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)
October 3, 2013 |
It may not have been an "official" mental disorder, but a condition known as Linsanity broke out for a few crazy weeks in February 2012. That was when New York Knicks backup point guard Jeremy Lin - the second Asian American ever to play in the NBA - unexpectedly led his flailing team to a seven-game winning streak, earning him explosive international acclaim. The events leading to this media-fueled frenzy and the genial, low-key underdog at its epicenter are given a peppy workout by director Evan Jackson Leong in the enjoyable documentary called, yes, "Linsanity.
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)
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.
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.
June 15, 2012 |
Sexy rebel Emilia (Natalia Galgani) wears a Ramones T-shirt when she and Julio (Diego Noguera) first make love, while he's got a square of pale skin on his otherwise tanned chest from accidentally sunbathing with an open Proust novel. In Chilean writer-director Cristián Jiménez's odd, wistful "Bonsái" this youthful romance steeped in clingy passion and literature read aloud is offset - in alternating segments - by events eight years later: Julio is now in a convenient fling with a neighbor, convincing her the handwritten novel he's secretly been working on about that lost love is the new book by a great author who's hired him to type it out. The stunted, artfully designed show-plant of the title enters the story a little too conveniently as a metaphor for Julio's struggle to bring narrative shape to his own life (the film is based on a novel by Alejandro Zambra)
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.
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)