RATING: 3 clever Tony Stark quips out of 5
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle
Let me just start by saying how tempted I was to rate this movie 5/5 simply because it begins with the beloved (by me) 90’s classic “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65, and I have a depp affinity for the truly terrible music of my youth. This was definitely the best of Marvel’s Avengers universe movies with a stellar cast and a director/writer (Shane Black) who creates a much tighter superhero movie than Joss Whedon, in my opinion.
In Iron Man 3 movie, the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back in his So-Cal pad, but he’s still a shaken after The Avengers‘ New York City alien invasion. Stark’s case of post-traumatic stress disorder leaves him tinkering away in his workshop at night instead of sleeping and puts a strain on his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Lo, there’s no rest for the weary as a new global terrorist known as the Madarin (Ben Kinsley) sets his sights on the United States of America and it’s up to Stark to save the world. Again.
Let’s start with the good. Paul Bettany as Tony Stark’s computer/butler/best friend JARVIS continues to be my favourite thing about this series; he’s the perfect straight man to the always over-the-top Stark. The action sequences were also really enjoyable. My internal monologue during them consisted mostly of frantic OMGs! which are usually reserved for Game of Thrones episodes. They were much shorter than the ones in The Avengers (which is a good thing), and helped to push the plot forward rather then just having things blow up in vain.
The villains were also very cool. I feel like I can’t say anything bad about them should Stan Lee suddenly appear and have me killed. Just take my word that they are refreshingly different from the aliens and Tom Hiddlestons we have seen in Marvel movies past. One last thing that always made my nerdy heart smile was watching Tony Stark become Iron Man. Sure, he puts on the suit about 50 times in the movie, but it never stops being cool (and every time he does it I wish my own wardrobe could do the same thing).
So what knocked two stars off my perfect Blue-related score?
Here’s the deal andPOP monsters, we don’t often do movie reviews on the site but after seeing Battleship I just had to sound off… as much as I don’t want to think about the movie anymore.
When I was a kid my friends and I had Battleship marathons on rainy play dates, so I knew the game’s concept wouldn’t translate to the screen without some serious creativity. Hit and sink, hit and sink. That’s pretty much the gist of the game.
So I’m not surprised that the movie version of Battleship has absolutely no substance. Ultimately, it comes off as a two hour commercial for Hasbro, which naturally backed Transformers and G.I. Joe too. If you like high action movies that have more explosions than dialogue see Battleship, however, if you’re tired of formulaic scripts that rely on clichéd one-liners and fancy effects, stay home and play the game instead.
Director Peter Berg attempts to modernize the game (which predates WWI) by introducing an armada of aliens who threaten the world after NASA tries to make contact with them. When the aliens receive the satellite signal, instead of being all like “hey, let’s party” they go full Michael Bay.
From the producers of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ comes the film ‘Attack the Block,’ a film about a gang of tough city kids who must defend their block by fighting off savage aliens invading earth.
Set in a South London complex, the film is written and directed by Joe Cornish and produced by James Wilson and Nira Park, who is also the master producer behind indie favourite ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.’
The film has a lot of british charm. The characters all seem to capture an offbeat british sense of humour, and the banter between gang members is what makes the film really enjoyable. Unlike other horror movies where you want the characters to die, you feel for these characters. You’re cheering them on.
As you gathered from the plot, the movie could easily turn cheesy but doesn’t for several reasons. As mentioned above, the clever dialogue and characters keeps the film dimensional. No stock characters here. Each gang member has a specific style and personality, causing you to connect and feel for each one of them.
The film is more comedy than horror, really. Sure, there are sharp-fanged aliens out to get them, but the film seems to knowingly use its genre to sort of make fun of itself. Let’s just say at one point there is two 9 year olds who defeat an alien with a water gun. Exaggerated, yes, but a funny little scene and duo.
My only complaint for the film is the un-scaryness of the aliens. I’m sure they made the monsters extra cheesy for a reason (they are ape-like, with fangs) but the movie would be that extra more compelling if the aliens were, say, terrifying. Maybe nothing scares me anymore, I don’t know. But there are a lot of fun jumpy scenes to make up for it.
Of course, it is also noteworthy to say that Nick Frost’s character makes the film. A comedic genius he is.
The film has no release date as of yet, but I give the film a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Don’t take it too seriously – just enjoy the ride, the humour, and the scares.
We all know the story: girl wears a red cape, is being followed by a wolf. She then visits her grandmother, her grandmother is the wolf. Or something like that. But all this goes out the window in Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of the classic “Red Riding Hood.”
