Floride **** (vo French)
Jean Rochefort, the veteran French actor, is probably one of the most charming men anywhere. Growing more attractive with age, his elegance of manner, his abundant grey mane, chic attire and naughty humor make one laugh along with him. In this film he plays a man quite like himself, one in his mid-80s, who is gently losing grip on reality. This tale of a head- strong father, doting daughter (the wonderful Sandrine Kiberlain), along with the ghost of a second daughter who lives in Florida, is by Philippe Le Guay, who last made the superb Alceste à bicyclette. Set in the environs of Annecy, this gem of a film will make you chuckle while pondering the ravages of time…
Victoria **** (vo German and English)
This film about a sweet young Spanish girl new to Berlin’s night life is astounding in many aspects: its naturalistic acting by all the characters, the utterly gripping storyline about one night’s innocent encounters turning into a dangerous heist, and the fact that it was filmed in only one take. Just imagine, the whole film is never cut, with the camera following Victoria in every scene, with no editing, whatsoever. For its innovative brilliance it swept almost all the prizes at the 2015 German Film Awards, including best actress for Laia Costa and best director for Sebastian Schipper. Catch it before it’s gone!
Dheepan ***1/2 (vo French)
This fine and relevant work by Jacques Audiard, about Tamil refugees who pose as a family and end up in a French banlieue, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. With daily news about the horrendous refugee problems around the world, this is an important and unique inside view of the humans behind the headlines.
Southpaw (La rage au ventre) ***
Once again Jake Gyllenhaal proves he is an exceptional actor. In this boxing tale by Antoine Fuqua about glory, failure and redemption, he has pumped himself up into a fighting machine that comes back with a vengeance. Forrest Whitaker is also excellent as his trainer. Despite mediocre reviews, I found it powerful and compelling.
We Are Your Friends ***
The angel-faced Zach Efron plays a young man whose passion is music and the new, creative art of DJ-ing. He and his geeky friends in the lowly San Fernando Valley in California scrounge around odd jobs to support their wild nights until he attracts the favor of a top DJ in LA. Here’s a film about fame, friendship, love and talent – sort of a modern-day Saturday Night Fever. Geared towards the young crowd, its honesty and energy will have any audience interested and literally blown away by its finale…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars