Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LORE

Director: Cate Shortland

Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Ursina Lardi, Kai Malina, Ursina Lardi, Nele Trebs

A slow moving story about the loss of innocence set in Germany post Holocaust. It follows the lives of a family of children struggling in the wake of WWII to comprehend what just happened. Based on Rachel Seiffert’s novel, The Dark Room the story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl, Hannelore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her younger siblings Liesel (Nele Trebs), twin boys Jurgen (Mika Seidel), Gunther (Andre Frid) and babe-in-arms Peter. The children’s father is an S.S. officer (Hans-Jochen Wagner) who is arrested and as her Hitler-revering mother (Ursina Lardi) surrenders Lore is told to take her siblings to their grandmother in Hamburg. It is a 500-mile trek across a country in chaos. The group confronts death, deprivation but survive with the help of a young Jewish refugee Thomas (Kai-Peter Malina). Lore’s deeply instilled distrust of Jews makes for an ambivalent relationship between the maturing teenagers as Lore taxes to deal with the consequences of Nazi exploits, her parents’ accountability, and her own prejudices. English subtitles and pure arthouse.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3 : Dog Days

Director: David Bowers

Starring: Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Robert Capron, Peyton List, Devon Bostick

Based on Jeff Kinney's popular illustrated novels this is the third in the series of the franchise "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." Dog Days again sees pre teen Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon,) persuing girls whilst trying to keep his dad (Steve Zahn) off his back. Same old same old with best friend, Rowley (Robert Capron), Holly Hills (Peyton List), his schoolgirl crush, and his older sibling and nemesis Rodrick (Devon Bostick ) . Good performances from the cast with clever use of the rudimentary stick-figures to knit the narrative together. What you get is what you see here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Director: Wes Anderson

Starring: Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray

Two young children Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) are misunderstood by the adults in his or her life and make a pact to run away together. This sets off a hectic search during a hurricane in the summer of 1965. Sue’s parents played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand are too busy to care about each other let alone Suzy; and Sam is an orphan cast out by his faster parents. A sweetly compassionate tale of troubled kids and young love is all the more enjoyable with great support from Ed Norton (Ward) as the chain-smoking leader of Sam's Khaki Scout troop. Bruce Willis as the town's lonely, well-meaning sheriff. Tilda Swinton as an officious bureaucrat and Bob Balaban is an elfin narrator. Sam and Suzy confront death, abandonment and burgeoning sexuality in very real terms but the lyrical blend of wit, whimsy and woe makes ths a joy to watch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wunderkinder

Director: Marcus Rosenm├╝ller

Starring: Imogen Burrell, Elin Kolev, Mathilda Adamik, Gudrun Landgrebe, Catherine H. Flemming, Kai Wiesinger, Konstantin Wecker

A moving and absorbing drama set in the village of Poltava in central Ukraine during 1941 just as the Germans invade Russia. Told in flashback the Jewish children Larissa Brodsky (Imogen Burrell) and Abrascha Kaplan (Elin Kolev) form a pact with Hanna Reich (Mathilda Adamik), the daughter of a wealthy German brewer. Abrascha is a gifted violist, Larissa plays the piano and Hanna plays the violin, and all share the same teacher, Irina (Gudrun Landgrebe), who is Jewish. Hanna’s mother Helga (Catherine H. Flemming) disapproves of fraternizing with the Jewish children but her father Max (Kai Wiesinger) is more enlightened. Initially because of the close connection of their children ( Wunderkinder0, the two Jewish families bravely provide shelter for the Reich family but when the Nazis reach Poltava and begin deporting Jews, Max Reich tries to save as many as he can. Good performances including a chilling portrayal of SS Colonel Schartow by Konstantin Wecker who forces the two Jewish kids literally play for their lives. Excellent score in this movie dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.