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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.