Search Film Reviews

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What To See At NYFF51

The 51st Annual New York Film Festival has finally arrived.  Tomorrow night, Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips will have its world premiere.  This will launch two weeks of cinemania up at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's movie theaters.  This edition of the festival has a record number of films on its main slate and is heavy with films that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.  Below are brief overviews of films I've already viewed.  

Courtesy of Music Box Films
LE WEEK-END (Dir. Roger Michell) - Roger Michell's (VenusNotting Hill) exquisite new dramedy, Le Week-End, has so much to recommend from the performances to the wise screenplay by Hanif Kureishi (Venus, My Beautiful Laundrette).  The film follows a British couple (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) who decides to vacation in Paris for their 30th anniversary to give their marriage a boost.  Broadbent, Duncan, and Jeff Goldblum give some of this year's warmest and most entertaining performances, and Kureishi's screenplay is full of nuance and depth.  Music Box Films will be releasing the film in February, so see it now at NYFF, especially because there will be Q&As with cast and crew.

Courtesy of Strand Releasing
THE MISSING PICTURE (Dir. Rithy Panh) - Winner of this year's Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Rithy Panh's The Missing Picture is a haunting documentary that tells the story of his experiences during the Cambodian Genocide.  The film is told almost entirely through archival footage and stationary clay figures.  The Missing Picture is a fascinating movie that features brilliant sound design and cinematography and tells a unique story in a unique way.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
ABOUT TIME (Dir. Richard Curtis) - Richard Curtis' (Love Actually) wonderful About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, and Lindsay Duncan and tells the story of a young man whose father tells him that he can travel back in time.  While the film has some plot holes, it is so heartfelt, funny, and moving (not to mention beautifully-acted by all) that the plot holes are made up for.  This is a great piece of entertainment that should prove to be a wonderful diversion for festival-goers tired of dark dramas and documentaries.

Courtesy of Rada Film Group
AMERICAN PROMISE (Dir. Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson) - A documentary 14 years in the making, American Promise follows Brewster and Stephenson's son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, and their experiences in school from kindergarten through high school graduation.  The film examines race and how it factored into the kids experiences in school.  The film is is definitely worth viewing, as it is an interesting social document and a very moving human story.  This is one of the most ambitious films of the year, and one that nearly everyone can relate to in one way or another.

Throughout the course of the festival, I'll be reviewing A TOUCH OF SIN, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, HER, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE WIND RISES, TIM'S VERMEER, ABUSE OF WEAKNESS, the films above, and possibly a few others.  Look out for them and happy viewing!

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