That said, the actors are all terrific, most notably the magnetic Rahim, through whose eyes we watch the events unfold. He beautifully plays Younes' quiet discovery of each layer of truth, from his initial carefree lawlessness to agreeing to help the authorities and ultimately to risking his life to save people he perhaps should be shunning. But the film beautifully points out that Islam isn't about hating the Jews: it's about respecting human life.And there's a lot more going on in the story. Strong subplots involving both Leila and Salim are only barely touched upon and could actually be expanded into much more engaging movies than this one. And this is a refreshingly restrained depiction of the Nazis. Sure, they're tenacious and inhuman, but they're also never vilified into cartoon villains, which subtly makes them even more chilling. And even if it lacks any real kick, the film is an important account of normal, flawed people doing what they can in terrible circumstances.
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Christian (Wilson) is the leader of a group of eight French monks living in a Catholic monastery in rural Algeria. Their only mission is to pray and serve the local people, and over the generations they have become an integral part of the community. When fundamentalist tensions spill into violence in the country around them, they have a difficult decision to make: abandon the people and flee home to France or stand up to the injustice. Opinions are split, but they opt to seek an answer together. And their decision could cost them their lives.
Continue reading: Of Gods And Men [Des Hommes Et Des Dieux] Review
In 4th century Alexandria, Hypatia (Weisz) is a noted philosopher who teaches at the famed library. But the world around her is changing, as Greek and Egyptian beliefs conflict with Christians and Jews. And with the Roman Empire gaining power, the Christians have the edge. As Hypatia continues to explore her far-advanced theories about the earth and the universe, she finds herself caught between two men who love her: loyal servant Davus (Minghella) and the civic leader Orestes (Isaac). And the fundamentalist Romans aren't happy with her radical thoughts.
Continue reading: Agora Review
Set in Alexandria in 391 A.D. Agora tells the story of the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia. Knowing her city's in dire turmoil and about to fall to new christian rule, the only safe haven was in the cities legendary library which was housed inside it's own walls.
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Her name is Vellini (Asia Argento). It's rumored she's the flamboyant progeny of an Italian priestess and a Spanish matador. She licks fresh blood off of gaping wounds. The ringlets of her hair resemble a heart turned on its head. It's said she can outstare the sun and the second you get your first glimpse at Argento laying on her canapé, you believe it sans aucun doute. Though he first casts her off as an "ugly mutt," the young playboy Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Aït Aattou) takes it as his task to possess this creature despite her blatant loathing of him. Eventually they exile themselves to Argentina and bear a daughter, only to see her die from the sting of a scorpion. Unchained and thrown into an abyss of grief, Argento's bellowing growl of despair could shred the very screen.
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That psychiatrist goes by the name Simon Kessler (the reliable Mathieu Amalric) and make no mistake, he's a bigger lunatic than any of the well-groomed Gucci tards that find their way into his office. At a bar nearby, he asks the luminous Louisa (Laetitia Spigarelli) to play the piano naked for him. He later discards her over a piece of corporate mail. In between these moments of lucid confusion, he finds time to interview perspective employees and catch quickies with a blonde pants-suit named Isabelle (Delphine Chuillot). It's when Kessler is asked by his boss, the perfectly-named Karl Rose (a potently-glacial Jean-Pierre Kalfon), to begin looking at SC Farb's CEO Mathias Jüst (the astounding Michael Lonsdale, who played Amalric's father in Munich) that the cerebral pistons begin firing.
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Ozon's story recounts the ill-fated union of Marion (Valerie Bruni Tedeschi) and Gilles (Stéphane Freiss), a wife and husband who, at film's start, are shown quietly finalizing their divorce in a drab office, their faces pained but stoic reflections of their relief, misery and nervousness over the end of their matrimony. Clearly indebted - in spirit if not in specifics - to Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (including Gilles' beard, a nod to Erland Josephson's), 5x2 (before heading back in time) subsequently moves from this depressing administrative locale to a furtive, desperate motel reunion between the newly single Marion and Gilles where attempts to rekindle the sexual fire ends in physical and emotional abuse. This powerhouse confrontation finds Bruni Tedeschi and Freiss, their forlorn eyes captured in close-up, expressing without words the callous selfishness, lack of communication, and physical and emotional detachment that doomed their relationship. And the scene ignites the film with a promise of eye-opening bombshells to come about the couple's dissolution via the ensuing backwards procession through a dinner party with Gilles' brother and his lover, Gilles' injurious cowardice during the birth of his son, their drunken wedding night, and their first encounter on a tropical beach.
Continue reading: 5x2 Review
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Hope that doesn't ruin anything for you,but you ought to be aware what you're getting into with Louis Malle's seminal work, Murmur of the Heart, often described as a "lighthearted" film and Malle's best work, particularly of the movies he made in his homeland of France.
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Opening with an extended scene of such dry divorce-relat=edlegalese that after a while it becomes almost funny (property division,child support, life insurance, taxes), "5x2" is another entirelyunique cinematic experience from writer-director Fran=E7ois Ozon.
The young filmmaker has a penchant for inventively tweaki=ngthe nose of whatever genre he's working in -- 2003's dark noir thriller In the first of five episodes going back through time,a drained-looking Marion and Gilles (Val=E9ria Bruni-Tedeschi and St=E9phaneFreiss) finalize their separation, then go to a hotel room for a last rompin bed that shows just how ugly their relationship has become. Later scenesallude to the infidelity, unreasonable demands, emotional disconnects andother turning points that are not immediately apparent to the charactersthemselves. Continue reading: 5x2 (In Subtitled French) Review
In the first of five episodes going back through time,a drained-looking Marion and Gilles (Val=E9ria Bruni-Tedeschi and St=E9phaneFreiss) finalize their separation, then go to a hotel room for a last rompin bed that shows just how ugly their relationship has become. Later scenesallude to the infidelity, unreasonable demands, emotional disconnects andother turning points that are not immediately apparent to the charactersthemselves.
Continue reading: 5x2 (In Subtitled French) Review
'Mindhorn' sees Julian Barratt as a former TV star who pretends to be a detective to nab a killer.
Iron Fist co-creator Roy Thomas 'tries not think' about the critics of the Netflix/Marvel series, because he has 'so little patience' for them.
In German-occupied Paris, Younes (Rahim) is a young Algerian who sells black-market goods to North...
With very little action, this film builds almost unbearable tension by carefully examining some moral...
Ambitious in scope, this film feels over-serious and oddly cold. Fans of historical dramas may...
Set in Alexandria in 391 A.D. Agora tells the story of the astronomer-philosopher Hypatia. Knowing...
After years of lascivious experiments and audience-bludgeoning anti-romances, French provocateur Catherine Breillat pulls an unexpectedly...
François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool) channels Ingmar Bergman rather than regular muses Alfred...
It's been a long, tough road watching Steven Spielberg grow up. Too often, the great...
Opening with an extended scene of such dry divorce-relat=edlegalese that after a while it becomes...