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Beautiful Kate (2009)
The past is always present.
Director: Rachel Ward
Drama

Ned Kendall is asked to return to the remote and isolated family home by his sister, to say goodbye to his father who is dying. Ned also brings his young aspiring actress fiancee who struggles with the isolation. When home he starts having memories of his childhood many involving his beautiful twin sister and his older brother. These memories awaken long-buried secrets from the family's past.

Writer's Blocks In the last year, I saw a film (‘In My Father‘s Den‘) with much the same themes. In that New Zealand film, a man, a celebrated war correspondent returns to his rural home on the death of his father. There are significant unresolved frictions...


Published February 23, 2024
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The Valet (2006)
Director: Francis Veber
Comedy

Caught by tabloid paparazzi with his mistress Elena, a famous and beautiful fashion model, billionaire Pierre Levasseur tries to avoid a divorce by inventing a preposterous lie. He uses the presence of a passerby in the photo to claim to his wife that it's not him Elena is seeing but the other man, one François Pignon. Pignon is a modest little man who works as a parking valet. To make the story convincing, Elena has to move in with Pignon.

Seductive Word Surprises Needing something lightly comic, Veber was my man. His ‘The Closet‘ was trivial, but few trivial things are amusing and fondly recalled. Here, with a different actor, is the same character with much the same quality. I won‘t bother you with the story. It...


Published February 23, 2024
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Layer Cake (2004)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Drama
Thriller
Crime

When a seemingly straight-forward drug deal goes awry, XXXX has to break his die-hard rules and turn up the heat, not only to outwit the old regime and come out on top, but to save his own skin...

Taking the Drugs One narrative form is the con story. All of these folding tricks are there to engage the viewer, to trick him or her into investing in the story. The idea is that some important things you understand about the story, your platform for...


Published February 23, 2024
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Dym (2007)
Director: Grzegorz Cisiecki
Drama
Mystery
Thriller

The story of the person who became the captive of surrealistic madness.

Full Young filmmakers send me films or point me to them, and it is always a matter of trepidation. Young talent needs to be both encouraged and challenged, but the internet is a poor medium for making the prerequisite human connections. The only way to communicate...


Published February 23, 2024
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The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
An unsolved crime. A love story. An unwritten ending.
Director: Juan José Campanella
Mystery
Thriller
Drama

Hoping to put to rest years of unease concerning a past case, retired criminal investigator Benjamín begins writing a novel based on the unsolved mystery of a newlywed’s rape and murder. With the help of a former colleague, judge Irene, he attempts to make sense of the past.

You Eyes, Your Love, Your Passion This is a truly lovely film that has potential to change lives. I will consider it for my ‘list of fours,‘ when I report it. You may simply fall into the rather soft world it builds, one in which love can...


Published February 23, 2024
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The White Diamond (2004)
Director: Werner Herzog
Documentary

This 2004 documentary by Werner Herzog diaries the struggle of a passionate English inventor to design and test a unique airship during its maiden flight above the jungle canopy.

Flows, Roosters Watching a Herzog documentary is first a mystery about why it was made. About halfway through you understand why: an obsessed man made a flying balloon, mostly by making stuff up and killed his cinematographer. Now he wants to do it again, in a...


Published February 23, 2024
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Black Angel (2002)
Director: Tinto Brass
Drama
Romance
Thriller

Trapped in an unhappy marriage, the wife of a high ranking Fascist official starts a dangerous, self-destructive relationship with a duplicitous S.S. Officer.

Europa's Butt Franco and Brass, even Argento matter to me. They have intuition that inspires. Yes, they make vulgar and sometimes nonsensical films. But that is just a matter of degree compared to Hollywood fare, right? What I like about Brass isn’t about the women or situations,...


Published February 23, 2024
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead (2009)
Death. It's not for everyone.
Director: Jordan Galland
Comedy

Julian Marsh is an out of work ladies' man who lands a job directing a bizarre adaptation of Hamlet. After casting his best friend and his ex-girlfriend in the show, Julian finds himself in the middle of a two thousand year old conspiracy that explains the connection between Shakespeare, the Holy Grail and some seriously sexy vampires. It turns out that the play was actually written by a master vampire name Theo Horace and it's up to Julian to recover the Grail in order to reverse the vampire's curse...If only being undead wasn't so much God-damned fun!

Mousetrap, Mice I‘m a sucker for folded, reflexive and referential narrative, and especially so when built on Carroll or Shakespeare. So take this comment in that spirit. You will probably find this movie juvenile, but there are some clever things going on. The overall shape is based...


Published February 23, 2024
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Nathalie… (2003)
Can you ever control another person's sexuality?
Director: Anne Fontaine
Drama

Paris doctor Catherine starts to think her husband, Bernard, is having an affair when she hears an unfamiliar woman's message on his voice mail. Hoping to learn more about his extramarital activities, Catherine heads to a strip club, where she hires call girl Nathalie to have a fling with Gerard. As the affair progresses, Nathalie gives Catherine regular status reports, and the relationship between the women evolves from business to personal.

Womanly Closeness A film about two women, or rather the two hemispheres of a woman, made by a woman. I find nothing to like in most French films. The burst of reflexivity in the 60s where film critics became the most important filmmakers has had a negative...


Published February 23, 2024
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The Oxford Murders (2008)
There is no way of finding a single absolute truth
Crime
Mystery
Thriller

At Oxford University, a professor and a grad student work together to try and stop a potential series of murders seemingly linked by mathematical symbols.

Talk Around Her It is simply a fact that no film can stand by itself. Even when you deeply lose yourself in the experience, the cognitive machinery you use is different than in daily life — more toward directed dreamstate. Added to that is the knowledge...


Published February 23, 2024
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