"A fiasco with a great first half" is what I called Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret when it was dumped in one New York theater last fall, five years after it was shot, amid a legal battle between Lonergan and a producer.
Mont Blanc (Aris Servetalis) leads a group of people who offer a peculiar service: the replacement of departed loved ones. Imitating hairstyle and favorite quotes is normal, though some in his group go so far as to re-enact more private events.
Alps, the tightly controlled burn from Dogtooth director Giorgos Lanthimos, begins with a simple image: a girl twirling a ribbon. Practicing her routine in a large gym, the rhythmic gymnast (Ariane Labed) moves powerfully, spinning and tumbling across the mats in choreography set to "O Fortuna." She finishes, but as she complains to her coach, a middle-aged track-suit-wearing type (Johnny Vekris), the routine just isn't working — she'd rather be doing a pop song. She's ready for pop, she insists.
Jay (Riz Ahmed) meets Trishna while sightseeing in her village and persuades her to move with him to Mumbai. A composite character created by Winterbottom, he's drawn from the two opposing love interests in Thomas Hardy's novel.
"Do you think you'll have to pay a high price for your mistakes?"
That line is spoken on an Indian game show watched by Trishna, the title character of Michael Winterbottom's subcontinental rethink of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
The penalties for mistakes on the game show are only monetary in nature, of course. For Trishna, the costs of her errors in judgment are measured on an entirely different scale. This being a Hardy story, you can count on this: They'll be high, and they'll be unpleasant.
Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen, left) is the close, possibly intimate, friend of Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) — and the two are the bane of the approaching revolutionaries in Farewell, My Queen.
In 1995's A Single Girl, probably his best known film in the U.S., Benoit Jacquot tracks a young chambermaid through one workday as she ponders a big decision. The French writer-director's smart and ultimately wrenching Farewell, My Queen takes a similar course — only this time the protagonist toils for Queen Marie Antoinette, and the story opens on July 14, 1789.
Frederic Bourdin, played here by Adam O'Brian in a reenactment, is the subject of The Imposter, a movie about how the French-born Bourdin pretended to be missing Texan Nicholas Barclay, a boy six years younger.
On June 13, 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay went missing from his home outside San Antonio, Texas.
Nearly four years later, his family received a phone call from Linares, Spain, informing them that their son had been found, scared and confused; the U.S. Embassy made arrangements for the Barclays to reunite with him and bring him back home.
And that's exactly what happened: Nicholas' sister hopped on a plane, drove to the orphanage and embraced a reticent teenager who'd been changed profoundly by age and some unknown, unspeakable trauma.
In Red Lights, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) is a psychic who comes out of retirement and poses a threat to two academics, Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), who are wary of all claims to the supernatural.
Of all the hustlers who present cheap tricks as "magic," few are more shameless than filmmakers. Under the cover of "It's only a movie," directors and screenwriters exhort the gullible to believe in ghosts, telekinesis, extraterrestrials and such.
In Union Square, Jenny (Tammy Blanchard, left) gets a surprise visit from her estranged sister, Lucy (Mira Sorvino), an emotional train wreck whose outsize personality clashes with Jenny's carefully constructed self-image.
The Mira Sorvino who won an Oscar for her full-bodied twist on the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold type in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite resurfaces in Union Square, a micro-budget indie that calls for a similar brand of New York brassiness.
Singer-songwriter and classical guitarist Michael Johnson makes his second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn. During his set, Johnson shares a heartfelt story about how his life was recently changed for the better when he reunited with his adult daughter — a story turned on its head later in the evening by born joker Cheryl Wheeler, creating a running gag that persisted throughout Mountain Stage's stay in Grand Marais.