On Monday, an American (Hutcherson) moves to Havana to start film school, connecting with a friend (Cruz) who takes him for a night on the town. Tuesday, filmmaker Kusturica arrives to accept an award, then escapes to a jazz club with his driver (Abreu). Wednesday, a Spaniard (Bruhl) tries to recruit a Cuban singer (Estevez) to work in Europe, but her baseball-player boyfriend (Benitez) has other plans. Thursday, a Palestinian (Suleiman) struggles to make sense of the local culture. Friday, a teen (Herrera) is put through a ritual to cure her lesbian tendencies. Saturday, a woman (Ibarra) tries to hold her family together by working two high-pressure jobs. And Sunday, a woman (Amore) obeys the Virgin and gets her family to install a pond in her sitting room.
Continue reading: 7 Days In Havana Review
In 1849, we find ourselves on a French island colony near the Canadian coast, a cold and inhospitable land with few inhabitants. In a night of drunkenness, Auguste (Emir Kusturica) and his friend kill a local man. Auguste is sentenced to die. The only problem -- there's no guillotine on the island, and no executioner either.
Continue reading: The Widow Of Saint-Pierre Review
Whenever the plot of the movie feels rote (the thieves assemble their team, plan the robbery, carry out the robbery, and doublecross each other a couple of times along the way) the arresting images carry the day. Cinematographer Chris Menges (who recently shot another existential mystery, The Pledge) finds the right pace: active yet unhurried, kinetic yet wistful. With shadows that turn into lush purples, greens, blues, and all gradations of black, The Good Thief is intoxicating. Indeed, it might be Jordan's most visually stimulating movie, and one has to wonder if the cookie cutter nature of the script set him free to imagine new visual possibilities. Lovers of the visual image will find much to appreciate; plot-driven viewers will find very little to hang their hat on.
Continue reading: The Good Thief Review
Continue reading: Black Cat, White Cat Review
It's been a week since I saw "The Widow of St. Pierre," and I'm still a little frustrated with it.
I was effectively drawn in to the story, about the wife of a 19th Century French commandant who befriends a death row prisoner in her husband's charge and champions the cause of sparing his life. The story takes emotionally-hooking twists as -- while waiting for a guillotine to arrive from France so the man can be legally executed -- the people of the barren, wintry island of St. Pierre (apparently off the coast of Newfoundland) become so attached to the gentle criminal that no one is willing to act as his executioner.
As you can glean from the title, there are tragic results. What sticks in my craw is the fact that the blame rests with the widow herself (played with poignant, fervent, impulsive intensity by Juliette Binoche). Not that I can blame her. She finds herself in a terrible spot.
Continue reading: The Widow Of St Pierre (La Veuve De Saint-Pierre) Review
There's a sad, compulsive, edge-of-the-abyss desperation to Nick Nolte's intuitive and informed performance as Bob, the heroin-addicted ex-filch and professional gambler title character of Neil Jordan's "The Good Thief."
There's a strung-out savoir-faire to his addiction-driven way of life in the underbelly of beautiful Nice in the South of France. He's sleep-deprived (it shows in his eyes and in his mumbled speech). He's broke (but that changes from day to day). He's a washout (and he's OK with that). But he's also cagey, cunning, collected and quick-witted enough to recognize an opportunity too good to pass up.
So when Raoul (Gerard Darmon), his most trusted compatriot from his days as a crook, comes to him with a plan for an almost impossibly elaborate heist worth tens of millions of dollars, Bob seizes the opportunity to trade in his drug addiction for the more stimulating high of gambling with danger, excitement, prison and potential wealth.
Continue reading: The Good Thief Review
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There's a sad, compulsive, edge-of-the-abyss desperation to Nick Nolte's intuitive and informed performance as Bob,...