AUTHOR | Saïdeh Pakravan

ARCHIVES

OPINION: What happened to chronology?

Directors resort to the flashback too indulgently, it would seem

Introducing in a narrative flashbacks, fragments of dreams, partially remembered scenes has always been part and parcel of cinema. Examples abound. Look at classic films. The childhood sled scenes in “Citizen Kane” are indispensable. As is the famous flashback explaining the Gregory Peck character’s trauma in “Spellbound." The process works, when it is used within reasonable limits. When repeated ... more >

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BEST OF 2019: “Tel Aviv On Fire,” “This Must Be Heaven” and others make this film critic’s year

"Tel Aviv on Fire" (directed by Sameh Zoabi) (featured image) This Israeli film by Sameh Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, comes to us boasting a number of awards but that doesn’t prepare us for the treat of this thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious story [...] (full review) "Pain and Glory" (directed by Pedro Almodovar) Antonio Banderas, in one of his most attaching roles ever (Banderas’s American ... more >

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Brad Pitt sets off in search of a father in mesmerizing “Ad Astra”

The universe is big, lest we forget
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga
Directed by James Gray

“Ad astra,” the new film by James Gray, is more meditation than story. The title (one half of the latin phrase “per aspera ad astra” or “through hardships to the stars”) is apt given the amount of time travel and the fascinating hardware that allows it, though the tale meanders, causing some confusion. With various stellar transportation modes, it takes us from one distant planet to the next ... more >

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TAKE TWO – “Once upon a time in Hollywood”

Pitch perfect, maestro, pitch perfect
Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

I think cinema, I love cinema, I see a great number of films during the year and always have. If asked to list great director names, I would reply, Fellini, Bergman, Fassbinder, Kurosawa and Kubrick. Though a hundred names would barely begin to cover it. But… and oh, yes, Tarentino. Despite not much enjoying his movies—too much violence, albeit often humorous, rivers of blood, and a permanent ... more >

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“Wild Rose”

Between responsibility and hope lie country music dreams
Jessie Buckley, Matt Costello and Jane Patterson
Directed by Tom Harper

The Rose of the title is Jessica Buckley who, as Rose-Lynn Harlan does a tremendous turn as an untamable working-class Glaswegian just out of prison after a stint for committing a petty crime. She’s a cleaning lady by trade, a Nashville-style country singer by aspiration, a mother of two and an unmanageable rebel, all within the staid contents of her small life. The twisted charm of Tom ... more >

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“Tel Aviv on Fire,” an acid and humorous take on Palestinians, Israelis and DYIsm

It's showtime!
Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal and Yaniv Biton
Directed by Sameh Zoabi

This Israeli film by Sameh Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, comes to us boasting a number of awards but that doesn’t prepare us for the treat of this thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious story. “Tel Aviv on Fire” is one of those gems––think “The Band’s Visit” or “Tony Erdmann”––that grab and delight from the opening scene to the very end, with nary a slackening of rhythm. Salam (Kais Nashif, a ... more >

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: “YESTERDAY” was great fun to watch. Then the self-indulgent pathos began

Imagine there's no Beatles
Himesh Patel and Lily James
Directed by Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” is a delight almost to the end. How can it not be? First of all, perfect pitch by both Himesh Patel (Jack) and the too-lovely-for-words Lily James (Ellie). Patel is Jack Malik, a store employee who, through a blackout on earth and being hit by a bus, wakes up in an alternate world where he is the one and only person who knows the Beatles. A third-rate musician who kind of ... more >