This Week’s Films (03/08/14)

London River

Billy Bathgate (1991)Billy Bathgate

Two-time Academy Award(R)-winner Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor — KRAMER VS. KRAMER, 1979; RAIN MAN, 1988) stars in the action-packed gangster epic detailing the rise and fall of notorious mobster Dutch Schultz as seen through the eyes of his young protege, Billy Bathgate. Billy, an ambitious streetwise kid seduced by the power, money, and glamour of crime, soon begins to seriously question if his passport to the good life is going to come from the fiery Dutch and his gang! Critically acclaimed and co-starring Bruce Willis (ARMEGEDDON) and Nicole Kidman (MOULIN ROUGE), BILLY BATHGATE delivers motion picture excitement you won’t want to miss!

Verdict: 5/10

HadewicjhHadewijch (2009)

Céline, a theology student, takes the name of Hadewijch, a 13th century mystic from Brabant, as her name for her novitiate. But shocked by the blind, ecstatic faith of Hadewijch, the mother superior tells her she must leave the convent and find her vocation in the world. Hadewijch once again becomes Céline, 20, the daughter of a French minister. She meets Yassine, a North African from the banlieues, who introduces her to his brother Nassir, a committed Muslim and religious instructor. Her passionate love of God and her despair at God’s invisibility, her rage, and her desire for self-sacrifice lead her, between grace and madness, off along dangerous paths.

Verdict: 8/10

Restless (2011)Restless

From acclaimed director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) comes a quirky, coming-of-age love story between a young man (Henry Hopper) who has given up on life and a beautiful, charming young girl (Mia Wasikowska) who possesses a deep-felt love of life and the natural world. When these two outsiders chance to meet at a funeral, they find an unexpected common ground in their unique experiences of the world. Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard and Gus Van Sant.

Verdict: 6/10

A Belfast StoryA Belfast Story (2013)

What is peace? Is it when the bullets stop or the wounds heal? A Belfast Story explores life after terrorism. Set in a city which has weathered hundreds of years of hatred, 30 years of bombs, and a war without winners, just victims. A new era brings new risks. There is peace, but that can also be deadly. Colm Meaney stars as a man weary of doing right. Times are changing, car bombs are less common and terrorists find themselves out of work, but old habits die hard. And while most go quietly into the night, he must find the few who won t comply. Haunted by his own past failures, he knows that he may only get one last chance to repeat the same mistake, and this time, the blood will be on his hands. When a series of murders awaken dormant memories, many fear the worst. A greying assassin has stopped walking his son to school, purely precautionary. And his old comrades are also refusing to die gracefully. Someone is laying plans for the future, but first they must secure the present. Gripping characters, fiercely intelligent action, and deadly consequences, A Belfast Story is a film about the passing of a way of life and the dangers that brings, because in Ireland, someone always has to buy the last round.

Verdict: 6/10

Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002)Dracula

After garnering widespread acclaim with his mini-masterpiece THE HEART OF THE WORLD, red hot cult auteur Guy Maddin (THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD) has taken on the world’s most adapted horror tale and concocted his most original and ravishingly stylized cinematic creation yet. Beautifully transposing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s interpretation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire yarn from stage to screen, Maddin has forged a sumptuous, erotically charged feast of dance, drama and silent film techniques. The black-and-white, blood-red-punctured DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY is a Gothic grand guignol of the notorious Count and his bodice-ripped victims, fringed with the expressionistic strains of Gustav Mahler.

Verdict: 8/10

MeatballsMeatballs (1979)

Bill Murray is at his hilarious best in this classic comedy that’s ‘Animal House goes to summer camp’ – (Newsweek). Murray plays Tripper, the wisecracking, rule-bending head counselor at Camp North Star. Whether playing pranks on Camp North Star’s clueless director, wooing a female counselor, or scheming against the rich brats of a rival camp, Tripper delivers fun and mayhem in a laugh-filled summer his campers will remember forever!

