Michael Weber

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Premiere Of 'The Fault in Our Stars'

Michael Weber and Screenwriter - Premiere of 'The Fault in Our Stars' at the Ziegfeld Theater - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 2nd June 2014

Michael Weber and Screenwriter

Jerichow Review


Good
Unable to spare a few extra bucks for a bottle of liquor and a pack of cigarettes, Thomas (Benno Fürmann) is heading home with the bare essentials in groceries when he witnesses a car swerving off-road and onto the banks of a river. Coming up to the scene, he finds the driver, drunk and bloodied, who asks him to help get the car back on the road. Thomas covers for the driver, whose name we find out is Ali (Hilmi Sözer), when a cop threatens to suspend his license and a few days later, Ali offers him a job. It seems like a godsend, seeing as Thomas' only other choice is earning small bills as a cucumber harvester. That is until Laura (Nina Hoss), Ali's wife, enters the picture.

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

Into Great Silence Review


Excellent
Out of all the moments of transcendental splendor that are on display in Philip Gröning's momentous Into Great Silence, there is one image that sticks out. After nearly three hours of praying, cooking, upkeep and bell-tolling, the monks of the Grand Chartreuse monastery (of the Carthusian Order) go outside in the powdery snow and... go sledding on their shoes. Their childlike glee has the sheen of necessity and innocence rather than naïveté and gives resonance to the hefty quality to their simple way of life. In other words, the monks' priorities are such that sledding down the hill holds as much excitement and wonder as a shopping spree at the Apple Store gives the rest of humanity.

Gröning originally asked permission to make his film in 1984, and, expectedly, the monks of Grand Chartreuse said they would need to think it over. A little over a decade and a half later, the monks responded that Gröning could indeed come and film their way of life. Without any artificial light or crew, the filmmaker spent six months filming their existence in the mountains and hills of Grenoble, France. In general, their day-to-day life is little more than prayer, studies, and physical labor, punctuated by moments of eating and rare excursions to the surrounding slopes.

Continue reading: Into Great Silence Review

Caché Review


Weak
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

Caché Review


Weak
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

Michael Weber

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