Published Mar 08, 2013Slowly but surely, the ground is starting to thaw and things are heating up (if only the tiniest bit). Take a look at our film review highlights below to see if there's anything you think you could warm up to, and head over to our Recently Reviewed section for a full review listing.
Sam Raimi, in a departure from the horror genre he's known for, has delivered a Wizard of Oz prequel with Oz the Great and Powerful. This film explores how Oz (James Franco), circus performer and womanizer, ends up in Emerald City on his journey to self-discovery. The special effects are big, but does the movie leave our reviewer in awe?
Niel Arden Oplev, the director who brought us the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is at it again with his new release, Dead Man Down. Driven by a revenge plot, Dead Man Down looks at the lives of bad guy Victor (Colin Farrell) and his scarred, neurotic neighbour Beatrice (Noomi Repace), who together are taking on Victor's boss and crime lord, Alphonse (Terrence Howard).
Next up is Neighbouring Sounds by Kleber Mendonca Filho. This film focuses on the mundane, day-to-day occurrences of people crammed into the quickly shrinking spaces left in Recife, Brazil. The universality of the interpersonal conflicts that arise helped to earn Neighbouring Sounds Exclaim!'s Mark of Excellence.
Thom Fitzgerald's Cloudburst is equal parts raunchy and sincere in its exploration of the lives of elderly lesbians on the run, Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dot (Brenda Fricker). When Dot, who is partially blind, ends up in the hospital and is then forced into a retirement home by her daughter, the couple go on the run. The film creates fully fleshed-out characters for our protagonists who both deliver rich performances that portray a real love and a believable likability.
Last up is Shepard & Dark, by Treva Wurmfeld, which retraces the friendship of actor/writer Sam Shepard and his best friend, Johnny Dark, through letters. This film is nostalgic and somewhat flowery yet still makes a point to examine how self-realization does not necessarily inspire change, and that ultimately, the two figures "use each other as vessels for recapturing the past."
To read the full reviews of these picks and more, check out the Recently Reviewed section at Exclaim.ca.