Tag Archives: best foreign film

2014 Oscars – Best Foreign Language Film

The Missing Picture

I reviewed The Hunt when it was released. Here’s a look at the other 4 nominees. Continue reading


Hasa Diga – “War Witch” Review


Set in an unnamed African country ravaged by civil war, War Witch tells the story of one girl’s hellish nightmare. Kidnapped by rebels at the start of the film, Komona (Rachel Mwanza) must adapt in order to withstand her brutal surroundings. It seems like every film about Africa is an unhappy toil through third-world tragedies and War Wtich is no exception. Continue reading

Life of Thor – “Kon-Tiki” Review


I knew nothing of Thor Heyerdahl before seeing Kon-Tiki, the Oscar-nominated Norwegian film that recreates his most famous expedition. In 1947, Thor had developed a theory that the Polynesian islands were originally settled by Peruvians floating on primitive rafts 1500 years ago. At the time no one would listen to Thor, but we learn very early in the movie that Thor doesn’t give up so easily. His name is Thor after all. Heyerdahl decides that the best way to be heard is to prove his theory. To do that, he builds the Kon-Tiki, a raft made solely out of material used by ancient Peruvians. He assembles a small crew and sets out on the Pacific in this classic adventure tale.

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Truth in Advertising – “NO” Review

GaelGarciaBernal - NO

In 1988, after severe foreign pressure, Chilean dictator General Pinochet held elections to legitimatize his leadership. His tenure had been known for human rights violations and all sorts of misdeeds. Dictators aren’t known to be nice people. This is all explained to us upfront before we meet Rene Saavedra a hot young ad man played by Gael Garcia Bernal. Rene is approached to help with the NO campaign opposing Pinochet. Even though Rene’s boss is working with the YES men, Rene takes the job. Most the people think it’s a sham but welcome a chance to be heard. Rene sees something they don’t in this sharp and electric film. Continue reading

Have It All – “A Royal Affair” Review

A Royal Affair is a very pleasant surprise. With that title and belonging to the costume drama genre, originality seemed like an uphill battle. It doesn’t break convention with pop songs or anachronistic details like Marie Antoinette, but it isn’t a stodgy slog either. Working heavily in its favor is the emphasis on history and politics over the non-existent love triangle. There is a love story, but it isn’t the focus. Continue reading

Hurts – “Amour” Review

Emmanuelle Riva-Amour

The latest from writer/director Michael Haneke is a terrifying sojourn into the horrors of aging. There is compassion and the “love” from the title but Amour is not a light-hearted film. It’s one of the more agonizing, but brilliant looks at the human condition I’ve seen. It’s difficult but honest, and it’s this honesty that prevents the film from feeling like a never-ending doctor’s exam. The film’s approach may be clinical, but the result is far more full of life, albeit the harrowing final days of it.  Continue reading

Teach the Children Well – “Monsieur Lazhar” Review

[Editor’s note: This is a re-post. This review was part of Bryan’s Oscar coverage, but the film just came out in limited release today.]

Monsieur Lazhar is one of those films that are so simple, if you’re not careful it will sneak up on you and knock you on your ass. This effortlessness conceals heaps of emotion. It’s not that the movie pulls the rug out from under you or deceives you, but rather gracefully brings you into its orbit. I did not find myself bowled over at the end, but I can certainly appreciate the refinement in the film’s endeavor. Continue reading

2012 Oscar Checklist – Part 5: Bullhead and Monsieur Lazhar

This checklist will take a look at two of the five foreign film nominees. I will have reviews of the others, but I wanted to get these two out now because they constitute a rarity for us. They are both early reviews!!!! Bullhead opens up today and Monsieur Lazhar doesn’t open until April. Continue reading