Monthly Archives: February 2010


The Athlete – 5

2010-02-13T21:40:19+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

A noble effort to tell the important story of a great African athlete, Abebe Bikila. The exciting parts, however, came from archival footage of his two Olympic victories. The movie’s focus, instead, seemed to be on his efforts to compete, after a car accident as a paraplegic, as an archer and dog-sled racer – neither [...]

Aguas Verdes (Green Water) – 7

2010-02-13T21:39:30+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

Nigel Gilchrist, noted travel writer in dialogue at the SB Museum on Thursday, pointed out how important travel was to the understanding of art: one should experience of the theatricality of everyday life in Rome to appreciate the works of Caravaggio, Bernini, et al. The same can be said for the cinema, and our recent [...]

The Elephant in the Living Room – 1

2010-02-13T21:38:38+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

A poor excuse of a documentary, it purported to focus on a national issue – the proliferation of dangerous exotics in the wild, let loose by pet owners – but it kept coming back to one public safety officer from Ohio and a very sad man who was deeply attached to his two lions, not [...]

Learning from Light – 5

2010-02-13T21:37:49+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

More a promotion piece for the Islamic Museum of Qatar, this “documentary” had no modulation, no drama, no perspective and raised more questions than it answered about this project. For starters, how was I.M. Pei selected? Were there any concerns about entrusting this to an architect who would be 91 years old before it was [...]

Still Walking – 8

2010-02-13T21:37:04+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

A lovely and endearing portrait of a Japanese family, told with the quiet grace seemingly unique to Japanese filmmakers (although the French A Christmas Tale from last year was similar in many ways). Each character was allowed to develop his or her personality onscreen, and each character had weak points and some strong ones. No [...]

Mother – 4

2010-02-13T21:36:19+00:00February 13th, 2010|Reviews|

Two hours of watching a very annoying Korean mother trying to protect her mildly retarded son from a murder charge. There was nothing unduly offensive about the story; I just got tired, very early on, of seeing her continually pained, frantic expression on the screen. [SBIFF]

Top Ten Movies 2009

2010-02-09T11:27:26+00:00February 9th, 2010|Essays|

      “Gritty” is the word that comes to mind when I think of the movies that made the greatest impact on 2009 for me. I can still feel the Iraqi sand coating my body when I think of The Hurt Locker, the only film in my top 5 that is also garnering critics’ awards, but [...]

Bran Nue Dae – 6

2010-02-09T11:13:00+00:00February 9th, 2010|Reviews|

A cute Aboriginal musical, with many sweet touches and pleasant songs, rather in the spirit of Rocky Horror. Its pedigree as a stage musical was quite obvious, and it would have been more convincing in that venue, I’m sure. (Similarly, the Spike Lee film of Passing Strange, which I saw on Public TV recently, had [...]

Crazy Heart – 7

2010-02-09T11:12:50+00:00February 9th, 2010|Reviews|

Good music brings so much to a movie, and the original songs by T Bone Burnett and Scott Bruton carried this sucker, along with a bravura, Oscar-worthy performance by…Maggie Gyllenhaal. Jeff Bridges, who is getting so much acclaim, is fine, but I didn’t see a lot of challenge in the role. Without the music, it’s [...]

Broken Embraces – 7

2010-02-09T11:04:32+00:00February 9th, 2010|Reviews|

An expression of a sensibility, best described as “Almodovar.” The plot intrigues, then fizzles to a ‘huh’ ending, leaving us with the many guises of Penelope Cruz – not so realistic or compelling as, say, in Volver. In a movie about a movie about a movie, artifice is inevitable and may be the point. It’s [...]