THE FUTURE (Miranda July) ***
July’s second long-feature really exceeded my expectations: charming, touching and witty.
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (Liz Garbus) **
Docu about the world’s greatest chess player.
MAMA AFRICA (Mika Kaurismäki) ***
A great tribute to South African singer and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba.
HALT AUF FREIER STRECKE (Andreas Dresen) ***
An emotionally intense, dramatically compelling account of a dying man’s last months.
DECONSTRUCTING DAD (Stan Warnow) ***
An excellent exploration of the life of musician/inventor Raymond Scott by his son Stan Warnow.
POILET AUX PRUNES (Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronaud) **
A mix of live action and animation and a paper-thin plot.
ONE LIFE (Michael Gunton & Martha Holmes) **
A simple best of of the BBC Life series. What’s the deal?
THIS IS NOT A FILM (Jafar Panahi) **
This film follows a day in the life of Panahi while under house arrest for criticising the regime.
METROPOLIS (Fritz Lang) 0
1984 mutilation of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece from 1927 because of a horrible disco crap score by fuckin’ Giorgio Moroder. Ouch!
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin) **1/2
Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI (Takashi Miike) ***
A great but rather redundant remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 masterpiece.
MEDIANERAS (Gustavo Taretto) *
Buenos Aires-set love story that builds to the moment its central characters meet. Rather boring.
PUTTY HILL (Matthew Porterfield) *
Pretty difficult to like a documentary when the mutterings of the characters are hardly audible and even drowned out by background noises.
THREE AND A HALF (Naghi Nemati) **
Decent film about three women from Teheran who want to leave Iran.
ELENA (Andrei Zvyagintsev) *****
An impeccably controlled drama with a majestic score by Philip Glass. A stunning film.
JANE EYRE (Cary Joji Fukunaga) ***
An engaging BBC Films production based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte.
A LETTER TO ELIA (Kent Jones & Martin Scorcese) ***
A lyrical ode to Scorsese’s filmmaking idol Elia Kazan.
SKOONHEID (Oliver Hermanus) **1/2
South African director Oliver Hermanus portrays a conservative Afrikaner who permanently suppresses his homosexual feelings. Tough shit!
MILDRED PIERCE (Michael Curtiz) ****
Mildred Pierce (1945) is based on the novel by James M. Cain and has become a film noir classic.
MON PIRE CAUCHEMAR (Anne Fontaine) ***1/2
A wonderful French comedy featuring Isabelle Huppert, Benoît Poelvoorde and André Dussollier.
JESS + MOSS (Clay Jeter) **
A decent American low-budget indie.
LES NEIGES DU KILIMANDJARO (Robert Guédiguian) *
Maybe if I’m old and senile, I will like this kind of PC happy-go-lucky movies. I sincerely hope not.
E-LOVE (Anne Villacèque) 0
The worst French film I have seen in ages. “Inutile de se déranger” like the French say!
THE TURIN HORSE (Béla Tarr) ****
Still in a league of its own.
UFO IN HER EYES (Guo Xiaola) ***
This film manages to be both funny and touching. A Chinese director who uses an Aster Aweke track in her movie? Respect!
WEEKEND (Andrew Haigh) **
The problem with most gay movies is that they are of lesser interest for the non-gay. This one is pretty decent though.
BLEAK NIGHT (Sung-Hyun Yoon) ***
Interesting teen angst film by a 29-year old South Korean.
L’HIVER DERNIER (John Shank) **1/2
A promising debut by this Belgian director with North American roots although the film is too depressing and the end unconvincing.
BEYOND (Pernilla August) ***
A strong feature debut about domestic violence and alcoholism.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Lynne Ramsay) ***
A gripping story but the cinematography is too obvious which makes the film artificial and even caricturesque at times. Half a star extra for the soundtrack!
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (Ingmar Bergman) ****
Cinema version of a 1973 Swedish TV series that explores the disintegration of a marriage. Classic stuff!
THE MOUNTAIN (Ole Giæver) *1/2
An oversimplified film about two lesbians who are hiking the mountains to deal with the sudden death of their child. Disappointingly weak!
CIGÁN (Martin Šulík) ***
A charming and engaging gypsyfilm.
TOKYO KOEN (Shinji Aoyama) ***
Although chances are low that Aoyama will make another landmark film like EUREKA, his latest is an absorbing film based on a novel by Yukiya Shoji. Very Japanese both in style and content.
WU XIA (Peter Chan) ****
Fantastic action movie in the line of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. A must-see!
AUS DEM LEBEN DER MARIONETTEN (Ingmar Bergman) ****
Ingmar Bergman’s second German produktion from 1980. Down to the bone!
ECO-PIRATE: THE STORY OF PAUL WATSON (Trish Dolman) **1/2
An interesting docu about the radical ecologist Paul Watson who has been hunting whalers for over 30 years. Of little interest on the big screen though.
THE MAGIC TRIP (Alex Gibney, Alison Ellwood) *
If you wanna see an annoying bunch of pre-hippies driving a bus through the States, then this compilation of 16mm-shooting footage might be your thing. As far as I am concerned, I couldn’t care less about this “invaluable document of this extraordinary piece of American history”.
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (Tomas Alfredson) **
I always found John le Carré books food for nerds. So is this adaption of one of his espionage novels by Tomas ‘Let The Right One In’ Alfredson. The movie is getting rave reviews everywhere. I however found it old-fashioned and rather boring. But then again, whodunits ain’t my cup-of-tea.
CORMAN'S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL (Alex Stapleton) ***
An interesting docu on Roger Corman with great film excerpts and funny anecdotes. Amazing to hear that schlockmeister Corman handled the American distribution of films by Antonioni, Bergman and Fellini just because he really wanted people to see their great arthouse movies. Corman rules!
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) ****
Not a good idea to see Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest gem as a late-night screening because one has to be very alert of details during the movie's 157-minute running time. The thought of a second screening urges itself upon me because this is a unique film.
MISTÉRIOS DE LISBOA (Raul Ruiz)
After the screening of all 6 episodes of Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz latest and last film - the devastatingly beautiful Mystérios de Lisboa - I was eager tot see the 4,5 hours long-feature film version. Unfortunately, the TV-series suffers terribly from its “shortcut” as subplots become muddled and the whole film - especially the second part – feels very inconsistent. A real shame! Who needs a 4,5 hours feature film of this landmark TV-series anyway?