To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett) *** - This is my first foray into the cinema of Charles Burnett. In this one, an average middle-class African-American family gets paid a visit by an old friend who then proceeds to sow seeds of discontent among them. It takes a while to get into it but the film is neverthless extremely well-made and very well acted by an impressive ensemble of actors headed by Danny Glover, who gives one of his more interesting performances of his career. I'm guessing this is a very far cry from Tyler Perry movies.
Killing Me Softly (Chen Kaige) * - This is technically an erotic thriller but unfortunately it's neither erotic nor thrilling. Expat American in London (Heather Graham) dumps her longtime boyfriend to marry celebrity mountain climber (Joseph Fiennes) whom she falls into lust with. The sex scenes don't titillate. Graham and Fiennes have little to no on-screen sexual chemistry and the turns the story makes is ridiculous. It could've been campy, trashy fun but fails on the fun part. Usually good director Chen Kaige's first unfortunate foray into making an English film.
The Disappeared (Johnny Kevorkian) **1/2 - This is a low-budget indie British horror film about teenage boy just released from a mental institution following the disappearance of his little brother. He's haunted by dark, disturbing visions which will lead him to the truth. Strong performances are what makes this otherwise been-there-done-that ghost story very much watchable if not that big of a must-see.
Without Men (Gabriela Tagliavini) ** - All the men in a remote South American village get rounded up and forced to fight a revolutionary war leaving the women to fend for themselves. Lots of interesting concepts and ideas which would make for a fresh, interesting take on the battle of the sexes but instead mostly degenerates into clownish stereotypes and caricatures with a tacked on a tired "we're all equal-I am woman hear me roar" message in the end. Eva Longoria makes out with another woman. If you're into that.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (Glenn Ficarra/John Requa) *** - I had rather low expectations of this based on the synopsis/trailer of the film but the enthusiastic response of some people I know persuaded me to check it out and I have to say I, too, was pleasantly surprised. Most romantic comedies make me wanna run for the hills but when one turns out to be good, it's a pleasure to watch. Some flaws aside, the film works primarily because of the strong ensemble cast who turn on the laughs, charm and sweetness on just the right levels.