From Argentina, this Oscar-nominated collection of six short, sharp stories leaves us gasping for breath due to both riotous black comedy and deeply unnerving plot twists. Each segment is about people who are pushed beyond the tipping point, finding revenge in an unexpected way that feels both deeply horrifying and disturbingly satisfying. And even though it sometimes veers wildly close to being over-the-top, the film is written, directed and played with such brutal honesty that it can't help but rattle us to the core.
The prologue is titled "Pasternak", set on an airplane on which passengers are surprised to find out that they all have a connection to Gabriel Pasternak. But what does he have in store for them all? Next is "The Rats", set in a roadside diner where waitress Moza (Julieta Zylberberg) is unnerved to serve a loan shark (Cesar Bordon) who destroyed her family. The chef (Rita Cortese) thinks she should poison his food. "The Strongest" follows Diego (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a wealthy man driving his shiny car down a highway when he comes up to Mario (Walter Donado) hogging the road with his rattling clunker. Passing him with a volley of obscenities, Diego is then horrified when he has a flat tyre and knows who's coming down the road behind him.
The fourth clip is "Little Bomb", about demolition expert Simon (Ricardo Darin), who engages the city's bureaucrats in a quickly escalating war when his car is erroneously towed for parking illegally. "The Proposal" is the most cerebral segment, centring on a wealthy man (Oscar Martinez) trying to clear his teen son (Alan Daicz), who has just run down a pregnant woman in the street. The idea is to find a scapegoat. And in "Until Death Parts Us", a bride (Erica Rivas) discovers in the middle of their marriage reception that her new husband (Diego Gentile) has been cheating on her. Her reaction is neither calm nor measured.
Continue reading: Wild Tales Review
Revenge is a human beast that may consume even the most morally righteous of men and women in the world. It has no understanding of perspective and may sometimes lead people to commit outrageous crimes, all in the understanding of 'an eye for an eye'. In six intertwined stories, the theme of vengeance is explored: 'Pasternak' sees a man luring those who have wronged him onto a plane, 'The Rats' sees a chef carry out an act of revenge on behalf of his waitress, 'The Strongest' is road rage at its most intense, 'Little Bomb' is about an explosives expert who lands himself a parking ticket, 'The Proposal' describes a manipulated hit-and-run court case and 'Until Death Do Us Part' features probably the most traumatic wedding reception imaginable.
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When a couple discuss a mutual acquaintance, Gabriel Pasternak, on an aeroplane, they are surprised when the woman in the row in front of them turns around to interrupt their conversation. She happened to be Pasternak's teacher at elementary school, and remembers that he had screamed and cried when she had been forced to hold him back a year. She is then interrupted herself by an old student that also knew Pasternak and also happens to be on the plane. When a manager from Home Depot arises from a seat a few rows behind and announces that he used to employ Pasternak, someone asks if anyone else knew the mysterious figure. Everyone replies that they have.
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Tom (Murphy) is a physicist who works with psychologist Margaret (Weaver) to expose fake psychics. They don't believe that the supernatural exists, much to the annoyance of psychic studies proferssor Paul (Jones). Assisted by students Sally and Ben (Olsen and Roberts), Tom and Margaret debunk noted mentalist Palladino (Sbaraglia) by looking for "red lights", anything that seems suspicious. But when Margaret's old nemesis Simon (De Niro) makes a comeback, she backs down from going after the famed blind showman. And Tom's secret investigation takes some bizarre turns.
Continue reading: Red Lights Review
Two sceptics, psychologist Dr. Margaret Matheson and physicist Dr. Tom Buckley, are partners in investigating the paranormal. Having exposed a mass of so-called psychics, mediums, faith healers and ghost hunters throughout their career by discovering 'red lights' (clues to how the deceptions are engineered), Buckley wants to turn his attention to the most celebrated psychic of all time, the blind and mystifying Simon Silver, when he comes out of his 30 year retirement. Matheson is quick to dismiss Buckley's case telling him that he doesn't need to be investigated as he was already investigated prior to his retirement. However, the real reason is that she suspects he was behind the death of his most notable critic all those years ago. Buckley ignores Matheson's warnings and enlists his talented student Sally to help him with his investigations, but soon things start to take a sinister turn as Silver becomes increasingly angered at the people questioning his mysterious powers.
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The city in question is Paris, where Max, the family patriarch and owner of a large pharmaceutical company, has traveled from Madrid seeking treatment for a tumor that has left him slightly demented and close to death. By his side is his wife Marie (the formidable Geraldine Chaplin, as thin and cold as an icicle), who clearly has something dark on her mind. She's joined by her three sons, Luis (Roberto Alvarez), Alberto (Alex Casanovas), and the youngest, Victor (Leonardo Sbaraglia), who flies in from Argentina with his girlfriend (Leticia Bredice) for what may be Max's death watch.
Continue reading: The City Of No Limits Review
Aleandro is at the heart of the 2003 Argentinean film Cleopatra, and her quirky charm carries the film. The story follows her adventures after a chance encounter puts her in the company of a much younger and very beautiful television star named Sandra (Natalia Oreiro); Sandra is fed up with her producer/boyfriend, who's more obsessed with Sandra's career than with Sandra herself, and Cleo is fed up with her husband, who's given up on life following the loss of his job. Together the two embark on their own journey of self-discovery, taking off into the Argentinean hinterlands without notice and without a plan.
Continue reading: Cleopatra (2003) Review
However, some gamblers risk more than just pocket change. Some even risk their lives. Does anyone want to play a game in which the players run full-speed through a heavily wooded forest handcuffed and blindfolded, and whoever doesn't smash his or her face into a tree takes the prize? Or how about a reverse game of Russian roulette in which there is only one empty chamber in the loaded revolver? The gamblers in Intacto participate in these games and others so amazingly outrageous they belong in Jackass.
Continue reading: Intacto Review
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