Under the floorboards mythical creatures await; “SECRET KINGDOM” | FILM REVIEW

Alyla Browne, Alice Parkinson, Christopher Gabardi and Sam Everingham
Directed by Matt Drummond

Beginning with an intoxicating narration that sets the story on its path (and even sneaking a quote from Leonard Cohen into the first few minutes) “The Secret Kingdom” (helmed by former visual effects artist turned writer/director Matt Drummond) does something special, it takes viewers through a sweet but exciting tale that takes its audience seriously. Twelve-year-old Peter (a very natural Sam ... more >

Live, love, music; “PLAYING WITH FIRE” | Documentary review

Directed by Allan Miller

With the documentary “Playing with Fire: Jeannette Sorrell and the Mysteries of Conducting” Oscar-winning director Allan Miller explores the career of a woman who bleeds with a complete love of music and works to bring the vibrancy and stories of classical music to life. When she was young Jeannette Sorrell was told by the Juilliard School and The Cleveland Orchestra that no orchestra would ... more >

“THE POT-AU-FEU” | Cannes

Benoît Magimel and Juliette Binoche
Directed by Tran Anh Hung

In mid-19th century France, Eugénie has worked for twenty years alongside the famous gastronome Dodin. She’s an expert at preparing French dishes, poring over the writings of Antonin Carême, a pastry chef from the same era, preparing her foods, adding a touch of novelty and carefully choosing radishes and carrots from the vegetable garden outside Dodin’s home. Over time, a passion develops between ... more >

When the private chaos of a relationship becomes public matter; “ANATOMY OF A FALL” | Cannes

Sandra Hüller and Swann Arlaud
Directed by Justine Triet

My other favorite this year along with “The zone of interest” is “Anatomy of a fall” (“Anatomie d’une chute”), directed by Justine Triet. It’s a courtroom drama around a writer's sudden death at his chalet. His wife (Sandra Hüller) is also a writer. The disorder of their relationship, their child, who became blind following an accident that the father agonizes over, the woman’s need for space, her ... more >

The Wes Anderson-directed “ASTEROID CITY” makes landing | Cannes

Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman and Tom Hanks
Directed by Wes Anderson

“Asteroid City” is a visual feat of a movie with little in the way of substance, in fact, this might be the most contrived Wes Anderson film I've watched. Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Liev Schreiber and Adrien Brody star in it, which adds heft but the photography is helliciously rendered in saturated pastels and so it's weird. This film brought a sense of emptiness in me. During its two ... more >

Jessica Hausner comes to Cannes with “CLUB ZERO”; tuck in | Cannes

Mia Wasikowska and Sidse Babett Knudsen
Directed by Jessica Hausner

Jessica Hausner takes concepts such as workaholism or dieting and makes them into extremes. In her 2019 film “Little Joe” a scientist became so engrossed in cultivating her indoor plants that she would choose them over her children. “Club zero” takes place in a high-school in a non-descript city. Ms. Novak (Mia Wasikowska), a nutrition teacher just joined the school, she comes with her own branded ... more >

Revolution, jihad and family ties in “FOUR DAUGHTERS” | Cannes

Hend Sabri, Olfa Hamrouni and Eya Chikahoui
Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania

In 2015 two of Olfa Hamrouni’s four daughters left home to join the Islamic State in Libya. Tunisia was becoming known as the leading exporter of jihadists then. “They were eaten by the wolf,” the mother ominously says in the beginning in an attempt to rationalize their absence, her remaining two daughters by her side. Part-confessional, part-memorial “Four daughters,” ("Les Filles D'Olfa" in the ... more >