Author Archive: rosenblum.paul

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Climates

Climates

| March 1, 2007

In the magnificent opening pre-credit sequence of this quietly confident and masterful film from director Ceylan, parcelled out to an awestruck audience through precise composition and spatial placement of figure in frame is all the visual information we need to assess the troubled emotional and spiritual state of central couple Isa (director Ceylan ) an […]

Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering

| January 8, 2007

The balefully shrill cry of a fox reverberates uneasily throughout an upscale London neighbourhood, an apt metaphor for director Minghella’s study of the increasingly tense alignment of native wealth and ethnic immigrant economic disenfranchisement in rapidly developing sections of the capital, in this case the gentrification of the formerly destitute King’s Cross area. Not exactly […]

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Snow Cake

Snow Cake

| December 10, 2006

A demonstratively afflicted character acts as manna for the hungry performer, and that appeal can often drag him or her into some flagrant displays of a type of emotional pornography, the performance nothing more than a meretricious collection of tics and mannerisms. I’m happy to report that in the case of this very affecting chamber […]

Shortbus

Shortbus

| December 10, 2006

If a viewer can breach his/her discomfort (and prejudices) in regards to un-simulated onscreen sex (in all its variables) director Mitchell’s study of the riotous foibles and fumblings of a questing group of anxious New Yorkers pushes past coitus into unexpectedly tender and sweet terrain. It’s quite an accomplishment given that the film opens with […]

Severance

Severance

| December 10, 2006

“Creep”, Smith’s first feature (which I caught on DVD as it had a meagre U.S. theatrical release) had a verve and ingenuity that belied its budgetary constraints – “Run, Lola, Run’s” Franka Potente was menaced by the titular character throughout one very long evening locked inside the tunnels and platforms of the London underground tube […]

Children of Men

Children of Men

| December 10, 2006

The future shock of director Cuaron’s sci-fi film (set in Britain) is not in the traditional vision of bold technological advance and evolutionary breakthrough; rather, it’s in presenting visually the bleak, blighted consequence if current modes of thought and sensitivities surrounding ethnic tensions, and the self-righteous, arrogant policies of a governing body that has steadily […]

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Pan’s Labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth

| December 10, 2006

Not your average Disney fantasy (although Disney could trade in dark when needed, but softly), director Guillermo del Toro’s visual marvel is an inquiry into the use (and misuse) of the imagination as both salvation and destructive, abjectly inefficient flight and retreat from direct confrontation with present circumstance. Dreamy, bookish Ofelia (Ivana Baquero, concentrated and […]

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Harsh Times

Harsh Times

| December 10, 2006

Nerve-janglingly intense, director David Ayer’s brutally visceral study of lost male souls careening through the mean streets of a blistering, derelict L.A. (with a would-be idyllic interlude across the border into Mexico shattered by one’s increasing instability) is a savagely observed, passionately unflinching portrayal of masculine meltdown. As the environment is torn straight out of […]

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

| December 10, 2006

Opening on a bucolic scene of politely dressed boys playing a lightly raucous game of hurling, verdant hills and fields cosily surrounding them, as if the very Earth itself was cradling its chosen children in its ample, fulsome bosom, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to settle into a patch of postcard blarney […]

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Offside

Offside

| December 10, 2006

In the dictionary I consulted, offside is defined as “in a position where you are not allowed to play the ball in sports.” I tend to regard its meaning as “out of bounds” or “not in play,” which certainly seems apropos to the group of beleaguered women director Jafar Panahi follows in this light-hearted but […]