Currently Browsing: Reviews: B-D

Film Review: CLOSE TO HOME

Israeli girls, still in their teens, begin military service in the Jerusalem Border Patrol, where adolescent pranks play out in the most serious of contexts. Powerful story doesn’t quite come together & awards from ’06 Berlin FF may not be for the right reasons, but definitely thought-provoking on many levels. More on CLOSE TO HOME.

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Film Review: CLOCKWATCHERS

Sly, inventive dramedy about life in a corporate office tower told from the perspective of 4 clerical temps. The problem is that such close attention to boredom gets… well… a bit boring. But Collette’s very good as the main mouthpiece for the Sprecher sisters, who’ve clearly walked this talk personally. More on CLOCKWATCHERS.

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Film Review: CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD

Matlin enters the pantheon of stars who met Oscar on their debut. Hurt is a well-intentioned teacher at a school for the deaf shaken out of his personal & professional complacency by a ferocious young woman whose world of silence is both her prison & her palace. More on CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD.

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Film Review: CAPTIVES

This is a dark, obsessive tale of loneliness/lust/love set in a British prison. Tim Roth is a surprisingly charismatic, albeit unconventional “leading man.” And Julia Ormond proves once again that she’s better at brooding than pretending to be winsome in sunny comedies like her ill-fated SABRINA remake. More on CAPTIVES.

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Film Review: BROTHERS

Captured by Afghani mujahideen, Danish major is rescued after his family’s been told that he’s dead. Film masterfully counterpoints their grief with his fight for survival, then depicts the consequences of his return. Extraordinary acting ensemble: Nielsen = wife, Thomsen = major, Kaas = younger brother raised in major’s shadow. More on BROTHERS.

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Film Review: BROKEN ENGLISH

30something Manhattanite (Posey) surprises herself by chasing a young man home to Paris after a brief post-party fling. Maybe she’s ready for romance after all? Rich felt he understood “Nora” & empathized with her anxious reticence, but even though “Julien” (Poupaud) was adorable, Jan never fully bought into it. More on BROKEN ENGLISH.

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Film Review: BRIDE & PREJUDICE

Deliberately “cheeky” melding of Jane Austen & Bollywood moves briskly thru essential plot elements while lingering lovingly over riotously-colorful dance numbers. Rai’s the self-possessed Indian “Elizabeth Bennett” & Henderson’s the peevish American “Darcy.” Babbar’s hilarious as Mom & so’s Ganatra as “Mr. Collins.” Caution: Film’s not over till Harvey arrives!!! More on BRIDE & PREJUDICE.

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Film Review: BOYS DON’T CRY

The acting in this film is so compelling that you simply see the lead character the way she sees herself. The director creates such a complete world that the truth of this “true story” resonates deep in the heart. Brandon is every “misfit” who ever struggled for acceptance. More on BOYS DON’T CRY.

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Film Review: BORN INTO BROTHELS

Award-winning documentary about the children of Calcutta’s neighborhood sex workers compellingly blurs the line between art & empathy. The 8 kids at the center of the film are all bright-eyed & engaging. While teaching them about photography, Briski also tries to convince their mothers to send them to school. More on BORN INTO BROTHELS.

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Film Review: BLUE STEEL

Early effort from director Kathryn Bigelow. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as a rookie cop who becomes the object of obsession of a vicious killer played to chilling effect by Ron Silver. Dark, tense, & thoroughly frightening. More on BLUE STEEL.

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Film Review: BLUE CAR

Teenage girl slides inexorably into a sexual relationship with her teacher. An important story which deserves to be well told, but in this case everything is off. The actors all have so much integrity that you want to believe the story, but it’s burdened with excessive melodrama & manipulative “coincidences.” More on BLUE CAR.

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Film Review: BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM

Put LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, BLUE CRUSH & MONSOON WEDDING into a blender & out comes this multi-cultural feminist fun. Jessmida’s brilliant at soccer but Mom thinks it’s time she learns how to make a “proper” Indian dinner: meat AND vegetarian! Note: It’s not over ’til Gurinder thanks her Dad…  More on BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM.

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Film Review: BELOVED

After struggling to get herself & her children north, a runaway slave (Winfrey) takes drastic steps to prevent recapture. She succeeds, but the emotional burden is enormous. This film belongs to its actresses, with Newton particularly poignant in the title role. A painful film, but “attention must be paid.” More on BELOVED.

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Film Review: BEFORE SUNSET

Two people with romantic memories of one another meet again after many years. But what could be more hackneyed? His wife no longer excites him sexually. Her boyfriends are never reliable. So they talk, talking themselves into a totally predictable climax. Jan says: “Feh!” Rich is a tad more forgiving.  More on BEFORE SUNSET.

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Film Review: THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

American soldier suddenly disappears, leaving his wife to eek out a living in Saigon. She sends their son back to the Vietnamese heartland where he’s raised by family members who despise him until he’s old enough to begin his long search for answers. Sabina Murray’s screenplay grounds an eloquent masterpiece. More on THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.

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Film Review: BEAUTIFUL

Mona (Driver) is determined to win the Miss American Miss beauty pageant, devoting her considerable energies to clawing her way to the top. This is fluffy stuff, nevertheless Driver puts it over, ably assisted by Adams & Eisenberg. Despite the naysayers, we like Mona, we really do! More on BEAUTIFUL.

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Review: THE BALLAD OF RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, folk-singing legend, is best known as “the link between Woody Guthrie & Bob Dylan,” but he’s also the father of 2 daughters & the ex-husband of 4 wives as well as the lover of countless women & the buddy of countless men. This is his story. More on THE BALLAD OF RAMBLIN’ […]

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Review: THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO

Imaginative retelling of a western footnote. Expelled from her Boston home after the birth of her illegitimate son, Josephine has to disguise herself to stay alive. Abused & penniless, she builds a new life for herself in a rough mining town, & her secret holds until her autopsy decades later. More on THE BALLAD OF […]

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Review: THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE

Beautifully constructed mood piece walking the tightrope of father/daughter love. Jack’s a 60’s guy of independent means stubbornly clinging to life on an abandoned commune. Rose is his daughter, totally devoted but also aware that he’s sheltered her from the “real” world. Resonates well beyond the specifics of its plot. More on THE BALLAD OF […]

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BLUE CRUSH (2002): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

BLUE CRUSH Directed by John Stockwell/Screenplay by Stockwell & Lizzy Weiss Key Performances: Kate Bosworth with Matthew Davis & Michelle Rodriguez Set-Up: Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) live to surf. They share a small house on Oahu and work as housekeepers in one of the local luxury hotels so that […]

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