Verdict: 5/10

A Bug’s Life (1998)A Bug's Life

Journey inside the world of bugs in this Epic of miniature proportions. Crawling with imaginative characters, hilarious laughs and colorful animation, Walt Disney Pictures’ Presentation of A Pixar Animation Studios Film, A BUG’S LIFE, will “delight everyone — young, old or six-legged.” (People Magazine). In this 2-disc set you’ll step behind the scenes for a look at the innovation and teamwork that resulted in this ingenious film. Loaded with bonus features — including animation not seen in theaters, abandoned sequences and multiple surprises — A BUG’S LIFE COLLECTOR’S EDITION offers something for everyone from families to film lovers!

Verdict: 7/10

A SecretA Secret (2007)

A 15-year-old boy unearths a shocking family secret.

Verdict: 8/10

Krull (1983)Krull

When an evil beast captures his new bride, a brave prince embarks on an adventure-packed quest to save her.

Verdict: 4/10

LourdesLourdes (2009)

A wheelchair-bound young woman makes a pilgrimage to Lourdes in hope of finding a cure at the sacred site.

Verdict: 7/10

Guilty of Romance (2011)Guilty of Romance

Japanese cinema’s enfant terrible Sono Sion takes audiences on a perverse journey into the darkest corners of Tokyo with Guilty of Romance. Like Love Exposure and Cold Fish before it, Guilty of Romance is inspired by a real-life crime, a murder committed in the love hotel district of Shibuya. From there, Sono concocted an epic exploration of sexuality and depravity surrounding the lives of three women – the repressed wife of a famous author, a university professor with a secret life, and the detective assigned to investigate a grisly murder. The result is a twisted and disturbing black comedy-thriller that could only come from the mind of Sono Sion. A dead body has been found in a run-down building in Shibuya’s love hotel district, and police detective Kazuko (Mizuno Miki) has been assigned to the case. From the clues left behind, the cops begin to suspect the body is that of Izumi (Kagurazaka Megumi), the wife of a respected novelist. Repressed by her husband to be an obedient wife, Izumi tastes freedom for the first time when she decides to take a part-time job and is scouted to star in an adult film. Her sexual liberation is taken to extremes when she meets Mitsuko (Togashi Makoto), a professor of literature who also moonlights as a prostitute at night. Over the course of the investigation, the happily married Kazuko also seems to be hiding a perverse secret life of her own…

Verdict: 8/10

Terror 2000Terror 2000 (1994)

Just as there are wide-angle lenses and wide-spray shotgun shells, there are broadly aimed spoofs, and this is one of them. Left, right, neo-Nazis and do-gooders all come in for brickbats in this equal-opportunity slam. Even the reunification of Germany falls under the category of “tasteless modern inventions.” In the story, a secret service agent and his female partner are given the job of investigating the murder of some people seeking political asylum in Germany. In the vision of the world that emerges while they chase the very baddest bad guys, the powerless enjoy being messed with by bullies and rapists, and mental health is a nonsensical idea. This dark, nihilistic view of life reportedly suited this film’s largely teen male target audience to a “t,” but more sensitive sorts (almost anyone else) is liable to find it offensive. Nonetheless, this is a fast-paced, expertly made thriller in addition to being a spoof, and it can readily be appreciated on that level.

Verdict: 5/10

London River (2009)London River

Set against the backdrop of the July 7th terrorist attacks in 2005, LONDON RIVER follows Elizabeth (BAFTA winner, Academy Award® nominee Brenda Blethyn) from a small farming community in Guernsey as she travels to London in the immediate aftermath of the bombings after failing to hear from her daughter. Elizabeth is disturbed by the confusion of the metropolis and above all, by the predominantly Muslim neighborhood where her daughter lived. Her fear and prejudice escalate when she discovers her daughter was converting to Islam as she keeps crossing paths with Ousmane (Berlin’s Silver Bear winner, Sotigui Kouyaté), a West African who has come from France to find his missing son. Although they come from very different backgrounds, Elizabeth and Ousmane share the same hope of finding their children alive. Putting aside their cultural differences, they give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith in humanity.

Verdict: 8/10

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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