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Review: Memoir of War

— by BEV QUESTAD — Based on Marguerite Duras’s memoir, this excellent film tells the story of those waiting for the return of their loved ones who had been taken to WWII death camps. Some arrested returned, yet others did not. What was life like for those who waited? How did they cope with the […][...]

Review: I Am Vengeance

— by RON WILKINSON — Ex-mercenary turned soldier, or soldier turned ex-mercenary, or mercenary turned gangster. There are lots of ways a writer/director can turn the trope. In the end none of them work but because they have all been done far too many times before. In writer/director Ross Boyask’s stab at the black knight […][...]

Review: Gavagai

— by BEV QUESTAD — A handsomely thin German businessman comes to the forested Telemark region of Norway anxious about his mission and in the first stages of grief. Surreal images of his deceased Chinese wife come to him when he is alone. She is dressed in colorful flowing Mandarin robes and exotic headdresses. She […][...]

Review: Puzzle

— by RON WILKINSON — A middle-aged mom finds herself, sets herself free, and in the process sets her family free as well. In a wonderful twist of plot, the screenplay is set in the context of a world class jigsaw puzzle competition, when the central message has nothing to do with that. There is […][...]

Review: The Captain

— by RON WILKINSON — If you think war is hell, see what happens when it stops. Like Tammany Hall’s Boss Tweed, Nazi deserter Willi Herold saw his opportunities and took them. Based on a true story, writer/director Robert Schwentke turns his back on the “Saving Private Ryan” fireworks and focuses on the filthy drudgery […][...]

Review: Dynamite Graffiti

— by RON WILKINSON — A woman walks on hesitant feet to a secret appointment at a humble shed in a dark forest. She is lightly dressed, the clothes she wears functional more than cosmetic. She is pretty, and her lover waits for her with great anticipation. When she arrives, several pounds of high explosives […][...]

Review: Wanda

— by RON WILKINSON — Take yourself back to that wondrous time in American cinema before special effects, mind-bashing soundtracks and explosive car chases. Barbara Loden put this masterpiece together in 1970 for a budget of essentially zero compared to present-day numbers. In a production stripped to the bone, there is no soundtrack other than […][...]

Review: Liverleaf

— by RON WILKINSON — The trouble with getting even is that once you get started, it can be hard to stop. Haruka has plenty of reasons to get even, being bullied relentlessly by the bad girls at her new school. Appeals to the zombie like teachers go nowhere. After all, the school is closing […][...]

Review: Neomanila

— by RON WILKINSON — Teen Toto shuffles to the crowded, seething Manila jail to see his brother. He is met with routine slurs and insults by the police and grudgingly offered a chance to see his Kiko who is imprisoned for criminal gang crimes. Whispering the latest news of disappeared friends, Toto hands Kiko […][...]

Review: The Blood of Wolves

— by RON WILKINSON — There is hot water in Hiroshima as maverick cop Ogami does it his way. A firm believer in tit for tat, Ogami has seen the “Dirty Harry” movies and knows how to handle punks. Too bad for his young sidekick Hioka, he handles college grad rookies the same way. Set […][...]