25 November 2012


 UK, USA, 2012 dir. Sam Mendes ****

The latest entry in the James Bond movies is fast-aced, entertaining and comes with a great performance from Javier Bardem as the villain. 

Chernobyl Diaries

 USA, 2012, dir. Bradley Parker ****

The plot is simple: a group of friends who are visiting Ukraine decide to take a risky detour and hire a bus and guide to visit Pripat, the ghost city where all Chernobyl workers and their families used to live. It's an off-limits place because radiation is still quite high in some areas, access is very restricted and some days prohibited. The real shots of the abandoned city are amazing, as well as the plot. The worst happens of course, they get trapped and at night the vicious beasts come out to hunt their pray. The movie was also shot in Hungary and Serbia.

The Dictator

USA, 2012, dir. Larry Charles **

Sacha Baron Cohen comes back with an exaggerated version of a Middle Eastern dictator. It's all about being politically incorrect, and some joke actually work. The plot is weak, but the overall result is entertaining.

07 November 2012

Clip (FNC 2012)

Klip, Serbia, dir. Maja Milos, 2012 *****

Shot mostly with cell phone cameras, this movie feels like a documentary or reality show, only that it isn't. Several years in the making, Maja Milos spend quite some time recruiting the right people. Most of them are not even professional actors, and the result is simply breathtaking. A crude and vivid portrait of a teenage girl and his friends and boyfriends is what the movie is basically about. There is a lot of sex and alcohol. Some scenes can be even considered pornographic. This is exactly what the new wave of Serbia movies is all about. A country left to take care of itself and find again its values and morals after the genocides and civil wars of the 90's. A shocking, realistic and intense movie that will surely leave a mark in the history of Serbian cinema.

Sister (FNC 2012)

 L'Enfant d'en haut, dir. Ursula Meier, Switzerland, 2012 ***

The Swiss version of the Dardenne brothers is here. A story goes like this: an orphan who lives by stealing ski equipment from a nearby resort and who looks after his sister as well. As improbable as this can happen in a rich country like Switzerland, the story is appalling by the excellent acting skills of both brother and sister. The story might be sad in theory, but the actors make the most of it in order to make us feel quite optimistic about their future.

Loving (FNC 2012)

 dir. Slawomir Fabicki, Poland, 2012 **

A young couple is torn apart by an affair. Mixing private life with work has never resulted in anything good, and our co-stars learn this the hard way. The discovery of being cheated, fits of jealousy and mistrust increase as the movie progresses. Overall, it does not amount to much for this almost two-hour long movie.

The Angels' Share (FNC 2012)

 dir. Ken Loach, 2012, UK ****

A group of local offenders are doing community service in a small town in Scotland. Their supervisor is a whiskey fan and takes them on a tour of distillery plant. They find out that the most expensive whiskey has been found hidden and that an auction will be held soon. Our shrewd friends decide to steal the whiskey and sell it in the black market. Things go wrong but turn out ok at the end. 

Our Little Differences (FNC 2012)

Die Feinen Unterschiede, dir. Sylvie Michel, 2012, Germany ****

Her directorial debut features the story of a divorced man with the custody of his two teenage kids. One weekend, they decide to go out to a concert and take the maid's daughter with them. This is where the movie gets interesting. It shows how cultural differences affect our everyday activities. The maid, who comes from Bulgaria, starts to worry when her daughter does not show up the following day after the concert. She blames  the man's kids and the way he has raised them. Here we see two ways of thinking and two distinct approaches to raising your children. Those little diferences are what make this movie unique.

In Another Country (FNC 2012)

dir. Sang-soo Hong, South Korea, 2012 ***

A Korean movie with Isabelle Hupert as co-star. This is a first in Korean cinema, and the result is rather satisfactory. Even Isabelle changes her style and becomes a funny acting Korean star that only with gestures and physical movements is able to convey all sorts of emotions. The film tells the same story with three variations. A woman awaits her lover at a lakeside bed and breakfast. In the meantime, while strolling on the beach, she meets a local Korean lifeguard. A lot of silence between dialogues, repetitive imagery and an atmosphere reminiscent of Luis Bunuel's movies. 

The Dark Side of the Sun (FNC 2012)

Italy, 2012 **
A documentary about children with a rare disease that keeps them away from sunlight. A family in New York state organize a night camp every year and several families from the around the world travel to meet up at this special event. The documentary also contains animation scenes, very much like Japanese-style cartoons, where the kids are represented by different characters. The story of these kids is really compelling. I did find the animation scenes sometimes too long.

Naked Harbour (FNC 2012)

Vuosaari, 2012, Finland, ****

A middle-aged woman is trying to seduce an American businessman in a bar. She asked to be taken away to another place, out of this cold place. And it sure is a cold place in this harbour city in Finland. We are in the middle of winter, and the movie Naked Harbour shows us different stories, all happening at the same time in the same city: a single parent family with a kid who yearns to have a dog as a pet; an African immigrant in an unstable relationship with a Finnish drug addict; a man who cheats on her wife by sleeping with the maid. All these stories are told in a very crude and no holes barred form, as the title of the film, the naked truth is exposed. Just when it seems that no happy ending is in sight, the stores turn in a rather unexepected way for the better and we are meant to believe that all is good in this cold and selfish word of ours.