Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Category: Film Page 1 of 5

Film Note | The Eagle Huntress

… minority opinion? … 

Some Kazakhs in Mongolia use eagles to hunt wild animals, who knew?  i.e.,  the material is totally new to most of us so that’s what’s interesting.  But it’s not really a good movie. 

Film Note | The Theory of Everything (2014) | With Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones | Directed by James Marshal

The Theory of Everything is a “must see” but not a “rave.”

The true story of physicist Stephen Hawking is powerful and inspiring:  he has overcome gruesome physical obstacles and beat seemingly impossible odds to lead a productive and creative career as a physicist, while enjoying a rich personal life and having three children. And Eddie Redmayne’s characterization of Hawking, a man brutally robbed by illness of motor control and speech, is beyond belief great. The disease that felled Hawking as a young man in college is ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Lou Gherig’s disease: at the time he was stricken he was told he had two years to live but he’s alive today and in his early 70’s (which made me wonder about the diagnosis although I’m sure he’s been tested and re-tested and they must know).

Film Note | Kon-Tiki | Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg | With Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen as Thor Heyerdahl | From Norway

Kon-Tiki is one of the world’s great stories — not so well told in this movie BUT the story is SO good it’s worth seeing the movie anyhow.

It’s an astonishingly audacious adventure.  The Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 crossed the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia in a raft to prove a scientific point. 

Film Note | Simon and the Oaks | With Bill Skarsgard, Helen Sjoholm, Jan Josef Liefers, Stefan Godicke | Directed by Lisa Ohlin | Swedish with English Subtitles | Based on the Novel by Marianne Fredericksson

. . . not a dragon tattoo but a . . .

Simon and the Oaks is about two families with characters so vivid, attractive and complex that one becomes totally absorbed in them, worries for the obstacles they face and cares to the very end about how things work out for them.

Two families, very much opposite, are drawn tightly together on the eve of World War II:   the rural, home-grown Swedish Larssons and the urban, well-to-do, Jewish Lentovs who are in Sweden as fugitives from Nazi Germany.  Each family has one son, who feels alienated from the expectations of his own family and, friends in school, the boys Simon Larsson and Isak Lentov are each powerfully drawn to something in the other’s family.

Dance Review | The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys | Written and Directed by Pete and Will Anderson | 59E59 Theaters

For a thoroughly enjoyable time, go see The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys at 59E59.

The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys

Here’s how it goes:  it’s not a theater, for the time being, but a nightclub from the 1920’s or ‘30’s, think speakeasy, draped in red with little round candle-lit tables instead of regular audience seating — if you like you can bring a drink you’ve picked up at the Mezzanine bar down below.  Settle yourself in and listen to six wonderful musicians play jazz like Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, interspersed with hilarious clips from the 1947 film about the Dorsey brothers in which the Dorseys played themselves — how fascinating — and it gives you just enough of the story line of their lives for fun and interest without taking away from the great jazz the band is playing. 

Film Note | To Rome With Love | Written and Directed by Woody Allen

… keep laughing, Clown …

With breathtakingly beautiful photography — and the people are as fascinating to see as the city — Woody Allen weaves together stories of lovers, Romans and visitors against the background of Rome.  As Allen, who acts in the film, tells us — along with a few other things he wants us to know — it’s colored with a sweet nostalgia.

Film Note | The Intouchables | Starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy | Directed by Olivier Nakache and Erik Toledano | French with English Subtitles

 … opposites attract …

This movie is a delight.  The Intouchables is about a hugely rich French man who became paraplegic in an accident and hires against the odds a big Black man originally from Senegal to be his caregiving man — his arms and legs essentially and to take care of him in every way — and the liberation they each bring to each other in their different ways.  It’s a comedy, with lots of joyous laughs and continually interesting characters.  The photography is stunning, with the contrast between the totally gorgeous rich house, and the child-crammed chaotic apartment in the housing projects of the Paris suburbs where the Black man’s family lives powerfully well described.

Film Note | The Iron Lady | With Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher, Alexandra Roach as the Young Margaret and Harry Lloyd as the Young Denis

There’s one reason to see this film: Meryl Streep. The Iron Lady follows Britain’s Margaret Thatcher from aspiring politician to political powerhouse, from loving wife to grieving widow.  Streep brings to this range of life experience her power to move one with the slightest tilt of her head, to convey inner experience with the minuscule shift of the direction of her eyes.  By the end of the film, one feels one has been enlarged and touched by the depth with which one has shared the full life of another human being from the inside.  We feel we know what it felt like. That makes the movie a great pleasure to experience.

Film Note | The Artist | Written and Directed by Michel Hazanavicius | Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, and That Wonderful Dog

This is as good a movie as I’ve ever seen or ever hope to see.  And it’s such a surprise.

It’s filmed in black and white and as a silent film, about a silent film star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), whose name suggests Valentino and who looks enough like Douglas Fairbanks to pass as Zorro — the first Zorro — in a film clip.  It’s not totally silent, though, and the occasional break-throughs to sound are so clever and witty you could squeeze them tight with happy gratitude.   And then there’s the brilliant use here and there of silent film captions like the one where … well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.

Film Note | Contracorriente / Undertow by Javier Fuentes-Leon | Starring Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo and Manolo Cardona | Spanish with English Subtitles

… against the current …

Undertow, a wonderful simple film, focuses on a modest town where a modern perspective starts to crack open a closed village society.  I came across this film, knowing nothing about it, on HBO’s On Demand, and found myself swept up in its direct beauty.

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