Gerry Devine is faced with a dilemma after suffering two personal tragedies; his brother drowned near his home in Singapore and the mother of his child has been unfaithful in their marriage at home in London. The tiny but beautiful Far Eastern country offers him an idyllic escape and chance to start his life over when he ventures there to deal with his brother's business, an Irish bar called Mister Johns. Surrounded by a stunning landscape and desirable women, there's a large part of him that wants to remain, comforted by his attractive sister-in-law Kim. However, as he manages to get himself into some trouble and his wife continues to call him, miserable in his absence and desperately worried about their daughter, Gerry struggles to find the right path as his grief blurs his concept of what he believes is right and wrong.
Continue: Mister John Trailer
After Love and Faith, Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl takes a gentler approach to explore hope, although the film is equally unsettling. This is an inventive look at the conflicting desires and aspirations of teens and adults, and as it dips into areas that are deeply inappropriate, it turns memorably provocative.
While her mother is in Kenya on holiday (see Love), Melli (Lenz) is staying with her religious aunt (see Faith), who sends her to a summer diet camp for overweight teens. The fitness programme is run by a disciplinarian coach (Thomas) and strict nutritionist (Bartsch) who put the kids through their paces. But it's the camp's middle-aged doctor (Lorenz) who catches Melli's attention. As he monitors her health, she starts to flirt with him. And he flirts back. She's encouraged to keep going by her new friend Verena (Lehbauer), who's much more experienced with men and helps Melli sneak out for a trip to a local bar to meet a few more.
Seidl's filmmaking approach is observational rather than plot-driven. And watching this awkward interaction is often very funny, although we feel a bit guilty about laughing at it. Especially as the film quietly and astutely explores the characters' deep yearning for connection with other people, including of course the potent curiosity every adolescent feels about sex. It's hardly surprising that these kids have secret drunken parties, play spin the bottle and raid the kitchen for midnight snacks.
Continue reading: Paradise: Hope [Paradies: Hoffnung] Review
In 1990 Iraq, Saddam Hussein's son Uday (Cooper) is on a rampage of rape, torture and murder when he grabs his old school friend Latif Yahia (Cooper again) and forces him to become his stand-in. Latif isn't allowed to say no and, after extensive training and plastic surgery, plus the approval of Saddam (Quast), he becomes Uday's doppelganger. But he never hides his belief that Uday is a psychopath, even to his mentor Munem (Rawl). And he takes an even bigger risk when he falls for one of Uday's girls, Sarrab (Sagnier).
Continue reading: The Devil's Double Review
Of course, there's a plot you need to suffer through to marvel at the stunt casting, and it involves a presumably true story about Sinatra being wooed to visit Australia in 1974 by a two-bit promoter. Getting him Down Under is only half the fun. Once he arrives, Frank -- in his inimitable way -- insults a reporter (Portia de Rossi) by calling her a whore. Aussie's native sons rise to defend her, and over 100 unions go on strike to ensure Frank won't be able to eat, drink, travel, or take a shower -- much less perform on stage. Hilarity ensues as our promoter friend (Joel Edgerton) tries to patch things back together, dealing with his own love life along the way.
Continue reading: All The Way Review
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