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Arthur Cohn and Kristen Stewart - Arthur Cohn and Kristen Stewart Los Angeles, California - 'The Yellow Handkerchief' Los Angeles Premiere held at the Pacific Design Center - Arrivals Thursday 18th February 2010

Arthur Cohn and Kristen Stewart

William Hurt, Arthur Cohn and Maria Bello - William Hurt, Arthur Cohn and Maria Bello Los Angeles, California - The Premiere of 'The Yellow Handkerchief' held at The WGA Theatre. Tuesday 25th November 2008

William Hurt, Arthur Cohn and Maria Bello
William Hurt
William Hurt
William Hurt
William Hurt, Arthur Cohn and Maria Bello
William Hurt, Arthur Cohn and Maria Bello

The Children Of Huang Shi Review


Bad
Roger Spottiswoode's limp The Children of Huang Shi sounds, looks, and feels like a chapter torn from a dusty history textbook that was relevant somewhere in the mid-1960s. Every revelation feels like a lesson being thrust upon the viewer, every character a simple metaphor for their nationality's opinion toward (and hand in) the Japanese occupation of China that culminated in the Rape of Nanking in the winter of 1937. Here, the Chinese were honorable soldiers from a conflicted country, the Japanese were buffoonish barbarians who still took their shirt off before they decapitated people, the British were naive and in way over their heads, and the Americans just wanted to get married.

As the film's pre-script enlightens us, Children follows the life of George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Davies), a British journalist who steals the identity of a Red Cross worker to sneak into Nanking and get the story and the pictures of the massacres. After being captured, he almost meets the business-end of Tokyo steel before Hansheng (Chow Yun-Fat, not having fun with a mostly-American dialect), a resistance fighter, saves him from the blade. Hansheng sends Hogg off to the titular village, which serves as a sort of city for lost children, held in check by Dr. Pearson (Radha Mitchell), an actual Red Cross medic.

Continue reading: The Children Of Huang Shi Review

Behind The Sun Review


Excellent
Poor Kid has it pretty rough. Not only does he live on a desolate, Brazilian sugar cane farm, toiling the days with his family to make a few pitiful bucks, but his family's in a years-old feud with the farm down the road... and one by one all of his relatives have been shot as part of the circle of violence. And the kid doesn't even have a name.

Admittedly, Behind the Sun goes to extreme lengths to make you feel sorry for Kid (Ravi Ramos Lacerda) and his brother Tonio (Rodrigo Santoro), the sole survivors of their generation. But their story is heartfelt and compassionate, and despite the melodramatic plot surrounding them, Behind the Sun is a fascinating tale.

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One Day In September Review


Extraordinary
The current crisis in the Middle East, with its painful controversy regarding the sovereignty over Temple Mount, makes the timing for the documentary One Day in September (Best Documentary Oscar: 1999) perfect. The film presents the historical events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage and interrupted the Games. The filmmakers use actual footage taken at the time, interviews with German officials and children of the victims, clips from television news reports, and interviews with the only surviving terrorist who participated in the attack, Jamal Al Gashey.

The film starts off on a personal note: Ankie Spitzer, a widow of one of the Israeli athletes kept as a hostage, recalls their happy marriage and anticipation of coming to the Olympic games. Giving the tragedy a human face underlines the message of the film: At the core of every political game, human life and death are nothing more than a by-product of political cruelty. Objectively, it gives a succinct summary of why the 1972 Olympics, besides being as political as Olympic Games always are, were so particularly important to both Germans and Israelis. Subjectively, and understandably so, the film is pro-Israeli: If members of Israeli team are presented as exemplary citizens -- young, ambitions, with families and babies -- Palestinians are shown receiving training in violence, hiding as Zionist refugees in Lebanon and Libya, carrying out their terrorist acts with anonymous brutality (as they don't even know the target of their attack until very late). Thus, in addition and perhaps without realizing it, the film exemplifies why cinema is such a powerful and dangerous medium; One Day in September is an adroitly constructed yet highly manipulative film.

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Dangerous Moves Review


Excellent
The title may sound like soft-core porn, but it's actually a Best Foreign Film Oscar winner that you've never heard of.

Never before seen in the US, this Swiss production concerns a championship chess match between Soviet master Liebskind (Michel Piccoli) and his former student, a defector named Fromm (Alexandre Arbatt). The underlying political intrigue -- which we expect -- is quite understated as the film focuses on the mind games between the two players. Sure, there's a political agenda, but the insight into how these players try to outfox each other between matches is priceless. They plan strategies, only to watch them come undone during the actual game. When we learn that Liebskind is dying, the game becomes a metaphor for not just east vs. west, but life vs. life.

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The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis Review


Good
Here's an odd combination: A tepid love story is set in 1938 Italy amidst a backdrop of political turmoil. The oddity is the tepidness of the love story -- even Enemy of the Gates, an otherwise weak film, had the good sense to make the romance sizzle in its historical context. Although it plays an admittedly smaller role in the film, the movie's look at the apathetic, disbelieving rich of Italy during the dawn of WWII is a far more compelling tale. Somewhere in the middle lies Finzi-Continis' look at Anti-Semitism in Italy, where the "what happened in Germany could never happen here" mentality reigned. One of Vittorio De Sica's (The Bicycle Thief) final films.

