Posts tagged Foreign films
MOVIE REVIEW: Liquid Truth

The discolored and dingy tile grout at the bottom of a swimming pool and the imagery effect of rippling water seen under the surface bending the images above perspective starkly symbolize the many warped dimensions of Liquid Truth.  The truth in the title is as slippery as the water in director Caroline Jabor’s simmering social commentary.  The film may be foreign from Brazil, but it typifies all too many social media ills that would explode in a parallel fashion here in this country.

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MOVIE REVIEW: My Cousin Rachel

Roger Michell stiffens his upper lip from his Love, Actually and Notting Hill fare to tackle a costume drama with My Cousin Rachel.  Oddly enough, this film can stake a serendipitous claim as the second Michell-directed film about “kissing cousins” after Hyde Park on the Hudson.  Unfortunately, more than a little uncomfortable laughter of preposterousness pokes out of this film while trying to portray itself as flowing romantic drama.  That’s not going to sweep anyone.

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MOVIE REVIEW: I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake is unabashedly a “bleeding heart” film on literal and figurative levels.  If this was a Hollywood film, it would be overrun with shouted speeches and orchestrational swells trying to manufacture emotional peaks.  Fluff like that is unnecessary if you have the right poetic realism,  For Loach, that’s second hand and he picks the right soapbox placement and thickness.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Love, Lies

“Love, Lies” plays upon the decaying dichotomy orbiting the two women as they vie for love and validation against dignity and betrayal.  It’s impossible not to feel the emotions imbued into the punctuating moments of expression through song that fully embody the conflict and romantic encumbrances weighing on the characters.  The music is the vital and resonating fiber that unites the period atmosphere with the stirring portrayals of talent.

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MOVIE REVIEW: My Egg Boy

The trappings of “My Egg Boy” are firmly entrenched in melodrama, yet kissed with delightful fancy.  The strength is in the dynamic writing to weave practical magic with fertile imagination.  The romantic and symbolistic peaks and valleys built by Tien-Yu Fu are endlessly relatable even when characterized.  What begins as whimsy evolves quite affectingly to something rapturously heartfelt.

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Debt

2017 Chicago Irish Film Festival: Short Program II

Kids not only say the darndest things, but do the darndest things too.  “The Debt” is a highly charming short film illustrating a child’s view of courtship and love.  The romantic ways of the world are foreign to the young, so they make up their own ideas.  Engaging and well-acted by youth performers, this short film will charm you to pieces.

 

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MOVIE REVIEW: Julieta

Renowned Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar seizes our attention and lights the fires of intrigue with human simplicity in “Julieta,” his 20th feature film and Spain’s entry this year for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.  Concocting a brew of passion coupled with remorse across personal history young and old, Almodovar unspools the tangled threads of a guilt-ridden woman’s heart.  Adapted from three Alice Munro short stories, “Julieta” is a strong return to the female-focused storyscapes that have made him a legend.  

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Story of 90 Coins

"The Story of 90 Coins" is a microcosm of pure and modern young love that transfers in any language and is free of unnecessary cinematic obstacle courses that strain believability.  This short story is completely relatable and endearing melodrama in all its approachable beauty that succeeds in under 10 minutes to tug heartstrings and linger in your consciousness.  Don’t you dare call this an overlong greeting card, a miniature soap opera, or a expanded touchy-feely TV commercial.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete)

All eyes are on the hotly anticipated live-action "re-imagining" of Walt Disney Pictures' enormously successful "Beauty and the Beast" from 1991.  That March 2017 sure-fire blockbuster will garner tremendous attention in its attempt to honor the animated Best Picture Oscar nominee and double Academy Award winner.  In the meantime, the fairy tale's home country of France throws down its own gauntlet to give Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's 1740 original story and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's abridged 1756 standard the grand, epic big-screen treatment it warrants.  Let's just say the French sure know what they are doing.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Dough

If you take one look at the doctored-up theatrical poster for the independent film "Dough," you might get the impression of an absurd weed romp to come.  Very quickly within John Goldschmidt's film, you will see the depth behind the film's comedic costume.  For better or worse, "Dough" is a strong mentor-mentee film that just happens to have a special funny ingredient in its cooking that adds wrinkle and flavor.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: Marguerite

Do we all remember the infamy of William Hung from 2004?  You should.  Take William Hung, turn back the clock 80 years, and, here's the kicker, give him a judging audience that won't tell him he's bad.  If you can do that, you can step into the foreign film "Marguerite" from French director Xavier Giannoli playing now at the Landmark Theater locations in Lincoln Park and Highland Park.  Divided into five chapters, "Marguerite" is an immersive character study into a would-be singer's obsession with talent.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Wave

Plenty of disaster movies pretend to lean on real science to justify their cinematic ambitions in order to offer belief an audience can accept and exude some form of intelligence.  Too often, the manic energy to entertain exceeds the science and a two-hour turd polishing clinic results.  The decent ones can touch base with the right science and blend in the theatrics.  As long as you can stand subtitles and tray of cheese samples, you have a mild winner in "The Wave (Bolgen)" from Norway.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Assassin

"The Assassin," directed by Taiwan New Wave director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, is the latest and brightest wuxia film looking to make an international splash.  The film was an official Main Competition selection of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the awards for Best Director and the Soundtrack Award.  It is making the rounds of the international film festival circuit, including a recent Highlight selection bow at the 51st Chicago International Film Festival, and will represent Taiwan's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards this coming February. 

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CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: 10 must-see films of the 51st CIFF

Annually, the Chicago International Film Festival houses some of the first opportunities to Oscar contenders and world-class films.  With so many choices, what are the high-profile or can’t-miss films appearing at the year’s festival?  Here are this website’s picks for the top 10 must-see films of the 51st Chicago International Film Festival.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The New Girlfriend

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the most basic two-part definition of the word "identity" is "who someone is" and "the qualities, beliefs, etc. that make a particular person or group different from others."  That notion of identity speaks to both our distinguishing physical appearance and persona on the outside as well as our internal soul, thoughts, preferences, and desires.  In 2015, a captivating year where our own country has legalized same sex marriage and the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner set off shockwaves, our society is coming around to learning and understanding that not all identities fit into the usual two check-boxes of "male" and "female."  We are witnessing the emerging battle for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) equality right before our eyes.  

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