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Review: Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe

— by BEV QUESTAD —

“Farewell to Europe,” Austria’s official nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, begins in an opulent diningroom in Brazil where five maids scurry to finish setting a gigantic table laden with exotic flowers. This was 1936, when coffee, rubber and cocoa were Brazil’s most popular exports and Europe was flailing around in an economic depression and growing national extremism. The extravagant dinner was to honor Stefan Zweig, writer-in-exile.

Comparing this film to current times, Kathleen B. Jones wrote in the Los Angeles Review of Books (2/27/2017) this biopic “couldn’t be more appropriate to our moment, when the rise of right-wing nationalist populism in Europe and the United States threatens both the utopian ideal of peace and the social fabric of pluralism and cosmopolitanism to which Zweig devoted his life.” (CONTINUED)


Review: Chuck

— by RON WILKINSON — Nobody who saw director Philippe Falardeau’s award winning “Monsieur Lazhar” in 2011 would have imagined this. “Lazhar” was followed by two more touchy-feely up close and personal films about unique immigrant experiences. “Chuck,” which premiered at NYC’s 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, is the polar opposite. Born and bred in New […][...]


Review: Cardinal X

— by RON WILKINSON — In this coming of age thriller — written and directed by Angie Wang — the character of Angie, played by Annie Q., is based on the real-life experiences of the writer/director when she was an incoming freshman at a prestigious southern California university. Coming from a disadvantaged background, her college […][...]


Review: Afterimage

— by BEV QUESTAD — “Where can I find Dr. Strzeminski?” asks an eager new student at an art field trip. Flopping down on his stomach, Strzeminski rolls down the hill above her. His students shout out and roll in gay laughter down the mountainside as well. Władysław Strzeminski was known as the greatest Polish […][...]


Review: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

— by RON WILKINSON — The family-run bank Abacus became the only bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Like the crisis itself, this is a story of government, and banking, mismanagement. There is fault enough to go around. However, there is a depth to this movie that moves […][...]


Review: The Wall

— by RON WILKINSON — More psychological thriller than war movie, “The Wall” is a tense, atmospheric cat-and-mouse story that carries broad undercurrents of the cultural and religious war in the Middle East. American snipers Isaac (Aaron Taylor Johnson of “Nocturnal Animals”) and Matthews (John Cena of “Trainwreck”) are dispatched to stake out the scene […][...]


Review: Take Me

— by RON WILKINSON — New director Pat Healy comes out swinging, or whining, in this very funny take on the genre of the kidnapping gone terribly wrong. Having had its world premiere April 25 at NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival, Healy co-stars with the redoubtable Taylor Schilling from the smash hit “Orange is the New […][...]


Review: Harold and Lillian

— by BEV QUESTAD — Considered a secret weapon by movie industry professionals, Lillian Michelson explains that she and her husband worked as a team for 60 years on films like “The Ten Commandments,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Spartacus,” “The Graduate,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Rocky,” “West Side Story” and […][...]


Review: The Student

— by RON WILKINSON — Writer/director Kirill Serebrennikov dives headfirst into the adolescent mind in an entreaty for understanding, and, well, common sense. Student Veniamin Yuzhin (Pyotr Skvortsov) is having a bad day and it is up to his science teacher, Elena (Viktoriya Isakova), to stop it. Or, as she says, to stop the minor […][...]