Let’s start with the positive. Hardwicke, the director of the film who’s also directed for “Twilight,” delivers a visually stunning film. It captures great North American landscape, and the film’s forte definitely lies its cinematography and visual appeal. I absolutely commend her artistic decisions and direction she took within the story. I mean, contrasting Amanda Seyfried’s gentle blond hair and piercing blue eyes with that dramatic red cape. Heaven on screen. In fact, Seyfried is genuinely what saves the film from disaster itself – her understated acting is not only realistic but saves the movie from being cheesy.
But let’s move into what’s wrong with the film. Although the movie has its twists and turns that keep it interesting, the story itself suffers from an identity crisis. Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl (Seyfried) falls for an orphaned woodcutter (Shiloh Fernandez), much to her family’s displeasure. So is the movie a thriller? A love story? A dark comedy? It dabbles in a bit of all three. There is a certain melodramatic love tension that occurs between the two young hotties, then there are brutal wolf attacks on the village people, and then there are clever allusions to the original fairytale. But it’s all too much. Pick on one theme, and make it great.
I saw this movie with my friend, and we left feeling neutral. It wasn’t a bad movie, in fact, we both said it could have been a lot of worse so we respected the fact that they made it interesting. But then again, the movie wasn’t great. They could have been much more shocking with how they changed the story, they could have made way more clever connections to the original, and besides Seyfried, the acting could have been better.
But for what the movie is, a teenage love-action story, the movie achieves its goal and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. I give it a 2.5 out of 5, smack dab in the middle. Not great, not horrid.
When Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie confirmed their starring roles in director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s latest film, most fans and critics were simply delighted. ‘The Tourist’ quickly became one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year as two of Hollywood’s biggest and most sought after actors would finally share the big screen.
But with the release of the movie trailer, my hopes for a Depp-Jolie semi-masterpiece were quickly and easily squandered. The promotional teaser is bland, unoriginal and forgettable. The film itself, unfortunately, makes a poor job at proving it’s more than a mindless romantic-comedy-action-thriller. Yet, for some, perhaps that’s more than enough.
Jolie stars as Elise Ward, a mysterious Englishwoman with impeccable fashion taste and elegance. She is the lover of Alexander Pearce, a criminal with a target on his back due to stealing $2.3 billion from a gangster. The movie starts off with Elise receiving a note from Pearce in a cafe in Paris, where she is instructed to board the train to Venice. On board, Elise must choose a man of similar height and build to Pearce to serve as a decoy. Cue in Depp who plays Frank Tupelo, a seemingly innocent disheveled math teacher from Wisconsin. Upon their arrival to Venice, Elise invites Frank to her hotel room where a lacklustre kiss results into Frank making a morning run for his life. Indeed, people now assume Frank is Pearce–a financial genius who also altered his appearance with $20 million worth of cosmetic surgery.
Quite a captivating story, isn’t it? Oh, barely.
The film moves too slowly and the story line never accomplishes its goal of truly intriguing the audience. There’s far too little action, yet surprisingly more humour than one might expect. And while it’s a bit refreshing to see Depp stray away from his usual flamboyant roles (which he excels at all too well), Jolie hardly steps too far away from her Salt or Wanted-like role, which is just too repetitive and too common now, even for her. Donnersmarck capitalizes on Jolie’s ability to pull off the femme fatale role effortlessly and perhaps the director relies on this a bit too much. Throughout the film, the camera constantly lingers on Jolie’s flawless features for a moment too long. Yeah we get it, she’s stunning. The subtle filming technique suddenly comes off as creepy and a tad odd, leaving audiences to feel they are invading too much of Elise/Jolie’s personal space.
While the movie does manage to have its enjoyable moments with its stunning Venice views and somewhat comical one-liners, its easily forgettable and painstakingly predictable plot might make viewers wonder why Depp and Jolie even bothered with such a project.
The art of producing a comedy-drama is a delicate one. Tell too many jokes and you run the risk of your message getting lost. Go too serious and the audience may feel bogged down in the story or worse, ripped off by your lack of gag material. There’s a fine line filmmakers have to walk in order to achieve success in this hybrid genre, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make a winner. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” opening October 8th in Toronto and October 15th nationwide, walks the razor thin tightrope with the unshakable balance of past genre stars. It may be a little early to call it a sealed deal, but the film based on Ned Vizzini’s popular novel of the same name is most definitely in the running to become this year’s Little Miss Sunshine or Juno equivalent.
