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75 posts categorized "Film"

September 07, 2012

Movies You Missed 55: Making Plans for Léna

Making-plans-for-lenaThis week in movies you missed: The French make movies about screwed-up families better than anyone.

What You Missed

Léna (Chiara Mastroianni, pictured) has at least 99 problems, and she herself is the biggest one. The moment we see this dark, glamorous woman in the middle of a busy Paris train station, towing one small child and yelling for another, we know she's in over her head.

Léna quit her job to stay home with her kids after she decided to divorce her cheating husband, Nigel (Jean-Marc Barr). (Yes, that is the connection to the XTC song, which is played in the film, though the movie's French title is completely different.) But her parents and sister worry that Léna isn't stable enough to be the custodial parent, so they arrange for Nigel to show up at the family's summer retreat in Brittany, hoping for a reconciliation. Things do not go as planned.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 55: Making Plans for Léna" »

August 31, 2012

Movies You Missed 54: The Moth Diaries

Moth-diariesThis week in movies you missed: teenage lesbian vampires, oh my! Or, perhaps, ho-hum.

What You Missed

When a mysterious new pupil named Ernessa (Lily Cole, pictured) comes to exclusive, girls-only Brangwyn School, she brings trouble for young Rebecca (Sarah Bolger). Traumatized by the suicide of her father, a famous poet, Rebecca has been leaning hard on the support of her wan but nurturing roommate and best friend, Lucie (Sarah Gadon).

But now Lucie and Ernessa are developing a close friendship — some would say too close. Rebecca, who's been taking a class in vampire fiction from the school's hot new teacher (Scott Speedman), is becoming convinced that Ernessa is literally sucking the life from Lucie. Can she convince anyone else?

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 54: The Moth Diaries" »

August 24, 2012

Movies You Missed 53: Weekend

WeekendThis week in movies you missed: a gay romance that transcends categories, and one of the most acclaimed movies of 2011.

What You Missed

It starts as a one-night stand. Russell (Tom Cullen), a burly, quiet lifeguard, thinks Glen (Chris New), a wiry, volatile art student, is "out of his league." They meet at a bar and go to Russell's place and, the next morning, they start talking.

At first, Glen is just recording Russell's impressions of their hookup for a very conceptual art project he's doing. But over the course of one weekend, the two young men get to know each other well.

Ostensibly, they don't have much in common. Russell is out, but only to his close friends. Glen is prone to getting in shouting matches with homophobic strangers. Russell, who grew up in foster care, believes in long-term relationships. Glen "doesn't do boyfriends."  Yet each man clearly finds something he needs in the other. We watch their intimacy grow, wondering: Does it have a future?

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 53: Weekend" »

August 20, 2012

Movies You Missed 52: Kill List

Kill-listThis week in movies you missed: To celebrate a full year of movies we missed, here's a film that will throw you for a loop.

What You Missed

Do not let anyone spoil you for Kill List. If a friend says, "It's just like that old cult classic, you know, the one that was remade with—" immediately cover your ears and do the "La la la, not listening."

What you can know going in: Jay (Neil Maskell) has the round face and twitchy mannerisms of a small boy, and that's how his hard-as-nails Swedish wife, Shel (MyAnna Buring, pictured), treats him. They live in suburban affluence, but he hasn't been working for months, and she's nagging him about getting back on the horse.

The acrimony spills over into a wine-soaked dinner party with Jay's old army buddy, Gal (Michael Smiley), and his aloof new girlfriend (Emma Fryer), till Gal reveals that he has a job for Jay. That's when we learn that Jay and Gal are hitmen.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 52: Kill List" »

August 10, 2012

Movies You Missed 51: The Turin Horse

Turin-horseThis week in movies you missed: The most boring film I have ever seen is also one of the least forgettable.

What You Missed

Hungarian director Béla Tarr is beloved by cinephiles for his long, long films featuring long, long takes. Scott Tobias of the A.V. Club calls The Turin Horse one of the best films of 2012 so far.

In 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche descended into madness. People knew he had gone off the deep end when — according to legend — he attempted to embrace a horse that was being savagely beaten by a cart man on a Turin street.

Nietzsche never recovered. But what happened to the cart man and the horse?

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 51: The Turin Horse" »

August 07, 2012

New Leadership at the Green Mountain Film Festival

IMG_0686Big news for the Green Mountain Film Festival came at press time today: There's been a major changing of the guard at Focus on Film, the fest's parent nonprofit. Donald Rae, executive director of FOF for the past six years, has stepped down, along with the rest of the board.