Continue reading: The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis Review

Behind The Sun Review


Excellent
Poor Kid has it pretty rough. Not only does he live on a desolate, Brazilian sugar cane farm, toiling the days with his family to make a few pitiful bucks, but his family's in a years-old feud with the farm down the road... and one by one all of his relatives have been shot as part of the circle of violence. And the kid doesn't even have a name.

Admittedly, Behind the Sun goes to extreme lengths to make you feel sorry for Kid (Ravi Ramos Lacerda) and his brother Tonio (Rodrigo Santoro), the sole survivors of their generation. But their story is heartfelt and compassionate, and despite the melodramatic plot surrounding them, Behind the Sun is a fascinating tale.

Continue reading: Behind The Sun Review

The Chorus Review


Weak
Manipulative, maudlin filmmaking knows no cultural boundaries, and further proof of imports' potential for derivative corniness can be found in The Chorus (Les Choristes), Christophe Barratier's directorial debut - a runaway hit in its native France - about an inspirational music teacher at a boarding school for delinquent kids in 1949 France. An embarrassingly mushy story of an ordinary guy's yeoman efforts to change the world one rebellious rascal at a time, it's a movie that disingenuously invokes and exploits Nazi war crimes and child abuse in service of a feel-good fable. Cloying from start to finish, it's so drenched in syrupy sentimentality - from its plethora of quaint small-town Parisian details to its bludgeoning good vs. evil set-up - that one barely needs to read the subtitles to recognize its utilization of every convention found in Mr. Holland's Opus, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Dangerous Minds, and innumerable other films in Hollywood's trite, faux-uplifting "good teacher-bad student" sub-genre.

Former aspiring musician Clément Mathieu (a charismatic Gérard Jugnot) is the new instructor at a school for uncontrollable adolescent boys which - under the strict orders of dastardly principal Rachin (François Berléand) - punishes bad behavior with swift violence in a policy referred to as "Action - Reaction." Such abuse doesn't sit well with Mathieu, a sensitive soul who believes that there's goodness hidden underneath these wayward kids' rough exteriors. Naturally, The Chorus wholeheartedly subscribes to this romantic theory, characterizing each and every pint-sized punk as an angel in disguise. Though initially intent on terrorizing their new teacher, Mathieu's students see the light once the music-loving professor turns their unruly class into a disciplined choral group, their vocal training indirectly inciting them to study, reconnect with their families (in the case of Jean-Baptiste Maunier's star singer Morhange) or find surrogate parents to embrace (such as with Maxence Perrin's impish Pépinot). As far as Barratier's rose-colored fairy tale is concerned, every bad seed - regardless of his vileness - is redeemable with a little Do-Re-Mi and TLC, and thus The Chorus goes to great lengths to play up the central conflict between compassionate care and corporal punishment embodied by the kindhearted Mathieu and wicked Rachin, a villain so groaningly cartoonish it's a wonder he doesn't twirl his graying moustache.

Continue reading: The Chorus Review

Central Station Review


Very Good
Heralded by critics and film fans -- and rightly so -- Central Station is the story of an unlikely friendship between the 67-year-old Dora (Fernanda Montenegro) and a 10-year-old boy Josué (Vinicius de Oliviera). Dora works as a letter writer (employed by the illiterate) in the busy Rio de Janeiro train station. Josué's mother pays Dora to write a letter to Josué's long-missing father, only to be run over by a bus moments later. Out of guilt (namely since she rarely mails the letters people pay her to write -- instead laughing over them with her roommate), she takes Josué into her home and eventually on a difficult journey to a remote section of Brazil to find Josué's father.

It's a fascinating, small, tale, held together by lush photography (and sadly, substantially weakened by a sorry, repetitious score). Montenegro owns the picture, her emotions fully riding the surface of the film. Worth a look, even if you don't care for foreign fare.

Continue reading: Central Station Review

American Dream Review


Very Good
By now you know how this movie goes.

Big company (in this case, Hormel) is making lots of money. And yet it demands a pay cut of its factory workers. Major clash ensues and a strike is threatened. The camera captures both sides, but boy, do the factory workers look like the good guys.

Continue reading: American Dream Review

Black And White In Color Review


Very Good
Its message is more enduring in regards to war than in regards to race relations, but Black and White in Color is nonetheless a classic still worthy of its Best Foreign Film Oscar, won way back in 1977.

Released just in time for a wave of anti-French sentiment, the film follows a French colony in Africa's Ivory Coast on the eve of World War I. The Frenchmen discover that war has been declared, so they figure they'll do their part by attacking the German colony up the river. After all, they have six rifles, and one of them's an automatic.

Continue reading: Black And White In Color Review

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Arthur Cohn Movies

Behind The Sun Movie Review

Behind The Sun Movie Review

Poor Kid has it pretty rough. Not only does he live on a desolate,...

One Day in September Movie Review

One Day in September Movie Review

The current crisis in the Middle East, with its painful controversy regarding the sovereignty over...

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Behind The Sun Movie Review

Behind The Sun Movie Review

Poor Kid has it pretty rough. Not only does he live on a desolate,...

The Chorus Movie Review

The Chorus Movie Review

Manipulative, maudlin filmmaking knows no cultural boundaries, and further proof of imports' potential for derivative...

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