The film tells the story of sixteen-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), an imaginative overachiever who’s struggling under the pressures from his family and academic career. After experiencing a particularly vivid suicidal fantasy, Craig decides to check himself into a mental health clinic. Shortly after he’s admitted, Craig finds out that due to ongoing hospital renovations the youth ward has been temporarily closed – meaning that he’ll be spending his 5-day stay intermingling with both teen and adult patients. The situation is daunting for Craig until he meets Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), a 36-year-old fellow patient who decides to mentor Craig through his stay. Craig also bonds with Noelle (Emma Roberts), a suicidal teen with an affinity for Radiohead and line drawings. With the help of Noelle, Bobby, and the rest of the ward, Craig reprioritizes his life and discovers that beauty and happiness can be found in the most unexpected of places as long as you’re brave enough to go looking for it.
For the terminally uncoordinated, simply watching a dance movie can feel challenging. Sometimes you even break a sweat on behalf of the tortured lead character as he or she foxtrots their way from the underdog position to the top of the dance pyramid. One such movie is Street Dance 3D, a British dance drama to receive wide release Friday, October 1st. As I walked (and tripped, and fell, and picked myself up and laughed awkwardly) into the theatre to catch a screening, I was prepared to feel some serious dance envy.
Street Dance 3D follows the story of young Carly (Nichola Burley) and her dance crew as they’re fresh off the thrill of winning a spot in the national street dance finals, the grand prize of which is a trip to New York and a chance to represent Britain in the world street dance championships. Trouble lies ahead as Carly’s crew leader and boyfriend Jay announces he’s quitting dance temporarily to focus on school. Carly takes over as the crew’s leader but struggles as crew members drop out left, right, and centre, and their rehearsal space is booked to the nines. All seems lost until Carly runs into ballet teacher Helena (Charlotte Rampling) who, impressed by the crew’s work, offers them a deal – unlimited rehearsal time and space at the ballet studio in exchange for a position on the team for some of her ballet dancers. Can Carly pull two cultures together and create a winning routine in time for the UK Street Dance Championships?
Street Dance 3D, as you may have guessed, is presented in full 3D glory. As Carly dances out her frustration, every turn and hair flick seems to be magnified in complexity by the 3D aspect of the picture. Though I’m by no means a trained dancer in any way, shape or form (save for one well-intentioned but tragic brush with the YMCA’s beginner’s dance program) my mind was blown by the sheer difficulty of the moves. I was pretty sure human bodies are limited in the shapes they can make, but there Nichola Burley was, contorting herself onscreen and showing me I was very very wrong about physics. Yes, Step Up 3D may have done 3D dance magic first, but the film’s choreography was numbingly stale in comparison to Street Dance 3D’s. And when you pair the excellent choreography with the flick’s fun and well-produced soundtrack, Street Dance leaves the Step Up soundtrack in the dust.
Though the choreo was spot-on, Street Dance 3D’s plot left me in the lurch. I understand that there’s only so many ways one can make a movie about a dance competition, but the only thing different about Street Dance was the lack of a satisfying ending. I found myself thinking “…wait, so it’s over? That’s it?” as the credits came to an end and I left the theatre (tripping and falling on my way out yet again because I assume some divine power didn’t think I was publicly embarrassed enough for one day). But then again, who really goes to a dance movie for the story, right? It’s all about the moves for most people, and those, as I mentioned, were utterly killer.
If you’re into lighthearted dance movies that leave the focus on the steps and not on the plot, Street Dance is an excellent choice for this weekend’s date night. Though the film may lack substance in dialogue and plot, you’ll find more than enough in the choreography and soundtrack to make you leave the theatre with a new spring in your step.
If there are three things in the movie world I tend to avoid like the plague, they’d probably be sports stories, war flicks, and movies where an endearing and lovable primary character dies (I’m looking at you, Disney’s Bambi). Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised by Amir Bar-Lev’s newest Sundance supported documentary, The Tillman Story. Sure, there’s some football and some war and somebody really nice dies, but there’s a fourth element that got me totally invested in the story. Think of it this way: have you ever thought that the government was, well, maybe totally making stuff up and/or strategically hiding the truth to get you and the people you love to do something like, say, go to war? Yes? What a coincidence! The Tillman Story totally exposes the Bush administration doing exactly that.
The latest from Canadian filmmaker Jacob Tierney tells the story of Leon Bronstein, an affluent Montreal teen played by Jay Baruchel (“How to Your Dragon,” “”She’s Out of My League), who believes he’s the reincarnation of socialist Leon Trotsky.
