5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat/Guy Davidi) **** - A harrowing documentary from the point of view (for most of the film, LITERALLY) of a Palestinian family man turned documentarian living in a village in the West Bank. Though it at times feels repetitive, there's no denying the power of the images that somehow were managed to be captured by the "title characters" (so to speak). It is a shocking, disturbing and heartbreaking inside look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anna Karenina (Joe Wright) *** - Director Joe
Wright's very unique adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel is, for me, very much a
mixed result. But there's too much in there to admire and I can't help but feel
this is a definitely a work of a talented filmmaker. Framing the story as a
theatrical performance makes for a very interesting, experimental take on the
story but I think it would have worked better if they had committed to it a lot
more instead cutting into sequences that's a straight-forward, conventional
adaptation. It's almost distracting. But what holds it together are the
performances of Keira Knightley and Jude Law and they're finely supported by
Alicia Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson. Aaron Taylor-Johnson though is a bit
Come and See (Elem Klimov) **** - I've
seen tons of World War II movies and a whole bunch of the subgenre of World War
II films from the point of view of children and adolescents. This one ranks as
one of the best. The plot is simple: An eager beaver teenage boy from a small
village in Russia volunteers for the army during the war and witnesses first
hand the true horrors of war. I've heard this film's reputation for being bleak.
It is. Very. But also it has moments of beautiful imagery that almost borders on
dark fantasy/horror/surrealism especially on the first half. I thought I've seen
everything but this managed to still shock and horrify me despite seeing and
knowing all that I know about World War II. It hammers the point too hard just a
tad at the end but it's still a stunning piece of cinema.
Silver Linings Playbook (David O.
Russell) *** - I liked this film. It's a good film. But I didn't LOVE it and I
don't think it's a particularly GREAT film. First off the first two acts are a
tonal mess. The balance between the dead serious themes and the comedy are all
over place, only held together by the terrific performances of Bradley Cooper,
who gives his career-best performance and Robert De Niro who gives his best
performance in a long, long, long, long time. Jacki Weaver is terrific but
wasted in an underwritten role (she makes the best of it though). And now let's
go to Jennifer Lawrence: I think she gives a great performance, she hits all the
right notes but unfortunately, she is AT LEAST five years too young for the
role. I wasn't buying she was this widow with a possible sex addiction. Despite
the fact that they clearly tried to age her up a bit, it felt way too dress-up
for me. It hurts to write this about her because I really do love her as an
actress and like most of the male population, I want her to be my girlfriend but
I gotta play the critic. Sorry. But that said, the last half hour is where the
film actually comes together and I was won over. Not enough to significantly
increase my rating of the film though.