Rhapsody in August

Rhapsody in August

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1991

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.

Would see.

I Am Not Your Negro

I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Raoul Peck

2016

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.

Would see.

The Salesman

The Salesman

Directed by Asghar Farhadi

2016

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.

Would see.

Victoria

Victoria

Directed by Sebastian Schipper

2015

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

The Red Turtle

Directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit

2016

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.

Would see.

In Bruges

In Bruges

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.

Would see.

Calvary

Calvary

Directed by John Michael McDonagh

2014

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.

Would see.