Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Entries Tagged as 'Review'

Don’t Move

June 1st, 2010 · No Comments

Sergio Castellitto is a fine actor. And I mean fine in the sense of “superb,” rather than “passable.” He is excellent here as the deeply flawed central character, as is his co-star, an astoundingly unglamorous, often homely, Penelope Cruz. The two play rather unconventional lovers whose relationship is replayed in the mind of Castelitto’s [...]

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Tags: Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Romance

Together Again

May 29th, 2010 · No Comments

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Tags: Comedy · Review · Romance


October 15th, 2009 · No Comments

My favorite film from the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother, doesn’t so much defy classification as much as it conglomerates genres in a way that seems as unusual as it is natural. Those who have seen Bong’s 2006 sea monster romp, The Host, will sense an immediate familiarity with Bong’s blending of [...]

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Tags: Comedy · Director · Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Thriller


October 12th, 2009 · No Comments

The prologue to Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s latest cinematic provocation, is among the most moving, sumptuous, beautiful imagery ever set to a score and projected for an audience. Washed in a blue monochrome, the slow-motion sequence both takes your breath away and paralyzes you. It is so beautiful, in fact, that it nearly anesthetizes you [...]

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Tags: Director · Drama · Horror · Review

Red Cliff

October 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Aside from being a kind and gracious soul (as displayed again at his appearance tonight at the film’s North American debut at the Chicago International Film Festival), John Woo is a talented filmmaker. He is well known for the visual flourish he brings to action sequences, which is tirelessly put to use is Red Cliff, [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Director · Drama · Ensemble · Foreign Language · Review · Romance · War

The Girl on the Train

October 9th, 2009 · No Comments

One of the nicest things about a film festival is the surprise delight, if you are bold enough to take a chance on a film and lucky enough for it to pay off. Not that choosing The Girl on the Train as the first film to see at the Chicago International Film Festival was that big [...]

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Tags: Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Romance · Thriller


October 7th, 2009 · No Comments

Director Carlos Reygadas doesn’t have a very simple explanation for why he entitled his feature film debut Japón, given that the film is set in Mexico and populated by Mexican characters who do not do or say anything remotely Asian. Reygadas claims that the title captures the film’s tone, revealing his own broad conception of [...]

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Tags: Drama · Foreign Language · Review

Chicago Overcoat

October 7th, 2009 · 3 Comments

While a lot of attention will be given to the fact that director Brian Caunter and his Columbia College Chicago colleagues landed the very recognizable Frank Vincent (The Sopranos, Goodfellas, etc.) for their feature debut, I was more excited to see the late cameo by Stacey Keach. There wasn’t an art house cinema in my hometown, [...]

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Tags: Crime/Noir · Review

Battle In Heaven

September 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Battle in Heaven is my introduction to Mexican Director Carlos Reygadas. Over the last several years, I have had an unseen copy of his feature directorial debut, Japon (2002), both on VHS tape from cable (since discarded) and on a DVR recording (on two different systems that have since been replaced). After experiencing Battle in [...]

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Tags: Director · Drama · Foreign Language · Review

The Class

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Hearing clapping at the end of a film is unusual these days (in most American cinemas, anyway, outside of special screenings with actors or filmmakers in attendance). Hearing clapping at the end of a film screening in my home theater is more unusual. That kind of expression seems a little silly, especially when the “audience” [...]

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Tags: Drama · Ensemble · Foreign Language · Review

Inglourious Basterds

August 18th, 2009 · 4 Comments

If the societal revenge flick genre didn’t exist before, it does now with Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, a multi-threaded re-imagining in which Hitler and the Nazis get what’s coming a lot sooner than historical truth and, as one would expect from the reining cineaste auteur, with a visual and narrative flourish that no one could [...]

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Tags: Action/Adventure · Director · Drama · Foreign Language · Review · Thriller · War

Breaking and Entering

August 6th, 2009 · No Comments

Breaking and Entering, the last film by director Anthony Minghella before his tragic early death, has so much going for it on its surface that it’s true value — the ideas that lie underneath — almost go undetected. That just might be the definition for the ideal of entertainment cinema. The surface here is adorned [...]

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Tags: Director · Drama · Review · Romance

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

August 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

And the award for the most misguided holocaust drama goes to . . . The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This film is so misguided in its concept, it’s story, it’s motivations, and it’s message that it would have been a great consolation had the acting and production design also been poor. Sadly, though, David [...]

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Tags: Drama · Review · War

Two Lovers

July 30th, 2009 · 3 Comments

If Two Lovers is indeed Joaquin Phoenix’s last film, it contains a final performance he can be proud of (if, based upon his bizarre public appearances, he even cares). Likewise, we are treated to fine performances by Gweneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw as the titular competing interests for the affection of Phoenix’s Leonard, a young man with [...]

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Tags: Drama · Review · Romance

Who Killed the Electric Car?

July 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

The conspiratorial story of the seemingly cannibalistic demise General Motor’s EV1 and a handful of other cars that you’ve never heard of (despite their having been manufactured within the last decade) is taylor-made for a compelling documentary. What a shame, then, that this documentary isn’t more compelling. Nonetheless, the story is so important, and the [...]

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Tags: Documentary · Review