REVIEW: Respire [Breathe] [2014]

“Passion is harmful when it becomes excessive” There’s a lot of mirroring happening in Mélanie Laurent‘s sophomore film behind the camera Respire [Breathe]. Thinking it heavy-handed wouldn’t be impossible, but I’m not sure the story can be told otherwise. Granted, a philosophical discussion in class about passion foreshadowing events to come just as a biology video bears resemblance to current state of affairs around two-thirds in could have been excised. But the similarities between Charlie (Joséphine Japy) and her mother Vanessa (Isabelle Carré) cannot. We need to see Mom’s codependence…

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REVIEW: Enemy [2014]

“Chaos is order yet undeciphered” When you read a synopsis for the late Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago’s The Double you’ll find a very straightforward tale of doppelgangers. There’s the alpha, the pushover, and the innocent victims caught between; the insanity of seeing an exact replica in the flesh paired with the infinite possibilities such a discovery could mean. One is married; one has a girlfriend. The latter injects himself into the former’s world through curiosity, the first into the second’s purely for unfounded revenge and sexual desire. They exist…

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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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REVIEW: Now You See Me [2013]

“That’s a lot of excitement for a crime” As the characters in Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me love to say, the more you see the less you know. This is the line of deflection The Four Horsemen love to package as their neat and tidy rule, ignoring the constant, ever-apparent question magicians and illusionists have refused to answer since the first trick was performed: “How did you do that?” It’s a loaded query posited with full knowledge that understanding would only render the feeling of disbelief we hunger to…

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REVIEW: Beginners [2011]

“I’d wait for the lion” We all have chapters in our lives ripe for rebirth. Check-stops on the journey through the years alter us irrevocably, making us begin anew in desperation to leave the old behind. Sometimes these epiphanies happen when we are young, some when old. But no matter the place on your own personal timeline, each moment is marked by the world surrounding you. And while the details of the things going on at that time resemble the ones in the past and future, they are never quite…

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REVIEW: Le Concert [The Concert] [2009]

“This is the real communism” By no means as madcap as I had been under the impression it would be, Radu Mihaileanu’s Le concert [The Concert] is most definitely the uplifting comedy it’s American poster proclaims. The laughs it elicits are often earned by scenes hiding truths, their revelations the joke, and absurd nonsense during the chaotic whirlwind of three days in Paris to ready for a sold out concerto featuring ‘The [Russian] Maestro’, famously embarrassed in a public assassination on stage thirty years previous, and the incomparable Anne-Marie Jacquet,…

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REVIEW: Inglourious Basterds [2009]

“F*ck a duck!” I like to think that the sheer fact Inglourious Basterds got made means that Quentin Tarantino isn’t all talk. Maybe, just maybe, that Whole Bloody Affair DVD compilation of the Kill Bills will come out. For now though, we should all be happy QT is back to form after his, in my opinion, misstep with Death Proof. As with his previous feature films, Basterds is above genres, mixing so much cinematic history and style to become a beast all its own. Parts WWII drama, parts comedy of…

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