REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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REVIEW: Allied [2016]

“Look for the hummingbird” Sometimes that story you’ve had bouncing around your head needs time to gestate and your career the opportunity to blossom before it can be released upon the world. For Steven Knight it was a bit of both. Already nominated for an Oscar back in 2004 for the brilliant Dirty Pretty Things, the screenwriter soon wrote Eastern Promises before directing the intriguing one-man show Locke. A couple underrated gems (Pawn Sacrifice), some duds (Seventh Son), and a critically acclaimed television series later (“Peaky Blinders”), he finally put…

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REVIEW: Night Train to Lisbon [2013]

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty” Sometimes a well-written story is all you truly need to make a successful film and I believe author Pascal Mercier‘s novel Night Train to Lisbon provides one. Adapted by Greg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann with Bille August as director, the cinematic version of this look back at romance in a time of revolution unfolds with its melodic Annette Focks score as though we’re sitting over a cup of tea across from each character as they tell their part in the mystery…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Wir wollten aufs Meer [Shores of Hope] [2012]

“Hope dies last, Schmidt” It’s East Berlin, 1984—an entire nation under the Stasi’s watchful eye. Freedom is near impossible without risk of arrest or bullet courtesy of a botched escape west, the life of a sailor a young man’s one legitimate avenue out. With destination an afterthought, the open sea becomes every lucky appointee’s gateway to the world and a future. But like all oppressive regimes, false hope keeps the unhappy rabble in line. If workers strive to please, the promise of reward succeeds despite its empty, manipulative lie. Unable…

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REVIEW: Salt [2010]

“Are you selling secrets for chemo?” The question is, who is Salt? Two years ago she was a falsely imprisoned utilities corporation worker being water-boarded by the North Koreans; an unspecified amount of time after she is a CIA operative who has been saved and traded back to the US, not by her bosses, but by the cover boyfriend who fell for her and started making waves in political circles; and, in the present day, she is accused of being a Russian covert plant—a part of the Soviet Union’s insane…

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REVIEW: Die Fälscher [The Counterfeiters] [2007]

“A day is a day” It is very interesting how it seems that every film about the Holocaust becomes a modern classic. Die Fälscher [The Counterfeiters] is the latest attempt to breathe life into the subject by showing a true tale of how the Nazis bankrolled the end of the war with fake currency. The story itself is very intriguing and worth a history lesson, but as far as a film, what we really are given is one more concentration camp experience. There are the Nazis inflicting brutality on the…

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