Film Review

Hany Abu-Assad: Being a Savior is a Burden

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards," noted Soren Kierkgaard, but what if you don't see much of a future for yourself and those around you? Will you just become mired in the past? That's the plight of many of the characters in the critically acclaimed offerings of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, whose contentious works have twice been nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscars: Paradise Now in 2006 and Omar in 2014.

Not Everybody Wants Some

Everybody Wants Some directed and written by the Texas-based Richard Linklater, and billed as "the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused," is not very good. First and foremost it lacks any real narrative. It's more of a tone poem on a place and time in history. In this case, the year is 1980 and the campus is an East Texas college and horn-dogs of that college's baseball team -- a collection of predictable cliches that we've seen better served in better period piece comedies. It's not nearly as funny as Animal House or insightful or enlightening. Look, I was in my senior year of college in 1980 and in a fraternity much hornier and crazier than this fictitious baseball team.  

The Club

Pablo Larraín's latest release, The Club, has been the recipient of a variety of awards including the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Best Film at Fantastic Fest, Chile's official Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film 2016. Diving into the secretive world of religious exile, Larraín investigates the shrouded lives of 4 men with existence-shattering pasts, whose futures are both stifled and protected by the Catholic Church.

Amos Gitai’s Rabin, The Last Day: The Moment Israeli Society Went Kaboom!

Amos Gitai. If you can recall when Vincent D'Onofrio was sexy, Gitai has that sort of confrontational charm. He turns you on while he sets you on edge, even at age 66.

One of Israel's most prolific directors, this constant provocateur has let loose with over 80 shorts, documentaries and narratives since 1972, many of them exploring Israel in an acutely critical manner, from Orthodox misogyny (Kadosh (1999)) to his war experiences during which he was wounded (Kippur (2000) ), to a story of a residence, from its Arab owners to the Israelis who took ownership (House (1980)). The latter documentary was made for Israeli TV but was deemed inappropriate, and if Gitai hadn't smuggled it out of the station, it would have been destroyed.