Northern New Mexico, the 1940s, finds young Antonio's family dramatically changed when Ultima comes to live her final days with them. Loved and feared, Ultima wields a supernatural power that punishes evil and rewards good. "Bless Me, Ultima" rounds out the picture with sons returning from war, Antonio's schoolmates and teachers, and Mexican American daily life.
Sometimes just spending an hour twenty minutes with an appealing character makes for a fine cinematic experience. That's how I felt after watching "Yossi." The title identifies the central character, Dr. Yossi Guttman, a 34-year-old cardiologist in a Tel Aviv hospital who harbors secrets that have taken the joy out of his life.
Most of us have snapshots of our lives, records of the first day of school or the prom. "56 Up" is director Michael Apted's record of the lives of 14 Britishers tells their stories, albeit in brief, through film. "56 Up" continues what he started in 1964 when he first interviewed 10 boys and four girls, each age 7. Its cutesy title was "Seven Up," which explains the current title and those of films in between, shot at seven-year intervals.
I'd venture to say few would think about chess competition when asked about Intermediate School 318, a Brooklyn middle school. As director Katie Dellamaggiore notes, 70-75% of the students' families exist below the poverty level. And, oh yes, I.S.318 is a chess powerhouse, as she details in her fine documentary "Brooklyn Castle."
The National British Theater presents "The Magistrate" by Jove. It is currently on the boards of the Olivier Theater in London, but the Victorian farce was made available for viewing in movie theaters across America this winter as part of the digitally recorded series called National Theater Live.
Writer/director Michael Haneke's masterpiece "Amour" is as honest, unsentimental, and carefully observed as it is demanding of audience patience and empathy. Retired octogenarians Anne and Georges enjoy quiet, pleasant lives. They know each other's subtle gestures and daily habits, they mirror each other. And then, one morning at breakfast, Anne has a transient stroke.Writer/director Michael Haneke's masterpiece "Amour" is as honest, unsentimental, and carefully observed as it is demanding of audience patience and empathy. Retired octogenarians Anne and Georges enjoy quiet, pleasant lives. They know each other's subtle gestures and daily habits, they mirror each other. And then, one morning at breakfast, Anne has a transient stroke.
Val, don't call him by his given name Valentine, gets out of prison after 28 years' incarceration. Best friend and colleague Doc greets Val upon his release with a job to do--Doc must kill Val. No dummy, Val knows and thus begins a long night of nostalgia and philosophizing, regrets and resignation.