The Anchorite (Juan Estelrich) *** - This is a quirky little dramedy from Spain. It's about a man who for some vague reason has chosen to live in his large bathroom for the past 11 years. That is until the little notes he's been flushing down the toilet was found by a beautiful young woman. The film is set entirely in the bathroom but avoids feeling stage-y or even claustrophobic. The performances are quite excellent. The film's quirky concept doesn't get too pretentious and self-satisfied for its own good. Overall, a fine film.
Body of War (Phil Donahue/Ellen Spiro) **1/2 - This is an anti-Iraq War documentary that focuses on one soldier, Tomas Young, who was rendered paralyzed while serving his country. The film touches upon many familiar grounds that we've all seen from documentaries of this kind. Yes, it is definitely biased. It will make you angry for different reasons no matter what side of the political you belong to. It's not bad but I've seen better.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima) *** - This film is about British soldiers at a Japanese POW camp during World War II. But it's not Bridge on the River Kwai. This one's more of a study on cultural clashes between two very different groups of people as well as a character study. I was fairly surprised that Nagisa Oshima didn't let his own people off the hook by portraying the Japanese soldiers in a negative light at times. The film's imperfect but the performances are great (David Bowie should really act more) and the humane ending makes it worthwhile.
Hanna (Joe Wright) ***1/2 - If there was such a thing as an "arthouse action film", this is it. The film is stylish, intense, lyrical, brutal and beautifully made almost to a fault. The film is anchored on a truly great performance by Saoirse Ronan who is on her way to becoming one of the best young actresses out there. Extra points for that now pretty famous tracking shot that leads up to an impressive and intense subway fight scene and of course the Chemical Brothers' great score.