For My Father – Dror Zahavi – Israel
A suicide bomber gets a second chance at life when his vest malfunctions. This was a good film with some interesting characters, but the drama is forced. The ending wraps everything up, but it takes the easy way out and avoids some more interesting and heavier outcomes.
The Brothers Bloom – Rian Johnson – USA
The second film by Johnson after the tremendous Brick. It turned out to be perectly enjoyable studio film. The premise is straightfoward. Two brothers grow up con artists and want to pull off one last giant con before retiring. The story is intentionally hard to follow. Is what is happening real? Or is it part of the con? Rachel Weisz is great as the rich mark and Rinko Kikuchi is great as the brother’s explosive-loving partner, Bang Bang. The film is fun throughout, but the style and unique flair I hoped for was not present. Its better than most, but not great.
Kisses – Lance Daly – Ireland
Two young irish children run away from home in this charming little drama. The film starts in black and white, and shows the troubled home lives of these two 13-year old neighbors. After an intense incident, they both run away from home to try to find the brother of the boy, who had run away years earlier. The film slowly turns into color as they get further away from home. The mood changes from excitement and discovery to dark surrealism. The two young leads are fantastic, and really bring their roles to life. At the end, nothing has changed, but everything is different.
Goodbye Solo – Ramin Bahrani – USA
An immigrant cab driver befriends a crusty old man who he beleives wants to commit suicide. In two weeks, the old man wants to be driven to the top of a mountain and left there. Solo, the cab driver, senses something is wrong and tries to force his way into the old’s man life and put a stop to what is going to happen. It’s a smart, sensitive movie. Bahrani knows what information to reveal and when, and the two leads give perfect performances. This will be an indie hit, and deservedly so. It’s a simple story that is well-told. The film stays away from melodrama and draws the viewer in naturally like a good film should
The Chaser – Na Hong-jin – South Korea
This slick, popular thriller tells the story of a pimp who goes on an odyssey to catch a serial killer who has been murdering his girls because the police are hand-cuffed by their own bureaucracy. It’s a good tense film. It has the right mixture of action, horror and humour. The pacing is good, and it leads right to an ending that you would not expect, but fits perfectly. At times, its overlong and over-dramatic, but it is a big-budget peice of slick entertainment that kept me entertained.