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The Martian Film Review

From visionary director Ridley Scott—Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Gladiator (2000), and Prometheus (2012)—comes the latest in the astronaut-in-jeopardy genre that has lately been gaining velocity, The Martian. Realistic space exploration films featuring isolated astronauts in life-threatening situations have been around for years but were always considered to be cerebral speculative procedurals, of interest only to the hard-core Sci-fi fans.  But with the success of films like Apollo 13 (1995), Gravity (2013), and Interstellar (2014) with their visually innovative...

The Second Mother Film Review

The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) You will fall in love with The Second Mother, a charming honest and hilarious Brazilian drama. Regina Casé – from the award winning film Me You Them (2000), is a hoot as a gruff lovable nanny working for a wealthy middle upper class family. When her estranged teenaged daughter comes to stay with her at the home of her employer where she works to search for an apartment in the city of...

Suite Francaise

FROM HISTORY TO FILM Irène Némirovsky, a promising new talent in the Paris literary world of 1920s and 30s, whose career was just starting to take off with early acclaimed novellas like David Golder and Snow in Autumn when her life took a tragic turn straight into the horror of Nazi Germany’s invasion and occupation of France. Desperate with pen in hand, she records everything she sees and hears with the urgency of someone who knows her time may...

In the Mood For Love Film Review

NOT YOUR AVERAGE LOVE STORY This is romance Hong Kong style.  During a hot humid summer in 1962, the bustling Shanghainese community provides a sensuous grungy backdrop to one of the most unusual love stories ever told by one of cinemas most interesting directors. Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000), a melancholic, nostalgic movie that is more about mood than love, follows the tentative encounters between two well dressed, married office workers living in shabby surroundings. The...

Marriage Italian Style

TO NAPLES WITH LOVE Virtuoso director and actor Vittorio De Sica, who crafted such all-time Italian neorealist classics as Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Umberto D. (1952), using keenly observed melodramatic Italian behavior and characters, pulls us into a hilarious darkly comic story in 1960s Naples, Italy. When Filumena (Sophia Loren) collapses on the Neapolitan bakery floor where she works and is rushed off through the streets of Naples by a distraught close-knit community of supporters, they call for the...

While We’re Young and Clouds of Sils Maria Reviews

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA & WHILE WE’RE YOUNG— As we Baby Boomers grow older, so do the filmmakers and actors from our generation, who are becoming pre-occupied with making films that reflect on the state of our lives as we grapple with our changing bodies and the world around us. Two films of note that deal with our need to stay in touch with our ever-changing society while also dealing with the ever-pressing sense of our legacy and the...

The Apu Trilogy

A Review of The Apu trilogy Directed by Satyajit Ray Director Satyajit Ray is to India what Akira Kurosawa is to Japan or Vittorio De Sica to Italy. The films he has directed are so poetically evocative and stunningly photographed; told with such immediacy and assuredness, he is truly a master of the art form and clearly The Apu Trilogy is a labor of love. He was influenced by rampant social change occurring in India around the 1920s, the...

Force Majeure

A luxury ski resort with all the modern conveniences catering to a wealthy clientele nestled among the scenic snow covered mountain peaks of the French Alps, is the setting of a tumultuous anguished ski holiday for a modern Swedish family in the film, Force Majeure. Husband and father Thomas, played by Johannes Kuhnke, has taken some time off from his job to spend quality time with his wife Ebba, played by Lisa Loven Kongsli, and their two kids, enjoying...

Downton Abbey Review

This is the first TV series I feel compelled to write about, it’s just that good.  This highly acclaimed multi-award winning series from Masterpiece Classic has achieved a level of excellence that I associate only with high quality, big budget feature films, displaying top notch talent, script writing and production values.  And it has sustained this level of excellence throughout its entire five season run and is still going strong.  I now know why this show has become such...

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) Film Review

The slogan on the Spanish poster of the Argentine film Wild Tales (2014) or Relatos Salvajes reads “We all have our animal side” and it certainly lives up to its promise of savage stories so rabid that they seem to be more closely related to the primal behavior of the animal kingdom. Oscar contender for Best Foreign film, Wild Tales is a collection of six short films that take place in various locations around present day Argentina with a...

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