The Wind That Shakes the Barley
(10/10): Cillian Murphy and Pádraic Delaney
give stirring performances as conflicted brothers in director Ken
Loach’s brilliant, realistic depiction of the Irish fight for
Independence from Britain circa 1920-22 and the resultant strife between
the original fighters after the Anglo-Irish Treaty ended the conflict in
1921. Although there’s a lot of talk, there’s plenty of action as this
film doesn’t shrink from showing the brutality of the British against
the relatively defenseless Irish, as well as the brutality, both
physical and psychological, required of revolutionaries. Even though it
is 2:04 long, I didn’t look at my watch once.
In theatres and video on demand to cable
subscribers on IFC In Theatres.
Beyond The Gates (10/10):
Filmed at the actual locations, Director Michael
Caton-Jones tells the shameful but true story of the massacre at the
Ecole Technique Officiele in April, 1994 in Rwanda where the U.N.
soldiers abandoned 2,500 Tsutsis to bloodthirsty, machete-laden Hutus.
With a spellbinding script by David Wolstencroft, this is a film that
inspires disgust for the cowardly U.N., whose attitude is summarized by
a line by a British TV reporter, “When I was in Bosnia... I cried every
day when I saw a dead woman in the street;...over here they're
just...dead Africans....".” Instead of brutalizing your intelligence on
some major studio flummery like the latest Will Ferrell idiocy, do
yourself a favor and see this brilliant, low-budget independent
masterpiece instead, which educates as well as entertains.
The Shooter (7/10):
A slam-bang, nonstop man-on-the-run conspiracy thriller
starring the always reliable Mark Wahlberg, based on a novel by
Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter. If you can close your eyes
and ears to the anti-American political jabs and the overwhelming
graphic violence, this is a smashing chase movie, albeit one burdened
with a reprehensible moral that justifies individuals wreaking vengeance
without regard for legal process.
Black Snake Moan (7/10):
An ill-advised title and misguided publicity make
this look like a gothic horror story, instead of the feel good love
story it is, with a basis in the blues, highlighted by a fine
performance by Samuel L. Jackson and an exceptional performance by
If the story of Clifford Irving’s phony 1971
autobiography of Howard Hughes is so compelling, why did it have to be
mutated with so many fictional additions? This is a wonderful example of
how the egos of a writer and director ruined a terrific tale. It would
take more than Richard Gere (in a disappointing turn) to make this
almost 2-hour long phantasmagoria into the movie it could have been.
Opens April 6.
I went into this film thinking it was going to be a
procedural masterpiece, à la “All The President’s Men” (1976). Instead,
saddled with a marked lack of dramatic tension and a script that is not
only too long, talky, and convoluted, it makes constant references to
people who only appear onscreen a few times. When it finally came
plodding down to the ending, after two hours forty minutes, the guy they
finger as the killer barely appeared in the film at all. And after all
that you still don’t know for sure whodunit.
Color Me Kubrick (A True…ish
Story)(3/10): OK, John Malkovich can act gay
and wear outlandish costumes while “interpreting “ Alan Conway, a
mythomaniac who fooled lots of people claiming to be Stanley Kubrick
while trying to pick up gay men. Even at 86 minutes it was too much.
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