Most to-do lists consist of taking the dog to the groomer or mowing the lawn – not Leon’s. His list features the most important happenings of Trotsky’s life (including marrying a woman named Alexandra and getting assassinated).
After organizing a hunger strike at his own father’s company (played by Saul Rubineck), Leon is sent to public school. He sees it as an opportunity to engage the students in some good old fashioned activism and of course, he ends up on the principal’s bad side.
Movie goers can ultimately go into the movie without knowing much about Trotsky and still enjoy the comedy. Tierney, who also wrote the flick, does a good job of summing up Trotsky’s ideals without making the film seem like a two-hour history lesson.
After seeing Baruchel play Leon, it becomes impossible to picture any other actor playing the lead character. Aside from having the hair and the glassed down packed, Baruchel convinces in the part. Leon is extremely awkward and stubborn, but he makes the character likable.
Baruchel’s scenes with Emily Hampshire, who plays his much older love interest Alexandra (another Trotsky parallel), are often funny and engaging. Equally funny are Leon’s scenes with his step mom, played by Anne-Marie Cadieux.
“The Trotsky” could have shaved off 15 to 20 minutes. However, that can easily be forgiven because the movie’s concept is so creative that it’ll still keep you hooked.
A remake of the British comedy of the same title, the latest “Death at a Funeral” sticks to a similar plot. It focuses on a day in the life of a dysfunctional family that has come together for a funeral, this time in Los Angeles. This description may come across as a tear-jerker film, especially for those who haven’t seen the movie’s trailer. But make no mistake, “Death at a Funeral” is anything but a drama.
The movie stars some of the biggest names in American comedy, including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan. Unfortunately, it miscasts Rock, the movie’s protagonist. The funnyman plays the film’s most serious role, an older brother living in the shadow of his younger sibling (Lawrence).
The deceased has a secret one man (played in both movies by Peter Dinklage) threatens to share with the family — if you’ve seen the original, you’ll know exactly what it is. While this secret definitely shakes things up for the characters, it’s ultimately a mislabeled bottle of Valium that carries this movie through.
“Avatar’s” Zoe Saldana plays Elaine, Rock’s cousin who’s responsible for accidentally drugging her boyfriend, Oscar (Marsden). It’s worth noting that Marsden steals nearly every seen he’s in. Half of them involve him being naked and/ or or talking to a leaf.
There’s definitely some shock value to “Death at a Funeral” and even some laugh out loud moments involving other characters aside from Marsden. But there aren’t enough of those moments.
At times, the movie relies too much on pop culture references for laughs, which is weird seeing the number of talented comedic actors that make up its cast.
Anyone who’s seen one of his movies knows many of Stiller’s films are comedies featuring slapstick humour (just take a look at the first 10 minutes of “There’s Something About Mary”). There’s no such humour in “Greenberg.” In fact, it’s barely a comedy at all compared to Stiller’s previous projects.
The film tells the story of Roger Greenberg (played by Stiller), a 40-something musician-turned-carpenter who’s recovering from a serious breakdown. Roger has a talent few people possess: writing crafty letters of complaint about minor issues.
Some people go out of their way to do something. Roger goes out of his way to do nothing (or so he claims).
He returns to Los Angeles after spending 15 years in New York to take care of his brother’s lavish hillside house while he’s on vacation with his family. During his time in L.A., Roger starts working on a dog house for his brother’s pet, contacts some old friends and starts a romance with Florence Marr (Greta Gerwig), his brother’s personal assistant who’s almost 20 years his senior.
“The Bounty Hunter” tells the story of Milo Boyd (Gerard Butler), a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter who lands an ideal job that allows him to chase his bail-jumping ex-wife, Nicole (Jennifer Aniston). What Milo originally deems an easy way to make $5000 bucks ends up turning into one of his toughest hunts when Nicole, a daily news reporter, has something of her own to chase: a lead on a murder cover-up.
For those expecting a romantic comedy a la “The Ugly Truth,” you’re out of luck. While both films feature Bulter in all his rugged, spit-on-the-street glory, “The Bounty Hunter” fails to charm. It’s not exactly a romantic comedy (or a great action film for that matter).
“No Distance Left to Run” is a feature length roockumentary that follows the band throughout their summer tour. It was the first time in years that Blur rejoined forces to play together — and you can bet enough happened in between that time to fill up notebooks worth of song lyrics.
However, the movie also focuses on their successful, yet rocky past as brothers; brothers in the sense of their bond as opposed to their blood. You see, the band members all have sisters but no biological brothers. The film starts off with Blur explaining how close they are. But they’re also distant to each other in a way only brothers can be.
