Archives for January 2011

ARCHIVES

The Rite

Exorcism! Malfeasance!
With Colin O'Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Ciarán Hinds and Alice Braga
Directed by Mikael Håfström

If you walk into “The Rite” without ever having seen another exorcism movie, then you might have a hell of a time. The odds are that it isn’t the case. These films have an unholy way of multiplying. As such, we know most of their moves. The habits of these films are now old hat on Linda Blair’s spinning head. Have you ever wondered how “The Exorcist” looked in 1973? For an audience raised on ... more >

Carancho

Ambulance chasing, Argentine style
Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman
Directed by Pablo Trapero

Grit, tears and perspiration. Argentine--must be a Pablo Trapero movie. With his camera often trained on the working-class rung of his country, Trapero calmly deconstructs in an hour and a half or so how people put up with the “general cussedness of things.” Make a buck, sometimes quickly, break a rule or two, breathe in—and out. Some professions are better-paid than others. In Carancho (which ... more >

The double hour

New Italian thriller looks and feels like the real thing
Kseniya Rappoport, Filippo Timi and Antonia Truppo
Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi

Plot twists and critical turns are key to making successful thrillers. A successful twist pulls the audience in a specific direction and then seizes what they thought to be true, leaving them dumbfounded and duped - "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable," "The Others" and "The Usual Suspects" come to mind well executed plot twists. These are the benchmarks by which other films are beholden to. "The ... more >

Somewhere

The new Coppola is here: but is it good?
Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning and Chris Pontius
Directed by Sofia Coppola

Diehard Coppola fans will appreciate “Somewhere.” This critic found it frustrating and going nowhere. It’s not so much the glacial pace or the extremely long takes that are at fault. After all, Antonioni and others successfully pulled off the same kind of stunt for almost decades. Nor the simpatico performance by Stephen Dorff playing a famous but washed-out star, Johnny Marco, devoid of any ... more >

Rabia

To sacrifice oneself in order to exist
Icíar Bollaín, Yon González and Martina García
Directed by Sebastián Cordero

Director Sebastian Cordero’s third film, “Rage” (“Rabia”), follows two immigrants in a hostile, xenophobic Spain as they try to scrape together a living. After José Maria (Gustavo Sanchez Parra), the origin of the eponymous rage, accidentally kills his boss on a construction site, he takes refuge inside the huge mansion where Rosa (Martina Garcia) works as a housekeeper. The rest of the film ... more >

Susannah York

Obit

This ravishing British screen beauty of the 1960s is another one of those actors who gets a few shots at first-tier ranking and never quite makes it. In her case, what may have prevented a full-blown star career was the independent and stubborn streak that made her refuse the typecast parts which her blue eyes, blond hair and impish figure brought her way. Instead, she picked wisely, moving from ... more >

The tourist

First, The lives of others, and now this?
Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and Paul Bettany
Directed by Florian Von Donnersmarck

Ouch! The landing is all the rougher when high expectations are shattered. While I was waiting for “The Tourist” to show at a Cineplex near me, the more jaded of my film cohorts warned me that I might be disappointed. But could director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck disappoint, him of the superb “Lives of Others”? Alack, he has. “The Tourist” aspires to light larkhood along the lines of the old ... more >