dramas

‘Carmen’: A Maltese Film That Pays Homage to an Age-Old Tradition

Sandra Bertrand

Buhagiar can be forgiven for adding a bit of magic realism to shore up the storyline, or maybe it’s just God’s intervention. Take your pick.While the cathedral is closed for masses until further notice, the parishioners are welcome to confess. Concealing herself in the confessional, with “a voice like the Virgin Mary,” Carmen counsels the abused and forlorn women of the town. Even a young girl with the voice of an angel is advised to take money from the collection box and escape to Rome where her talent will be recognized.

‘A Silent Party’ Tackles Patriarchy, Sexual Assault and Victim Blaming, Yet Misses the Mark

Ulises Duenas

The way the story comments on Laura’s standing in her relationship and family is the only poignant aspect of the movie. You feel sympathy for her from early on and can tell she feels constrained in a relationship that’s lost its spark. Once she tells David what happened to her, he quickly takes on the responsibility of revenge as a way of proving his masculinity, and Laura’s father soon does the same. While the movie tries to do something different with an old cliché, the way it’s executed stills seems a tad exploitative .

‘Montana Story’ Is a Mellow, Lyrical Family Drama

D.M. Palmer

Cal and Erin struggle to meet the past on their own terms: Cal approaches life from a position of anxiety, while Erin projects tenacity; but they are equally grasping for purchase against the upheavals that have warped what was once familiar. Both performances reveal a slow seething to the surface: Richardson has a severity to her demeanor, which articulates Erin’s determination to rectify old wounds and pay off a karmic debt; while Teague is tortured by his inaction.

‘Splinters’ Has Good, Subtle Characters but Lacks Drama

Ulises Duenas

Paul Gordon as David is the highlight of the movie since his delivery is so awkward and dry. David seems like a boring person doing his best to impress Anna since he and his wife recently separated. He doesn’t come off as creepy and there’s a certain charm to his droning dialogue that gives the movie a comedic aspect that it needs. While David and Joan mirror Anna and Bo in some ways, they aren't as key to the overall plot as they could have been and fleshing out their characters could have added a lot more to the movie.

‘The Weasels’ Tale’ Delivers Great Characters and Unexpected Twists and Turns

Ulises Duenas

The chemistry among these four characters is great. Mara is stuck living in the past and sees her jaded friends Norberto and Martin as tormentors for wanting her to confront the reality that the good days are long gone. They constantly take small jabs at each other but are much more overtly hostile towards the realtors trying to manipulate Mara. While Mara is clearly delusional and self-centered, you do feel sympathy for her to some degree.

‘11 Flowers’ Deftly Portrays a Poignant Coming-of-Age Story in Rural China

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Set in China in 1975 and told through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy, 11 Flowers is many things at once: a coming-of-age story; a thriller; a slice of life from a remote village in the Guizhou province; and a glimpse of the social tension caused by China’s Cultural Revolution. Thoughtful and quietly poignant, the film manages all these elements beautifully, without allowing its young central character to be eclipsed by the events surrounding him.

‘The Impossible, ‘Gangster Squad’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

During movie awards season, “The Impossible” received most of its accolades thanks to the remarkable lead performance of actress Naomi Watts. As good as she is, focusing on such a singular component of the film is unfair because it is great in so many respects.  The feature, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, was inspired by the real-life survival story of a family caught in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. 

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