Browsing: Film Reviews

Zodiac is written by James Vanderbilt and directed by David Fincher. This film is based on the true life story of a serial killer who terrorized a nation in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The killer was never convicted and to this day it is still an open case. One man was strongly suspected but there was never enough evidence to convict him in a court of law. The killings took place in California and were highly publicized in newspapers and on television. The film starts out with the first two victims of the Zodiac parked in a car…

Danièle Thompson’s “Avenue Montaigne” is her third directorial outing (preceded by La Bûche and Jet Lag/Décolage horaire) and is a breath of fresh air in a market of CGI studded films and empty romantic sex comedies. It tells the tale of a charming young woman, Jessica, who leaves her small province to come to Paris to experience life’s adventures. She gets hired for a waiting job at the old-fashioned Café des Arts on the fabled Avenue Montaigne, which is Paris’ nexus for art, music, theater and fashion. There, she meets a variety of characters which include a depressed Classical Pianist…

Showered in a multitude of praise, acclaim, and a whole list of awards from The European Film Award to recently an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, Director/Writer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck delves into the past just prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Taking place in 1984 however, in “The Lives of Others”, East Germany’s “shield and sword”, the Secret Police/Stasi used surveillance mercilessly on the populace, leaving no stone unturned-ascertaining the most minute and personal information during a time where it was stated, “glasnost is nowhere in sight”. We open the film with…

It is almost impossible to ignore that the movie’s title exemplifies its plot in a profound and eloquent manner. Water, is a film that encapsulates the isolation and seclusion that many Indian widows were forced to undergo in the 1930’s. Chuyia (Sarala) is a young girl who at the age of eight becomes a widow and is consequently forced to live the rest of her life in a widow shelter. The director Deepa Mehta, uses Chuyia as an instigator who questions why she should live this way. At an age where nothing is remotely complicated, where the sky is either…

Rachid Bouchareb tells the dramatic tale in 1943 of North African soldiers who enlist in the French army to liberate France from the clutches of the Nazis during World War II. Battling French racism and bullets from a common enemy, these unsung heroes of the French resistance left home and family for many reasons. Crossing through Algeria to Italy, then France with emotions running high from the start of the film, we first focus on one soldier, Saïd Otmari who leaves poverty and his mother behind for the cause of freedom for France. Why give one’s blood to free a…

Richly spun with artistic splendor, writer-director Guillermo del Toro weaves a fairy tale around war-torn Spain in the 1940’s. Definitely a tale strictly for adults, the film reflects dark overtones, stunning cinematography and a purely Spanish language dialogue. We find ourselves in the midst of a Spanish Civil War and a protagonist, in the form of a young girl named, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) in search of her true greatness. Proclaimed as the young princess who once left her underworld kingdom in search of the world of Humans, Ofelia is believed to be this young royal reincarnated. With her immortal father…

Director-Writer Mark Steven Johnson who brought us “Elektra” and “Daredevil” from the Marvel Universe steps to the plate once again to deliver “Ghost Rider”. Nicholas Cage plays motorcycle daredevil, Johnny Blaze who makes a soul wrenching pact with Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda), the devil himself to stake claim on his soul in return for a favor. A favor, which had its dire and grim consequences. Upon knowing that young Johnny’s father (and also a death defying cyclist in his own right), Barton Blaze was stricken down by a fatal disease, Mephistopheles appears in a physical manifestation, “dressed to the nines” and…

Equally as powerful and poignant as its predecessor, “Letters from Iwo Jima” marks the second film in response to “Flags of Our Fathers”, a deep and introspective look into one of the most decisive battles of the 2nd World War. This time, our vantage point is from the view of Japan and those men who fought to maintain their stronghold. Also a sacred part of Nippon’s heritage, we begin at Iwo Jima in present day, at a dig where remains of items of fallen soldiers prompt us to journey back into the mindsets of these men whose hearts, like US…

A conventional review of the film Ahlaam is almost impossible. Ahlaam is more than just a movie; it is an anatomy of an open wound. It is about the ongoing pain of a nation and made by a film crew that has been shot at, injured, imprisoned, kidnapped, and tortured. Amazingly, the struggles endured by the filmmakers parallel those plaguing the Iraqi people. How could I complain about the filmmaking issues in Ahlaam when the creation and completion of the film is a feat within itself? A comparison makes it a lot easier to understand: Michael Moore created Fahrenheit 911…

Produced by “Seinfeld” producer Larry Charles and starring Golden Globe Winner Sacha Baron Cohen who takes his character Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakh journalist on the road headed to America. This mockumentary begins in Borat’s homeland of Kazakhstan where Borat welcomes us with, “Jak sie masz? My name-a Borat. I like you. I like sex. Is nice!” Filmed actually in regions of Romania (along with unsuspecting Romanians) due to the government of Kazakhstan publicly denouncing the film content, Borat takes us on a tour of his quaint little village and introduces us to the people in his life: his mother who…

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