Category: "Foreign"

The Intouchables Review

I can’t count the number of acclaimed foreign films centered on characters who cannot mobilize half or all their limbs on one hand—if you’ll excuse the awkward phrasing. “The Intouchables” appears to be just another one of those bizarre common niche films, and in many ways it boils down to just that. But with memorable, […]

read more

The Raid: Redemption Review

The martial arts showcase movie, completely pure and unapologetic, has become a lost genre it seems. If nothing else, director Gareth Evans uses “The Raid: Redemption” to bring pencak silat to audiences all over the world in this manner, but he also manages to create an action movie that satisfyingly merges B-movie violence with a […]

read more

Archive Review: Let the Right One In (2008)

My review of this foreign horror film comes from Halloween 2010. Foreign language films lose out on a wider audience for two reasons: limited distribution and subtitles. Most audiences view subtitles as a hurdle to their enjoyment of a film, but regardless of whether that’s a founded argument, it’s inconsequential for “Let the Right One […]

read more

On DVD: 13 Assassins

Samurai films tend to lean toward either overly talkative and boring or hyper-stylized to the point that credibility comes into question. Striking that middle ground, however, can lead to greatness, or rather — great honor. Takashi Miike’s “13 Assassins” might not match the great Akira Kurosawa films, but boy does it come close, and it […]

read more

Archive Review: Dogtooth (2009)

Think your parents are/were overprotective? Not after “Dogtooth.” Giorgos Lanthimos’ film, the first Greek film to be nominated for an Oscar in more than 30 years, imagines the pinnacle of what sheltering and censorship of children would be like to an absurd degree. A strange and ruminating film that is as fascinating as it is […]

read more

Archive Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

What a seemingly insurmountable task to adapt and execute the multiple story lines and brimming detail of Stieg Larsson’s novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Despite all the slicing and dicing (yet still a two-and-half-hour run time), credit belongs to this Swedish filmmaking team for still managing to replicate the novel’s extraordinary pacing.

read more

Archive Review: Through A Glass Darkly (1961)

“Through A Glass Darkly” begins the trilogy of Ingmar Bergman films dedicated to wrestling with God and faith. Different from the Bergman classics before it (“The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries”), “Darkly” is a much more intimate confrontation of life’s toughest questions, holding itself to a cast of four: three of whom are immediately family […]

read more

Archive Review: Le Diner de Cons (1998)

Wonder where on earth the idea for “Dinner for Schmucks” came from? Well, it’s this little French farce called “Le Diner de Cons” a.k.a. “The Dinner Game.” The two films are far different from one another based on having seen this film and the trailers for “Schmucks,” but both revolve around a business dinner where men […]

read more

Archive Review: The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Holocaust has been revisited in film so many times that I imagine the first thing German-born film actors ask themselves upon meeting is “which film(s) were you a Nazi in?” The crimes of the Nazi Party and the German soldiers carrying out its mission to revive Germany through the mass killing of Jews and […]

read more

Archive Review: Hable Con Ella (2002)

Pedro Almodovar’s “Hable Con Ella” is a great film but one that’s hard to diagnose. Foremost it’s a love story, one that explores unreciprocated love in the sense that two women are in a coma and the film is about the men who love them. But it also explores that idea more figuratively because the […]

read more

Archive Review: 8 1/2 (1963)

For those of you considering Nine as your Christmas weekend movie, here’s a little insight into where it came from, “8 1/2″ by Federico Fellini. There are many different ways to look at Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, “8 1/2,” and the one you choose ultimately determines how well you understand and enjoy the film. There are […]

read more

Archive Review: Amores Perros (2000)

“Amores Perros” is a three-vignette film that’s not so much concerned about creating a harmonic epiphany among its three plot lines, but rather it aims for compelling stories with a brutally honest portrayal of life, love, sin and redemption. Getting a unified message out of the film is about as difficult as translating its title. […]

read more

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema ’09 Review: Shiva

All families are different and maybe that’s the hardest thing to keep in mind when watching tension mount and drama unfold in Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s “Shiva.” We mourn and handle loss both personally and collectively in different ways and even if we think we wouldn’t ever let underlying issues between family members come out […]

read more

Archive Review: Wild Strawberries (1957) – 4/5 Stars

To compare “Wild Strawberries” to a story that’s a bit more grounded (yet still part fantasy), what instantly comes to mind is “A Christmas Carol.” Though that classic is much more exaggerated, it shares that reflective spirit, sense of personal regret and un-fulfillment and the desire to make amends. The difference is that in “Wild […]

read more

Archive Review: Waltz with Bashir (2008)

There’s very little gutsier film-making than creating an animated war documentary. Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s genre blend is exactly what makes “Waltz with Bashir” a stand-out film, one made with every intention of frightening producers in concept and spitting in Hollywood’s face with its quality. The challenge of every war film is to illuminate a […]

read more