "Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment. " The film lays out how the movement began in 1909 as an attempt by Eastern European émigrés to establish a utopian community - one based on sharing and equality - in what was then Palestine.