The 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, Jan. 2-12, included fifty of the Academy Award-nominated foreign films. Here's the best of a fest that includes American studio, independent and overseas cinema.
But their newest, Two Days, One Night, pulled me in almost instantly and held me to its gripping conclusion. It's a small story -- an individual's fight for her economic life and that of her family in the suburbs of Liege, Belgium.
It's not like Michael Keaton's career was kaput, but it seems like he raised himself from the dead with this invigorating performance. Mexican director/writer Alejandro González Iñárritu gave Keaton a plum role.
Had he been born in a different time and place, painter J.M.W. Turner might have been a member of the Hudson River School, a group of artists who worked in the second half of the 19th century, after Turner's 1851 death.
All my previous qualms about the girth (and necessity) of individual installments notwithstanding, there's no denying that the totality of this saga represents a singular achievement in cinematic history.
Usually when a film depicting a story from the Bible is made, the main danger for a studio is angering religious groups who feel that the film is attacking their beliefs or strays too far from accepted (or at least favored) interpretations.
"Exodus: Movement of Jah people! Oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!" chants Bob Marley. In his rousing three-minute song "Exodus" he presents a more spiritual feel for Moses than Ridley Scott's 154-minute, whitewashed sword-and-sandals epic.
Andre Allen (Rock) is a hip New York-based stand-up comedian who has stretched his talents thin. He's in a plethora of movies; none are particularly good, though they have brought him fame and fortune.
What happens to a certain kind of codependent friendship when one member finds a significant other? Life Partners, the first film by Susanna Fogel, would like to answer that question. Instead it settles for sitcom setups and punchlines.
So, you're one of the 5 people left on planet earth who hasn't seen Frozen yet. Congratulations - you're a renegade. But as this holiday season is upon us, the ice princesses of Disney are showing no signs of "letting go" of the spotlight.
To my mind, The Imitation Game is the best film of the year: a gripping tale of wartime espionage and code-breaking that also manages to be the character study of an important figure whose contributions have been ignominiously ignored.
American Sniper succeeds in showing the struggle of a dangerous man trying to live a normal life with his family. The affect the war has on families, and how it changes their loved ones is something not often explored, especially not this deeply or honestly.