Category: Foreign


Haiku Review: Wadjda (2103)

WadjdaStarring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah & Ahd
Written & directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour

A young Saudi girl wants to raise money for a bicycle but finds only discouragement in the religious and political culture around her.


You can’t keep a good
woman down – but whole cultures
sure keep on trying.

Grade: A-


c2013
By Daniel J. Hoag
Wadjda is playing now in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2258858/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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Haiku Review: Oslo, August 31st

osloStarring: Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner & Ingrid Olava
Written by Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier
Directed by Joachim Trier

A man in drug rehab is released for one day to go to Oslo for a job interview, but as he reconnects with family and friends, he feels haunted by his past and the opportunities he has lost along the way.


Shoot it up, this film
you’ll be intoxicated
then come crashing down

Grade: A-


c2013
By Daniel J. Hoag
Oslo, August 31st is available now on DVD.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1736633/?ref_=sr_1

holy motorsStarring: Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes & Kylie Minogue
Written & directed by Leos Carax

In this French fantasy, the mysterious Monsieur Oscar travels the streets of Paris in a limousine, going from appointment to appointment, each time transforming himself into a new persona for a new role.


For those who like films
deeply metaphorical
and batsh*t crazy.

Grade: A-


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
Holy Motors is playing now in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2076220/

Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian & Pierre Gruno
Written and directed by Gareth Evans

When an elite SWAT team raids an apartment building run by a vicious drug lord, they find themselves trapped and under siege by the gangster’s well armed bodyguards and tenants.


Plot dies a gory
death – but at least it’s a cool,
martial art-y death.

Grade: B


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
The Raid: Redemption is available on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1899353/

Starring: Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund & Eivind Sander
Written by Lars Gudmestad & Ulf Ryberg
Directed by Morten Tyldum

An art thief runs afoul of a vindictive mercenary.


Hell hath no fury
like that Game of Thrones guy scorned.
Plus, dog rides tractor.

Grade: B+


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
Headhunters is now playing in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1614989/
TCFF 12-18

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander & Peter Falk
Screenplay by Wim Wenders & Peter Handke
Directed by Wim Wenders

An angel desires to become human after falling in love with a trapeze artist.


We made City of
Angels
out of this. Way to
go, America.

Grade: A


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
Wings of Desire is available on Blu-ray and DVD.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093191/
TCFF 12-15

Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy & Audrey Fleurot
Written and directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano

A wealthy quadriplegic develops a strong friendship with the young man from the projects that he hires to be his caretaker.


A well-worn premise,
but constant laughs will have you
crippled with delight.

Grade: B+


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
The Intouchables is now playing in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1675434/
TCFF 12-02

Haiku Review: Elena (2011)

Starring: Nadezhda Markina, Aleksey Rozin & Elena Lyadova
Screenplay by Andrey Zvyagintsev & Oleg Negin
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

An ailing older man tells his second wife that the bulk of his substantial estate will go to his estranged daughter – a decision that causes the wife to take extreme measures in order to protect herself and her impoverished son’s family.


Pathos like only
the Russians can muster up
Chekov would be proud

Grade: B+


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
Elena is now playing in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1925421/

Starring: Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Genesis Rodriguez & Nick Offerman
Written by Andrew Steele
Directed by Matt Piedmont

A simple man must protect his father’s ranch when it is threatened by rival drug lords – one of which is his brother.


Gringo Will Ferrell
habla en español por
alguna razón.

Grade: B-


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
Casa de Mi Padre is available on Blu-ray and DVD today.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1702425/

Starring: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini & Sarina Farhadi
Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi

The separation of a married couple in Iran sets off a chain reaction of events that changes several lives forever.


Lesson: Don’t let your
divorce keep you from choosing
“the help” more wisely.

Grade: A


c2012
By Daniel J. Hoag
A Separation is playing now in select cities.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1832382/