In 1951, American poet Elizabeth Bishop left for Brazil to "clear her head." She stayed for 15 years. Now Brazilian filmmaker Bruno Barreto (Bossa Nova, View from the Top) tells the story of that sojourn with Miranda Otto in the lead, along with Treat Williams, Tracy Middendorf, and Gloria Pires. Our reviewer Eric D. Snider praises the biopic's "lush, gorgeous scenery" but wishes the "pleasant, unobjectionable drama for grown-ups" offered just a little bit of "crassness, to liven things up." Read Eric's review of Reaching for the Moon.
Like last year, we attended the exground filmfest in Wiesbaden, Germany -- and were surprised by three first films: Alyx Duncan's mesmerizing hybrid between feature and documentary, The Red House, Kerry Candaele's exploration of the global reception of Beethoven's last symphony, Following the Ninth, and Schwarzer Panther: The Story of Emile and Jacob by the Swiss writer/director Samuel Perriard (pictured). Read about what else we discovered at exground...
Judi Dench gives an unreservedly endearing performance as a mother looking for her lost child in Stephen Frear's magnificently acted and gently moving two-hankie drama. Steve Coogan plays the cynical freelance journalist accompanying her, hungry for a meaty human interest story. Based on a true story recounted by Martin Sixsmith in his book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, the film is playing in theaters now. Read Eric Snider's review.
Movies about the beat poets have been plentiful lately -- On the Road, Howl, Big Sur, Chicago 10 -- but Kill Your Darlings has two things going for it: it focuses on a lesser-known period in the lives of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and co, and Daniel Ratcliffe plays Ginsberg. Kill Your Darlings tells engaging story about bright, inexperienced artists working through their tumultuous formative years, says Eric D. Snider. Read his review.
Who knew there was bluegrass in Belgium? Felix Van Groeningen's bittersweet drama about two free-spirited Belgian musicians wrestles with thorny issues but affirms spirituality and the power of music as healing force. Johan Heldenbergh and Veerle Baetens play two lovers who struggle with their beliefs after their daughter is stricken with cancer. Read Eric. D. Snider's review of The Broken Circle Breakdown.
Gay or straight, male or female, Abdellatif Kechiche's Cannes-winner Blue Is the Warmest Color describes emotions anybody can relate to, writes our reviewer Eric D. Snider. The coming-of-age tale with the now-famous 8 minute lesbian sex scene stars Adele Exarchopoulos and Jeremie Laheurte and is playing in theaters now. Read Eric's review.
A surrealistic dark comedy about a family's ill-fated vacation at Disney World, the backstory behind Randy Moore's Sundance hit is more interesting than the film itself: shot guerrilla-style at the theme park, it wasn't clear that the film could ever be released. Read Eric D. Snider's review of Escape from Tommorrow.
Sam Edison plays the disheveled hero in Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews' tale about a small group of dorky dice-rolling, spell-casting friends with a bit of a Napoleon Dynamite vibe. Eric D. thinks this rough-edged character might just become a new cult hero. Read his review of Zero Charisma.
In 2002, the "Beltway Sniper" attacks killed 10 people in the Washington, D.C. metro area. From director Alexandre Moors and screenwriter R.F.I. Porto comes an unnerving thriller about the killers and their backstories. Blue Caprice stars Tequan Richmond, Isaiah Washington, and Tim Blake Nelson. Read Eric D. Snider's review.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez gives us well-intentioned big-screen adaptation of David Sedaris essays in C.O.G. The film, unfortunately, lacks's Sedaris' distinctive voice. Though the film certainly has its charms, on screen, the giddy manic prose of Sedaris falls flat.