The board's new president is Terrence Youk, owner of Montpelier's Savoy Theater (pictured), who says in a press release that he sees this as "a timely opportunity to bring the Savoy under the wing of the Focus on Film nonprofit."

Always a venue for the GMFF, the Savoy has held several public funding drives to address its financial vicissitudes in the past few years. Like many local independent theaters, it faces an uncertain future in the digital era. Is Youk taking this opportunity to rebrand the theater as a nonprofit community resource with an educational mission? Watch this space for updates.

 

August 03, 2012

Movies You Missed 50: The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Anne-listerThis week in movies you missed: What if a Jane Austen character were a lesbian?

What You Missed

It's 1815. Anne Lister (Maxine Peake, of the UK show "Shameless") is the heiress to a great Yorkshire estate, where she lives with her aged aunt and uncle. Like all eligible single ladies in Regency England, she has love on her mind — but only for the "fairer sex," as she puts it in her diary.

Anne's passion is for the lovely Mariana (Anna Madeley), but their relationship ends when the latter accepts the proposal of a portly gentleman with a ton of money. Anne courts a cute tradesman's daughter she meets at church, but finds her "stupidish." She takes to wearing black and accepts amorous consolation from her loyal friend Tib (Susan Lynch), for whom she feels nothing.

But then Mariana reappears in Anne's life, promising a future together after her husband drops dead, as he surely will, from excess pork chop consumption.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 50: The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister" »

July 27, 2012

Movies You Missed 49: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro-dreams-sushiThis week in movies you missed: Behold the best sushi you will never get to eat (unless you have a trip to Japan planned) and the dedication of the men who make it.

What You Missed

Eighty-five-year-old Jiro Ono has been making sushi since he was 10 and doesn't regret a minute of it. His tiny restaurant in Tokyo, adjacent to a subway station, has a Michelin three-star rating. The price starts at 30,000 yen (about $375), the average meal lasts 15 minutes, and reservations must be made at least two months in advance.

In this documentary, director David Gelb shows us Jiro's world, including his kitchen, his apprentices, his fish market and suppliers, his customers and his two grown sons. One has his own restaurant; the other, at 50, still works for Jiro and expects to succeed him one day.

But that day seems unlikely to come soon. Although Jiro says he concocts sushi innovations in his dreams, he primarily seems happy to "do the same thing every day." And to do it perfectly, if his reputation and customers are any indication.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 49: Jiro Dreams of Sushi" »

July 20, 2012

Movies You Missed 48: 4:44 Last Day on Earth

4-44This week in movies you missed: If the world were ending, where would you want to be?

(a) Roaming a palatial estate with a smug Kirsten Dunst?

(b) On a road trip with Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, a dog and her vinyl collection?

(c) In a Manhattan loft with two arty types who are none too articulate and spend most of their last hours painting gigantic canvases and getting busy with each other?

(d) With Bruce Willis in a spaceship somewhere, quipping and trying to save the day?

What You Missed

If you picked (d), too bad. This movie concerns option (c).

Director Abel Ferrara (best known for the one and only original Bad Lieutenant) tries his hand at the apocalypse art film with 4:44 Last Day on Earth, set almost entirely inside the loft where lovers Cisco (Willem Dafoe) and Skye (Shanyn Leigh) are spending their last night alive.

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July 13, 2012

Movies You Missed 47: Margaret

MargaretThis week in movies you missed: the most praised film of 2011 that nobody saw.

What You Missed

Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) is a bright, seen-it-all Manhattan high schooler. When her math teacher (Matt Damon) confronts her about cheating on a test, she blithely tells him math doesn't matter to her. He suggests she'll change her mind one day; has she ever had an experience that altered her whole view of the world? She doesn't hesitate: "No."

Later that afternoon, Lisa goes shopping for a cowboy hat for an upcoming dude-ranch vacation with her dad, but the only one she spots is on the head of a city bus driver (Mark Ruffalo). She jogs along beside the moving bus, trying to communicate with him through the glass; he shrugs and grins at her flirtatiously. Ahead, a light turns red. A pedestrian (Allison Janney) steps off the curb. The distracted driver brakes too late.

What follows is a brief and harrowing scene that changes the film's tone and Lisa's life, leaving her literally covered in blood.

Continue reading "Movies You Missed 47: Margaret" »

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