REVIEW: Край [Kray] [The Edge] [2010]

“I’ve never seen you smile. It suits you.” World War II is over and Siberia still holds its Russian prisoners with nowhere to go. They have stayed in a prison camp without guards, living the best way they can in a logging community that survives on its single train. Ignat (Vladimir Mashkov) is a war hero for Russia, but an accident put a hole in his head and a tendency for blackout seizures, banning him from driving the locomotives as he always had, sending them to their tipping point in…

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REVIEW: White Material [2010]

“Because of people like you, this country is filthy” There is definitely something about director Claire Denis, something great. I can’t say I’m a professional, having only experienced my first Denis work last year with 35 Rhums, but after seeing White Material, there is no doubt she’s a force. The pacing, the sumptuous and mesmerizing score, the lingering camera on expressive faces, the frame bobbing up and down with a sense of being in the action—and yet the action itself is subtle, deliberate. There are definite stylistic comparisons and I’d…

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REVIEW: Love & Other Drugs [2010]

“Were you molested by a Care Bear?” What do you do when you read something about a movie that appears to ruin a key ingredient the trailer doesn’t show? You get pissed. I know I did when I read—yes, I’m going to tell you—that Anne Hathaway’s character Maggie in Love & Other Drugs has Parkinson’s. Here I thought the film looked like an above average rom/com and I get blindsided by this disease that has to end up playing a huge role in what goes on. And it does, the…

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REVIEW: Српски филм [Srpski film] [A Serbian Film] [2010]

“Victim is the priciest sell in the world” I really hope Eli Roth isn’t watching because Srdjan Spasojevic has just made Hostel look like a child’s fairy tale. After seeing Српски филм [A Serbian Film], I can only imagine directors of the torture porn genre salivating at the prospect of going even further—if it’s possible to fathom there being a ‘further’. I don’t think I could handle a response, the horrors of the final forty minutes of this wanton display of pedophilia, necrophilia, rape, and murder are finding their way…

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REVIEW: לבנון [Lebanon] [2009]

“Man is steel. The tank is only iron.” The First Lebanon War began in June 1982 when the Government of Israel launched a military operation against the PLO and their Syrian and Muslim Lebanese allies. Rather than tell that story in a broad, war epic way, writer director Samuel Maoz decided to encapsulate the fear, horror, and chaos by creating a story around an Israeli foursome on a simple mission, the tank support for a platoon dispatched to search a hostile town. לבנון [Lebanon] ends up being the Rear Window…

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REVIEW: The Way Back [2010]

“Nature is your jailer and she has no mercy” I have never seen classic, 70s Peter Weir such as Picnic at Hanging Rock. I haven’t even seen 80s Weir for that matter. The few I have had the opportunity to catch, however—The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander—all enthralled, making me realize this director wasn’t one to take lightly. So, amidst all the praise going around this year for the young upstarts and the youngish stalwarts, it’s easy to forget the 66-year old is not only still working,…

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REVIEW: ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ [Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives] [2010]

“I’ll find my way back to help you” I think there is a major cultural divide for me watching the Palme D’or winning Thai film ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ [Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives] from writer/director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. There is such spirituality to its display of Boonmee’s (Thanapat Saisaymar) final days that I can’t begin to comprehend in my Americanism. Between watching his memories as a cow or a catfish in previous lives and the absolute believability that people can either move on towards heaven or stay as ghosts, I…

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REVIEW: The Mechanic [2011]

“You want me to kill him, not rape him, right?” Say what you will about the caliber of flicks CBS Films has thus far churned out, but do not deny the fact they are unafraid to show graphic violence and almost seek the hard-R rating when others balk at the prospect. Faster started the action trend and The Mechanic continues it with an even darker tone. Enlisted to helm the remake is director Simon West, a man relegated to mostly television fare since his fun debut—a favorite of my family—Con…

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REVIEW: Mother and Child [2010]

“Sometimes when you fall, it’s hard to get up” The women inhabiting the ensemble drama Mother and Child from HBO veteran Rodrigo García are connected by blood, psyche, emotion, and, above all else, motherhood. The title is no coincidence; it succinctly encapsulates the subject matter. Beginning with a young boy and girl’s first sexual encounter, they are way too young to fully realize the ramifications and possibility of pregnancy afterwards. It was the 70s and Karen was fourteen, not old enough to make her own decision and willingly consensual to…

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Top 25 Films of 2010

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 156 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Restrepo directed by Tim Hetherington& Sebastian Junger #24: Trust directed by David Schwimmer. #23: Kick-Ass directed by Matthew Vaughn. #22: Christina directed by Larry Brand. #21: It’s Kind of a Funny Story directed byAnna Boden & Ryan Fleck #20: Catfish directed by Henry Joost& Ariel Schulman #19: The City ofYour Final Destination directed by James Ivory #18: The King’s Speech directed…

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REVIEW: Blue Valentine [2010]

“How can you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?” Twelve years between feature dramatic films for writer/director Derek Cianfrance is excusable when they end up as good as Blue Valentine. Billed as a love story, this look into a young NYC couple’s relationship is such because it shows the bad times with as much authenticity as the good. After gaining buzz in 1998 for his debut Brother Tied, Cianfrance spent the next decade honing this script and making its stunning portrayal of companionship good enough to…

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