Lalia’s in her early ‘40s. She feels young & full of life, but bewildered by the narrow role her culture assigns to widows. This is a small, beautifully-assembled story of middle-class life in Tunisia. Every moment feels right & true. Wonderful musical soundtrack. Kudos to Amari & star Abbass. More on SATIN ROUGE.
A horrific traffic accident reverberates thru the lives of neighbors in a comfortable suburb. Close is enormously moving as the mother of one of the victims, slowly unraveling & then pulling herself together at the end with heart-breaking dignity. All the other actors, adults & kids alike, are also superb. More on THE SAFETY OF… Continue reading Film Review: THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS
Sidney Lumet made many fine films @ the edge where the personal & the political meet. This is the best. Two 60’s radicals cobble a successful life together underground, until their teenage son comes of age. Christine Lahti & Judd Hirsch are the parents. Oscar-nominated River Phoenix plays the son. More on RUNNING ON EMPTY.
Holocaust drama directed by left-wing German feminist focuses on ordinary people caught in the maelstrom of history. Contemporary framing story about a Manhattan Jewish family works to emphasize shades of gray in a story typically told in b&w. Bottomline: German people did know what was happening. Some protested. Most didn’t.***** For more, see the “Columns”… Continue reading Film Review: ROSENSTRASSE
Sukowa received numerous awards for her moving incarnation of this fabled left-wing heroine. While von Trotta’s biopic does a brilliant job of psychological exploration (showing how RL managed to thrive during years of imprisonment), she’s less successful at explicating the complex politics of the early 20th century. More on ROSA LUXEMBURG.
Bev (Barrymore) is a bright high school misfit who gets a little careless & winds up pregnant. It’s 1965 & she’s from a Catholic working class family, so she bows to convention & marries the guy. A solid film about family life — rebellions, betrayals, & reconciliations. Excellent performances all around. More on RIDING IN… Continue reading Film Review: RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS
This romantic comedy has a soft sweet core, so Director Hunt wisely surrounds her couple (Driver & Duchovny) with lots of lively banter from a large cast of accomplished character actors, including her own sparring with “husband” Jim Belushi. Driver is always good, & Duchovny provides real chemistry here. More on RETURN TO ME.
England at the end of the Empire. Stevens (Hopkins) is a butler; he treats “service” in the household of Lord Darlington as a calling, running the staff with the precision of a military officer. When WWII ends, everything changes, and Stevens has nowhere to turn. Elegant drama – nuanced & implicit. More on THE REMAINS… Continue reading Film Review: THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
“Big Brother is Watching You” when a government employee (Kate Dickie) begins stalking a man (Tony Curran) she’s recognized on one of her surveillance cameras. Tension is almost unbearable as she puts herself at ever-greater risk, including a sexual encounter that’s as disturbing as it is integral to the story. Excellent psychological drama. Read FF2… Continue reading Film Review: RED ROAD
Well-intentioned coming-of-age dramedy about an LA Latina who has Ivy League potential… if only she can persuade her family to see the “big picture.” The look & feel have more truth than the speeches. Cardoso & Ferrera) try hard, but RWHC, while likeable, is too “politically correct” for its own good. More on REAL WOMEN.