Jane Eyre (in theaters now)

3 05 2011

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hrs.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%, 7.5/10

I can’t help but think Charlotte Bronte would have been pleased with the most recent remake of her novel Jane Eyre. The film holds true to the gothic themes of the novel and does not fail to portray Jane in the same plain and yet heroic light in which Bronte’s original work depicts her.  Read the rest of this entry »





Summer Hours (L’Heure d’ete)

28 04 2011

Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
Rotten Tomatoes: 7.8/10, 93%

I was not sure what to expect from Summer Hours. It was not abstract or festive like some French films. It is instead one of those movies you could easily brush away as having no true plot line or riveting events. But don’t dismiss the movie so easily. Summer Hours is graceful in its subtleties and intriguing in its simplicity. Read the rest of this entry »





No One Killed Jessica

22 04 2011

Rating: NA
Runtime: 2 hr. 16 min.
IMDb: 7.2/10

No One Killed Jessica is your typical Bollywood film. You know the plot line and the ending after the first 10 minutes. The main characters face struggles but overcome them, and the movie overflows with inspiring and overly dramatic music in every scene. But despite all this, it’s not too bad to watch. Read the rest of this entry »





The Secret in Their Eyes

15 04 2011

Runtime: 2 hr. 9 min.
Rating: R
Rotten Tomatoes: 7.8/10, 91%

The Secret in Their Eyes, or El Secreto de Sus Ojos takes its viewers on a suspenseful and thought-provoking adventure that has twists and turn and ends like you never thought it would and yet, just like it should. From crime to mystery to love, this film seems to have it all and yet weaves it together so perfectly that they don’t seem to contrast each other in the least.  Read the rest of this entry »





Restrepo

8 04 2011

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hr. 33 min.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, 7.8/10

Restrepo takes its viewers into an uncomfortable setting–the battlefield of Afghanistan. Although relatively bloodless, it shows all of the emotions that come with war from addiction to killing, soldiers goofing off with one another and the pain that comes from losing a friend. Most striking, it shows it all as it unfolds. There are no actors. There are no reenactments. Everyone has their emotions on their sleeves and all the benefits and costs to war are exposed.

While not strictly an international film, Restrepo shows the difficulties American soldiers face in attempting to communicate with cultures extremely different from their own. Soldiers must bear a heavy burden as they negotiate with tribal leaders, fight off Taliban fire and manage their own longings to return home.

There is nothing glorious about Restrepo. There is no grand reception upon their departure or return to the U.S. There is no idealism to their days spent in a hot, small outpost in the middle of the Afghan countryside. There is nothing to be dreamed about in fondness in the future. But that, the filmmakers show, is real, unfiltered war.





The Story of Qiu Ju

26 03 2011

Rating: PG
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, 8/10

I began watching The Story of Qiu Ju with the expectation that the seemingly strong-willed pregnant woman Qiu Ju would be a valiant heroine who saves her family’s honor. I was wrong. By the end you aren’t really sure who is most to blame for all the trouble, Qiu Ju, the village chief who is feuding with Qiu Ju’s family, or the Chinese judicial system.

The best part of this film is not a beautifully written plot or flashy camera shots. Instead, this film gives viewers an incredible insight into Chinese culture. It may not be glamorous or entertaining, but it is a complex system of maneuvering between societal, personal and legal obligations.

Qiu Ju is not a heroine. Not in the traditional sense of the word. She is not always right. She does not fix everyone’s problems. She wants what is best for her family. She wants to be respected. She worries. She makes mistake. She is strong. She is a Chinese woman.





The White African

18 03 2011

Rating: Unrated

Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.

Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6/10 97%

Foreign documentaries often focus on injustices done to minorities, but rarely are those minorities white men. The White African tells the story of a farmer and his family who live in Zimbabwe during the time when Robert Mugabe is trying to incite division between the blacks and whites. Without portraying all black Zimbabweans negatively, the film appears to keep a balanced view of those who are racist and those who want justice, no matter what their skin color.

Despite beatings and death threats, white farmers in Zimbabwe fight to keep the land that they rightfully own. One cannot watch this documentary without comparing it to apartheid in South Africa, allowing a reflection on human nature and the realization that people have the will and the capacity to either accept or discriminate against each other. The White African follows the international law suit the white farmers have against Robert Mugabe, making the appropriately long-winded like the prolonged suit.

Will justice prevail? Well, like life, it’s a little more complicated than that.