Rhapsody in August
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Rhapsody in August is a Japanese language drama about an elderly Japanese woman, caring for her four grandchildren for the summer, who learns of a long-lost brother who lives in Hawaii. Rhapsody in August is Kurosawa’s second-to-last film, and it is far from his best. The politics are questionable and the story is meandering, but the images are striking and the tone is thoughtful.
I Am Not Your Negro
Directed by Raoul Peck
I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. The film is visually engaging, but occasionally cluttered. I Am Not Your Negro is a detailed, thoughtful, and forceful exploration of American racism.
Directed by Asghar Farhadi
The Salesman is an Iranian drama about a husband and wife who perform Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman, the assault of the wife, and its aftermath. The movie is well paced, nuanced, and bleak.
Directed by Alan Schneider
Film, written by Samuel Beckett (his only screen play) and starring Buster Keaton, is an experimental short film. Film is inscrutable but only 24 minutes.
Directed by Sebastian Schipper
Victoria is a German drama about a young Spanish woman in Berlin. It was shot in a single continuous take. Victoria is boring, trite, and aimless. It is a pointless film paired with a meaningless gimmick.
Would not see.
The Red Turtle
Directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit
The Red Turtle is an animated fantasy film. The film uses a blend of hand-drawn and computer animation and has no dialogue. The visuals are stunningly lavish, and the story is an enigmatic fairytale. The film, though, somehow, always appears on the verge of achieving something more than it does.
Lost in Translation
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Lost in Translation is an English language romantic comedy-drama set in Tokyo. The writing and acting are good, but the pacing is uneven and the portrayal of Tokyo is flat.
Directed by Martin McDonagh
In Bruges is an English language black comedy set in Bruges. In Bruges is clever, but sometimes too clever. The jokes are consistently funny, but sometimes descend into mean-spiritedness, and the movie sometimes threatens to veer into nihilism.
Directed by John Michael McDonagh
Calvary is a drama about an Irish priest. Calvary is thought-provoking, thoughtful, and profoundly moving. The script is clever and treads difficult territory carefully, but some of the characters are overly broad and the music is at times overwrought.
The 400 Blows
Directed by François Truffaut
The 400 Blows is a drama about a misunderstood adolescent in Paris. The film is innovative, sincere, well acted, and well shot, but it is frustratingly distant.