“The Handmaiden” A Spicy Mystery with a Tryst

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Spicy and exciting the film The Handmaiden enters select theaters this weekend and for adults it’s a powerful mystery drama with romantic overtones. The fine direction, acting, story and cinematography make the film pleasurable. It’s for those who like a titillating movie experience tied in with a sordid plot that takes some unexpected twists. The film, if it had been rated, could have easily received the highest MPAA judgement possible. Read more

“A Man Called Ove”, Tugs at the Heartstrings

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Heartfelt, touching, compassionate and tragic yet romantic, the film A Man Called Ove comes to America from Sweden. The country’s choice for their entry into the Academy Awards best foreign film, the movie should make the top 5 in that category. All around best in direction, acting, cinematography, music and script the film has the potential for a nomination in the top 10 for overall Best Picture. Read more

“Once in a Lifetime” a Challenging Assignment

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The true story Once in a Lifetime offers a sincere look into the lives of a classroom of teens who get to tackle one of the most challenging assignments of their life. The opening scene however, shows a discord between a Muslim student and a faculty member regarding the wearing of a hijab (Muslim head covering). While this incident never gets fleshed out, according to the press notes supplied, producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar includes the scene to show freedom of expression and the principle of secularism. The scene has the power to suggest a whole new plot for a different film on the subject yet does not take away from the production that follows. Read more

“The Vessel” a Daunting Look at Grief and Regret

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Moody, brooding and mysterious the film The Vessel takes you on a journey to a town that has stood still. Nicely acted with a fine cast that includes Martin Sheen in a role that’s touching and bold, the movie prods at your heartstrings and digs into your soul. It’s the kind of rare film that offers a skewed look at tragic events. Read more

“Mia Madre” Juggling Dreams While Jumping Through Hoops

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The film Mia Madre has its moments, but the bleak story is a matter of taste. A true indie in every sense of the word, the movie becomes a trite look at the inside of movie making through the eyes of a director who’s dealing with her mother’s illness. Admittedly not based on a true story, the subject matter should appeal to those who have found themselves in similar situations with the main character. If you like films that work their magic through dramatic moments and hard to cope with situations, then this little gem will work nicely for you. Read more

“The Innocents” a Disturbing True Story of Dignity

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The atrocities of WWII were not only the work of the Nazis, but the Russian troops made Polish Christians pay a price for life as well. The film The Innocents (“Les Innocentes”) tells a true story so appalling that it’s hard to watch. But, you will not want to miss a frame for this true account that took place toward the end of WWII in Poland. Read more

“To Life”, a Gripping Tale of a Lost Love

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The charming drama To Life (Auf das Leben!) opens this weekend in Florida and other parts of America and it’s a gripping tale with a touch of whimsy. Nicely directed and acted the film delves into the mind of a Jewish woman who’s possessed by her past and lost for an act of revenge. Not your average movie, this one will tantalize, draw out your inner feelings and possess you during and after the lights come up in the theater. Perfect for art house movie goers and those who enjoy a compelling drama. Read more

“The Wait (L’Attesa)”, a Heartfelt Film with a Dark Storyline

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If you are into dramas that manipulate your mind, have interesting characters that captivate and a script that vacillates down to the last touching moment, look no further than The Wait (L’Attesa). The acting is superb, the direction inventive, and the storyline, although a bit convoluted, very good. Combined with a charismatic location that should tantalize would be travelers and sets that reveal the iconic charm of Sicily, the film offers lasting visions of this gorgeous area where it was shot. Read more

“Rabin in his Own Words”, the Life of a Peacemaker

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One of the most complete and intensive biography/documentary films I’ve seen years, Rabin in His Own Words comes to American screens this weekend. It follows Yitzhak Rabin life from birth to his untimely death using photographs, home film, archival footage and news reels. It’s actually a documentary on how Israel was born, the historical wars they fought and the challenge of bringing peace to the nation. Read more

Marguerite, a Gorgeous Film with Heart

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There’s a very good film opening this weekend and it’s pretentious in a very loving way. Partly based on a true story, Marguerite takes you to a time when Paris was in flower and Barons ruled provincial areas of France. And it’s drenched in the opulence of the rich and ravenous with the shysters looking to take advantage of the vain and ostentatious. Elegantly filmed, richly acted and well directed, if you like a good farce, you’ll fall in love with Marguerite. Read more

The Second Mother, Heartfelt and Charming

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Told from the point of view of writer and director Anna Muylaert the movie The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?) shows the heartrending plight of a woman who gives up personal happiness for her daughter. Now in select theaters in America the movie shows the lengths a mother will go just to provide a modest life for their child. Fascinating yet compassionate the fictional light drama mirrors a good portion of real life in Brazil. The film won the “Audience Award” at the Berlin Film Festival. Read more

Farewell Party, a witty film on a grim topic

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There shouldn’t be a dry eye in the theater from the heartfelt movie The Farewell Party set in an Israeli retirement home. Courageous acting, script and directing, the touching dark comedy takes a look at old age with story characters nearing their passing. If you see one foreign film this year and don’t mind shedding a few tears, rush to see The Farewell Party. Read more

Bordering on Bad Behavior, an Irreverent Look at the Mideast Conflict

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Lessons to be learned in this little film about the Middle East that captures the issues and points out the problems. The solution may not be possible, but getting to it looks like the filmmaker had a whole lot of fun. The dramedy features a fine cast, able direction and a pie-in-the-sky story that may not be too farfetched. Open up your mind and sit back while you watch a truly wicked Bordering on Bad Behavior. Read more

Tangerines, the Madness of War

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Bitter enemies face off in the film Tangerines, a war film set in Estonia. Set on a small scale the movie’s message gives it vast meaning. Extremely well-acted, directed and depicted, this heartfelt little production shows what other meaningful films do even better about the pointlessness of war. One of the five nominated Foreign Language Films at the 87th Academy Award a more than worthy to be among the best.

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Felix and Meira, Trapped in a Different Kind of World

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Taking a closer look at Jewish social standards the film Felix and Meira an unusual romance comes to theaters. The subject matter of the drama looks at dominance, boredom, nonconformity, defiance and separation in a strict culture that’s ruled by their religious beliefs. The movie is attractively dark with fine direction, acting and a production crew. The cinematography provides a fascinating background filmed in low light giving the feel of the central character’s boredom with a bleak outlook on life.

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