Sunday, April 26, 2015

Virgin Mountain (Fúsi)

Writer/Director Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain (Fúsi) won the awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Gunnar Jónsson) at the Tribeca Film Festival.

It is the story of an extremely overweight airport baggage hander, who, in his early 40s, is emotionally underdeveloped and still lives with his mother. It is not until his mother’s boyfriend gives him a birthday gift to take line dancing lessons that Fúsi begins to develop social skills.
The film is very sweet and Jónsson is endearing as he steps into his manhood.  

I give Virgin Mountain (Fúsi) a 3+ out of 5.

King Jack

It’s not just that Writer/Director Felix Thompson’s film King Jack is an uninteresting work about an unlikeable 15-year-old boy, who is, at best, pitied when he is mercilessly beaten by an older thug.  

It’s the unbelievable fact that audience members at the Tribeca Film Festival voted this loathsome tripe the “Audience Award Winner” in narrative films. 

This begs the question as to what kind of people are attending this festival.

I give King Jack a 1+ out of 5. And the producers should be happy with that.

The Age of Adaline

A year ago, I saw a film that I rated the Most Underrated Film of 2014.  It was a magical, romantic film entitled Winter’s Tale.  This film did not do well, financially.  I think it had something to do with a poor marketing campaign.

I hope the equally romantic and magical The Age of Adaline by Director Lee Toland Krieger does not suffer the same fate. 

It is wonderful and I love this film.  
Written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, the film moves, lyrically, telling the contemporary story of a woman born at the beginning of the 20th Century, whose aging process is halted at age 29, when she suffers an auto accident during the confluence of unusual weather/cosmic events. 

Blake Lively is perfectly cast and gives an outstanding performance as the woman who doesn’t age.  I can’t think of any living actress, who would be more suited to this role.

Initially pursued by government agents, who want to study her, Adaline lives her life in hiding, changing identities throughout the years.  Then, she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman). 
If you’re jaded or unromantic, you will, probably, not enjoy this film, but, if you’re someone who believes in magic and in love being able to conquer time, you will love it as I do.

I give The Age of Adaline a 4+ out of 5.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wondrous Boccaccio

Boccaccio’s bawdy Decameron is retold in Writers/Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s rather vapid Wondrous Boccaccio.

It is the tale of 10 Florentines, reminiscent of today’s Millennials, who escape the City during the plague of 1348 and live for a few weeks in the safer countryside, passing the time by telling each other stories of tragic or comic love.

Unfortunately, only one of the five stories we’re presented…The Nun’s Story…is worthy of our attention.

Though the entire cast is attractive, it is the outstandingly beautiful cinematography of Simone Zampagni, the interesting sets of Production Designer Emita Frigato and the colorful costuming of Lina Nerli Taviani, that make this production of interest.

For these factors, only, I give Wondrous Boccaccio a 3 out of 5.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Child 44

It’s currently banned in Russia. (The truth hurts.) 

Director Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44 is a gritty, sometimes tough-to-take, saga of the Stalinist era of post-War Russia when the party line was “There is no murder in paradise.”
Tom Hardy gives an outstanding performance as an accidental war hero, who has a high-level post in the military police of a government that wishes to be blind to murder even when children are being slaughtered by a serial killer.  For an official, whose son is killed to claim it’s murder, when the State says it’s an accident, puts his entire family in danger of being arrested as traitors.  (Nice place to live.)
Hardy’s performance is backed by an equally excellent portrayal by Noomi Rapace of his unloving wife.  And, Gary Oldman is his usual superb self as general commandant of the police in a small industrial town.

Writer Richard Price has evoked the bleakness and darkness of Tom Rob Smith’s novel.

If you like Le Carre-type thrillers, you’ll “enjoy” Child 44.  I give it a 4 out of 5.