Tag Archive: 2011

awakeningStarring: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West & Imelda Staunton
Screenplay by Stephen Volk and Nick Murphy
Directed by Nick Murphy

A woman who debunks supernatural hoaxes is called upon to investigate a ghost that allegedly haunts a boarding school.

I say ghosts are just
what you need to keep a school
full of brats in line.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Awakening is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

Haiku Review: Pina (2011)

pinaFeaturing: Pina Bausch
Written and directed by Wim Wenders

Director Wim Wenders pays tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch with the help of dancers from her company.

So this is what was
missing from all the modern
dance I’ve ever seen…

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Pina is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Starring: Richard Gere, Topher Grace, Stephen Moyer, Odette Yustman & Martin Sheen
Written by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas
Directed by Michael Brandt

After a U.S. Senator is murdered, a retired CIA operative teams up with a young FBI agent to hunt down a Soviet assassin who was long thought to be dead.

Cold War-era spies
return in a film that’s as
fresh as the Cold War.

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Double is available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Raid: Redemption is available on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow.

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+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Headhunters is now playing in select cities.
TCFF 12-18

Haiku Review: Jackpot (2011)

Starring: Kyrre Hellum, Henrik Mestad & Mads Ousdal
Written and directed by Magnus Martens

When four co-workers win a large sum of money, they turn on each other in order to claim a greater share of the cash.

Despite its title,
this Guy Ritchie knock-off is
not quite a windfall.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Jackpot has not yet been released in the United States.
TCFF 12-09

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+

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Intouchables is now playing in select cities.
TCFF 12-02

Featuring: Gambling Christians
Directed by Bryan Storkel

For three years, a documentary team followed around one of the largest and most well-funded card-counting blackjack teams of all time – one comprised entirely of church-going Christians.

Cards? Their real skills are
hypocrisy and moral

Grade: C+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians is available on DVD on 6/19/12.

Directed by J. Clay Tweel

This documentary follows a group of young magicians battling to win the Lance Burton Teen Stage Competition.

This contest doc has
by-the-book hocus-pocus
but little magic.

Grade: C+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Make Believe: The Battle to Become the World’s Best Teen Magician is available now on DVD.

Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly & Ezra Miller
Screenplay by Lynn Ramsay & Rory Stewart Kinnear
Directed by Lynne Ramsay

A woman struggles with the increasing malevolence of her son and must cope with the tragic consequences of his behavior.

Swinton is subtle;
the directing not so much.
Bet the book’s better.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
We Need to Talk About Kevin is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/29/12.