Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

Mini-review: Siberia

The bromance between director Abel Ferrara and Willem Dafoe has reached its zenith with their latest collaboration. Each year for the last three in June I’ve watched Dafoe play a man adrift. In Pasolini he was the noted director wandering through Rome right up to his death. In Tommaso he was Ferrara’s stand-in, rambling around Rome again as his marriage crumbles and he struggles with his latest film. This time he’s a man hiding out in Siberia roaming through his own mental landscape to try and find himself. As with the previous films, there’s not much of a clear story line, just a series of scenes that you can arrange into a story of your choosing. I wish I’d chosen to turn it off sooner.

Review: Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It

EGOT*. If you know what that is, you may also be aware of Rita Moreno’s body of work. This film about her is a fairly straightforward tribute documentary, with talking heads and film clips, but the woman who emerges is so impressive. At the ripe old age of 89 (87 in the film), she’s still going strong, still fighting for representation, still acting and being her feisty self. But what Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It does beyond going over her extraordinary career in film, and stage, and television, is shine a bright light on the obstacles put in her way at every single step and her indomitable passion to be seen. I knew her name and have seen some of her work, but listening to her talk candidly about her life gave me a whole other level of appreciation for her.

Review: Les Nôtres

In the small town of Sainte-Adeline, Quebec, 13-year-old Magalie (Émilie Bierre) seems like the quintessential teenager – sullen, social media addicted, smitten with a secret boyfriend she won’t even tell her closest friends much about. But her life changes dramatically when it is discovered that she’s pregnant, and pretty far along at that. Suddenly she’s slut shamed by everyone at school, and her single mother is at wit’s end, especially because Magalie refuses to reveal the father’s name. And soon everyone is pretty certain that it’s her friend Manu (Léon Diconca Pelletier) who lives across the street with his parents,  Jean-Marc (Paul Doucet) the popular mayor of the town and his wife Chantal (Judith Baribeau). But it isn’t what it appears to be at all.

Review: Take Me Somewhere Nice

First time writer/director Ena Sendijarević is a Bosnian refugee raised in Holland and her coming-of-age road trip movie is informed by that detached perspective. It’s the story of Alma (Sara Luna Zoric), still a teen, but already grappling with womanhood. She’s a Dutch Bosnian who heads back to her homeland to see the father she never knew who’s in the hospital dying. She’s counting on her cousin Emir (Ernad Prnjavorac) to help her out, but he’s got other things to do, sort of. However, his friend Denis (Lazar Dragojevic) takes an immediate interest in her, up to a point. But when neither of them will take her to see her father she hops a bus, but gets left at a rest stop, losing her suitcase and her money. And she suddenly becomes dependent on the kindness of Bosnian strangers. And as she faces one debacle after another she moves closer and closer to finding herself.

Review: La Dosis (The Dose)

Back in 2012, there was a big news story about a couple of Uruguayan nurses who euthanized a lot of hospital patients. Inspired by that story Argentinian director Martin Kraut in his feature debut has fashioned an entertaining psychological thriller that centers on the rivalry between a senior and a junior nurse in a small hospital’s ICU, both playing God with the people they’re supposed to be taking care of. They couldn’t be more different in their personalities and motives though. And once they’ve each discovered the other’s proclivity, their game of wits threatens to kill one of them.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 14

This week I chose films from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 90s, and 00s. Two are from the same director. They take place in Rome and Paris and Berlin and Tokyo and Washington. Several of them are considered to be the greatest films of their genres. There’s comedy, political satire, civil unrest, a hitman double-cross, and what we do for those we love is a recurring theme.

This week’s films are:

 Bicycle Thieves,  Dr. Strangelove,  Lost in Translation,  Run Lola Run,  La Haine,  Le Samourai, and  Umberto D.

Review: Undine

This romantic drama from director Christian Petzold reunties actors Paula Beer (Franz) and Franz Rogowski who starred together in his film Transit a couple of years ago. She plays Undine, a historian in a Berlin museum who lectures select audiences about the city’s urban design. He’s Christoph, a commercial diver who meets her just after she’s been dumped by her current boyfriend (Jacob Matschenz, “Charité”) who she’s told, “If you leave me, I’ll have to kill you.” In a well-known European folk tale, Undine is a water nymph who who becomes human when she falls in love with a man but has to kill him and return to the deep if he is unfaithful to her. In the film, Undine slowly reveals her true self through a beautiful and bittersweet fantasy-tinged love story.

Review: Two Lottery Tickets

This little comedy is one of the biggest box office hits of all time in its native Romania. And it’s easy to see why. It’s the story of three friends who buy a couple of lottery tickets and hit it big. Six million euros big! Only wrinkle in their millionaire dream is that the one keeping the tickets is robbed. And that kicks the trio into gear to track down the thieves before they cash in. What follows is a humorous buddy odyssey that revels in the absurdity of modern Romanian society.

Review: Drunk Bus

Slacker comedies aren’t usually my thing. So I approached this little indie with a dose of skepticism about being its target audience. But it’s not at all what I feared. It’s a heartwarming flick about an odd couple comprised of a recently graduated artist who’s pining for his lost girlfriend while driving a campus bus at night, and a heavily tattooed Samoan bodyguard who is hired to ride along with him after the kids on the bus get too rowdy, while offering him advice on how to move on with his life. Fortunately the script doesn’t go exactly where you’d expect from that setup.

Quickie Review: Emily @ the Edge of Chaos

Looking for something funny and quirky and thought provoking? This live performance documentary by the late stand-up performer Emily Levine will keep you laughing and scratching your head for all its 61 minutes.  It’s a hard one to describe. She’s telling jokes and stories, but relating everything in the world to the physics that controls the entire cosmos. Animated scientist characters voiced by John Lithgow, Lily Tomlin, Leonard Nimoy and others add to the fun. Her stories about her life and an illness that robbed her for a time of the wit and intelligence plainly on display here are an entré into her view that we are in the midst of a huge paradigm shift. It’s a lot to take in, but entirely fascinating!