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Cristian Mungiu is the writer and director for “Graduation,” a Romanian language film set in a Transylvanian town and focuses on a doctor and his family. The simple summary is reflective of the incredibly realistic film. The doctor, Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni), is incredibly concerned with getting his daughter, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus) to take her final exams and go to university in the United Kingdom, where she has scholarships already set up. Romeo is so concerned with this that he forces his daughter to take the exams even after she was assaulted and nearly raped the day before the exam begins. “Graduation” follows Romeo on a deep rabbit hole as he tries to do what he thinks is best, bribing and doing favors for those higher up in the education sphere.
Louis C.K. has always been a maestro of humor, and Netflix decided to capitalize on this opportunity by enlisting him to perform his seventh hour-long special for them. Seven is a staggering number for the amount of taped stand-up specials a comedian can have. That said, Louis C.K. delivers just as he has throughout his career.
For most film franchises, rarely is the sequel better than the original. But for the “Fast & Furious” franchise, which will release its eighth action-packed, thrilling and well-acted installment on April 14, the latest addition to the action series is by far one of the exceptions.
“Truman” is a film about two old friends who are seeing each other for likely the last time. Julián (Ricardo Darín) is married with kids in Canada, and flies to meet his friend Tomás (Javier Cámara) who lives in Madrid. Tomás lives with his dog, Truman, who he loves like a second son. He recently decided to stop chemotherapy treatment for his lung cancer, and is coming to terms with dying. Julián supports his friend in his decision, and they spend the next few days enjoying each other’s company.
“Gifted” explores the relationship and love between an uncle and niece who live together in Florida. When the niece, Mary Adler (McKenna Grace), begins first grade, she stuns her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) when she can complete complex math problems. The film follows the relationship between uncle Frank Adler (Chris Evans) and his niece in this non-traditional family during a custody battle to determine the future of the child.
“The Lost City of Z,” director James Gray’s latest film, based on the 2009 non-fiction bestseller of the same name by author David Grann, follows British explorer Percy Fawcett at the dawn of the 20th century as he manages family, duty to country and his wanderlust for a mysterious Amazonian city.
I have never been to a movie where barf bags have been supplied, but that all changed with “Raw.” This French-Belgian horror film is about an innocent girl trying to adjust to the tumultuous life of veterinarian school. Directed by French director Julia Ducournau, it has won many awards in film festivals throughout Europe.
The Japanese film “After the Storm” tackles the popular subject of a dysfunctional family with divorced parents and a struggling father. Director Hirokazu Koreeda follows the life of Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), who has just experienced the death of his father and is struggling with seeing his son, who is in the care of his ex-wife. Ryota wrote a famous, award-winning novel over a decade ago and has fallen on hard times, gambling away what little money he received from his private detective job or borrowing from his sister or mother. “After the Storm” discusses multiple questions that surround Ryota’s life: “How do I want my son to know me?” “Who do I want to be?” “What do I want to be remembered for?”
Set immediately after World War I, French director François Ozon’s film examines fractured relationships between nations through the lens of a young German woman named Anna, her fiancé Frantz who dies in the war and a French man named Adrien who mysteriously shows up in town. The film flips back and forth between present day, memories of Frantz and flashbacks to the war. “Frantz” begins as a story about love lost and betrayal but slowly evolves into a film about new beginnings, forbidden love and moving beyond prejudice.
It seems inevitable for us that we misremember our own histories. We are, after all, selfish and forgetful beings. And, as a character says in director Ritesh Batra’s “The Sense of an Ending,” “history is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” For Tony, the protagonist of the film, his own recollections - about himself and his past - are challenged when he is unexpectedly inherits money and a diary from his college lover’s mother, Sarah (Emily Mortimer).
The 89th Academy Awards aired on the last Sunday in February and it was a night filled with great speeches, stunning performances and an unforgettable “Steve Harvey-esque” flub. The event has evolved over the last 20 years, keeping pace with natural evolution but also as a result of serious criticism and complaints. While the changes have been welcomed by many of the participants and their fans, inequities seem to persist and the Oscars will likely continue to evolve.
Another princess tale has been adapted from the original Disney cartoon to live action film, and in this case, done excellently. “Beauty and the Beast” was both nostalgic and offered some new context to this beloved story.
“Kong: Skull Island” wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, while also setting a new bar for the genre in nearly every aspect of filmmaking: score, cinematography and cultivating likeable, A-list actors with genuine chemistry and charisma.
“My Life as a Zucchini” is a well appreciated break in this oversaturated market of animated children’s movies. The only Oscar-nominated animated film with a PG-13 rating, Claude Barras does not veil the awkward yet dire situation of these children in his first feature length film. This is not a children’s movie at all. “My Life as a Zucchini” follows the life of Icare, a 9-year-old nicknamed Courgette (the French word for zucchini).
So, when we were at the midway point of The Young Pope, there were a handful of ways the show could have ended. Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), also known as Lenny Belardo, asserted himself as an infallible figure isolated in the Vatican. This all changes in the last five episodes.
Jordan Peele has made a name for himself working on and starring in the famous sketch show Key and Peele. Now, he has officially made his directorial debut with 2017’s horror-comedy “Get Out.”
"Kedi" follows the relationships of seven stray cats living in Istanbul and the relationships those cats have with the people living around them. Much of the film is shot at the same height as the cats, showing the beauty of Istanbul from a cat’s perspective. There are close up shots of the cats’ eyes and ears, and just as those who live with these animals on a daily basis claim, viewers begin to see each cat’s individual personalities throughout the movie.
“Logan” is the culmination of the Wolverine spinoff trilogy, and most likely Hugh Jackman’s last time playing the beloved comic book mutant, a role he became synonymous with over his 17-year stint.
"Fist Fight" is a comedy about a fight between two male teachers on the last day at a public high school. Charlie Day, known for his role as Charlie in "It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia," plays pushover English teacher Andy Campbell. He is challenged by the aggressive history teacher Ron Strickland, played by Ice Cube. The film follows Andy Campbell’s day leading up to the feared fight. He tries to figure out a way to get out of fighting Ron Strickland, go to a teacher’s meeting where his job is on the line and perform with his daughter at her talent show. The reasons for the fight change over the course of film, as the drama of the last day of school builds.
Epic battles, grotesque monsters and stunning visuals define “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Andy Lau and Willem Dafoe. The story features two European mercenaries, William (Damon) and Tovar (Pascal), who travel to China’s Great Wall with the goal of acquiring the famed Black Powder, a legendary powder said to be extraordinarily powerful.