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.
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.
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.
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)
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 22, 2012 |
The new documentary from Jonathan Gruber and Ari Daniel Pinchot, "Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story," pays tribute to one ofIsrael'snational heroes. The biography of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's older brother bears a broad resemblance to that of Joseph Kennedy Jr.: firstborn, handsome and charismatic, a military hero and presumed political leader who died young. Yonatan Netanyahu was killed at Entebbe Airport, in Uganda, after leading the successful hostage-rescue mission there in July 1976.
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.
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.
September 30, 2010 |
The austerely titled "The Girl" is a lyrical, deliberately paced summer's tale of a 9-year-old Swedish child (never referred to by name) whose Africa-bound, missionary parents leave her in the care of her flighty aunt. It's no spoiler to reveal ? an offhand remark tips us off to Aunt Anna's spotty reputation before she even arrives ? that the girl must fend for herself around her rural home when Anna soon takes off with her Porsche-driving beau. The result is a kind of quiet Scandinavian cousin (OK, twice removed)
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.