Poldek (Wirckiewicz) works in the Lvov sewers with his young sidekick Szczepek (Skonieczny). When the Nazis begin to systematically clear out the Jewish ghetto, either murdering them or shipping them off to the camps, a handful of Jews escape into the sewers, where Poldek and Szczepek agree to help them for a price. But as the months go on, Poldek becomes increasingly involved in their lives, causing stress with his wife (Preis) back home and making him very nervous around his soldier pal Bortnik (Zurawski).
Continue reading: In Darkness Review
That is, more or less, the setup for Christian Petzold's Jerichow. It is the second film released stateside by the German director and it is, in every possible way, a superior piece of filmmaking compared to Yella, Petzold's previous work. Written by the director, it spins the sort of atmospheric noir that elicits much of its dark lustfulness and crafty beguilement through the patience of its imagery and a deep devotion to natural sound.
Continue reading: Jerichow Review
And God is she getting dull.
Continue reading: Mutant Chronicles Review
Starring Run Lola Run's Franka Potente, the story recalls Extreme Measures (though skewing younger), a tale of a secret society of doctors and med students that disavow the Hippocratic oath, instead opting to do grotesque experiments on living, often perfectly healthy, patients.
Continue reading: Anatomy Review
Perhaps he should seek to expand his cast of players before that time comes. As nice as it is to see a writer-director and group of actors getting along so swimmingly, one reason The Order never quite makes it out of the gate is a stunningly inert ensemble. Heath Ledger is a member of a new class of young actors handsome enough to be mistaken for leading man, when, really, they would be better served by character parts (Josh Hartnett and Vin Diesel, feel free to jot this down). Ledger, despite his grizzle here, looks too young to play a rogue priest investigating the death of a member of his obscure order. His character is given a complicated, traumatic past, but he looks more tired and bored than haunted. Mark Addy contributes a dash of levity as another member of the order, but his character disappears for long stretches, only to materialize for the occasional dire injury.
Continue reading: The Order Review
Tykwer reunites with Lola star Franka Potente, casting her as Sissi (the princess, presumably) a troubled mental ward nurse who probably ought to be a patient herself. After a morose 20-minute setup wherein the players are cryptically introduced, we find Sissi lying near death under a semi truck, run down in a city street. To her rescue comes the unlikely hero Bodo (the warrior?), played by the Gary Oldmanesque Benno Fürmann (also Potente's Anatomy costar), a two-bit crook who indirectly caused the collision in the first place. Bodo saves Sissi's life by giving her a homemade tracheotomy, and after a long recovery, the already unstable Sissi soon finds herself obsessed with her savior.
Continue reading: The Princess And The Warrior Review
The Catholic church has been a source of inspiration for a whole slew of scary movies -- everything from goosepimpling tales of possession like "The Exorcist" to fact-based stories of institutionalized horror like the current art-house hit "The Magdalene Sisters."
But mostly these scary movies have not been all that frightening. In fact, mostly they've been forgettably cheap-fright thrillers that make up their own mythology, then dress it up in cassocks and clerical collars for mock-credibility, much like "The Order."
This dark supernatural thriller about a brooding young man of the cloth (lumpy-featured heartthrob Heath Ledger) in the midst of a major crisis of faith (there's this girl, see...) is loosely based on an archaic con offered to ex-communicated sinners on their deathbeds in Medieval times: Someone calling himself a "sin eater" would perform a ceremony in which, for a price, he would assume all the dying person's transgressions and guilt so he or she would be free to enter Heaven.
Continue reading: The Order Review
The second collaboration between German writer-director Tom Tykwer and his muse, actress Franka Potente, "The Princess and the Warrior" couldn't be a further departure from "Run Lola Run," the influential and groundbreaking piece of kinetic, adrenaline-fueled pop cinema that put them both on the map.
In that 1999 hit, Potente played a boyishly sexy post-modern alt-punk trying to save the life of her petty criminal boyfriend, who lost a cash delivery for his gangster boss. Set to Tykwer's own rave-styled soundtrack and edited to match, "Lola" followed Potente as she marathoned across Berlin seeking desperate last-minute solutions before the scheduled money drop. It's not quite an all-out assault on the senses, but it's nothing if not hyperactively energetic.
By contrast, "The Princess and the Warrior" is eerily serene, deliberately paced (135 minutes to "Lola's" 84), deeply reflective and intensely psychological.
Continue reading: The Princess & The Warrior Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
Based on the true story of Polish Jews who hid in the sewers of Lvov...
Leopold Sucha lives in Poland during the Second World War. The country has been occupied...
I've never trusted physicians. Probably never will, and for good reason: Rising above tepid...
The Brian Helgeland repertory company of Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, and Mark Addy returns in...
German auteur Tom Tykwer downshifts from the frenetic pace of Run Lola Run, landing solidly...
The Catholic church has been a source of inspiration for a whole slew of scary...
The second collaboration between German writer-director Tom Tykwer and his muse, actress Franka Potente, "The...