Blur fans will be happy to know the movie doesn’t go more than five or 10 minutes without some music. This makes perfect sense judging by the number of hits Blur produced between the late ‘80s and early 2000’s.
Finally: a movie where Michael Cera doesn’t play Michael Cera. Well, sort of. In “Youth in Revolt,” he still plays his signature awkward-to-the-max character — only this time, a bad-ass is added to the mix. And that bad-ass just so happens to be played by Cera.
Based on the cult-classic novel by C.D. Payne, the film directed by Miguel Arteta (“The Good Girl,” “Chuck and Buck”) tells the story of Nick Twisp (a.k.a. Cera), a self-lamenting high schooler who sees everyone around him getting some action but fails to lose his virginity.
Nick isn’t your stereotypical teen. His playlist includes songs by Frank Sinatra and he enjoys classic prose. Nick meets the girl of his wet dreams, the beautiful Sheeni Saunders (played by Portia Doubleday), during a “family vacation” (it’s less glamorous than it sounds — you’ll understand once you see the movie).
However, Sheeni has a stuck-up poetry-writing prick of a boyfriend and in order to win her over, Nick has to get in touch with his dark side. You see, Sheeni likes her men bad and we’re not talking high school bully bad, we’re talking brash French playboy bad, and that’s exactly what Cera becomes. He adopts a mustache-baring, Euro-pant wearing, smoker alter-ego who goes by the name of François Dillinger.
Emily Blunt rules literally and figuratively in “The Young Victoria.” After all, the main reason to see this biopic is due to the actress’ vibrant performance – a far stretch from the Victoria we’re used to reading about in text books.
Do a simple Google search and you’ll find tons of portraits of a frowning, stern-looking Queen Victoria dressed in a black lace widow’s outfit. “The Young Victoria” shows her in a completely different light. Instead, it opens with her growing up as an over-protected child, leading to her receiving the crown as a teenager.
This focus on her early years as queen is really refreshing but ultimately, it’s Blunt’s playful performance that makes this movie engaging. As a teen, Victoria doesn’t quite understand why she wants to be queen. But she knows from birth that she will carry this “royal burden.” When King William IV (Jim Broadbent) dies, Victoria suddenly realizes what she — or rather her family –have gotten her into.
Instead of the costume melodrama that 19th century biopics usually consist of, “The Young Victoria” features more of the political side of Victoria’s early reign. But of course, there had to be a love story in the midst of that and rest assured it’s front and centre (but only at certain points).
Tom Ford brings style to his new movie and it’s not just in the wardrobe. The former creative director for Gucci who now fronts his own fashion line makes his directorial debut with “A Single Man”.
Loosely based on the famed novel by Christopher Isherwood, the film follows a single day in the single life of a gay English professor who teaches in L.A. during the ‘60s. After losing his longtime partner Jim (played by Matthew Goode), George Falconer (Colin Firth) plans his suicide in order to end his suffering. However, George has a few things to settle before taking his own life.
The great thing about this film is that audiences can feel the suffering regardless of whether they’ve lost a loved one or not. That’s partly due to Ford’s directing and also to Firth’s impeccable performance.
Whenever George reminisces about his life with Jim, Ford uses black and white, a strong contrast from the vivid, colourful scenes that take place in the present. These colours come to life whenever George meets with his fellow British friend Charley (Julianne Moore) or with Kenny (“About a Boy’s” Nicholas Hoult), a student whose interest in George is more than academic. It’s clear that Ford — who also co-wrote and produced the film — knows how to use light and texture to his advantage.
There’s one main reason to see Jim Sheridan’s latest drama “Brothers:” its talented cast. The adaptation of the award-winning Danish film about post-traumatic stress is gripping to say the least. However, its main fault is being predictable, but if audiences can get past that, they’re in for an emotional battle.
“Brothers” takes place in a small Minnesota military town and tells the story of Marine captain Sam Cahill (played by Tobey Maguire). Unlike many other war films, however, this one focuses on the family.
All is well in the Cahill household until Sam is called up for a return trip to Afghanistan, forcing him to leave behind his beautiful wife Grace (Natalie Portman) and two young daughters. Tension rises among the family when Sam’s younger brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is released from prison. The two brothers share a rapport, unlike the rest of his family (mainly their father), who doesn’t understand the ex-con and deems Sam as the “good” son.
It’s no surprise that the family dynamics start to change as soon as Sam is pronounced dead in Afghanistan. Following the absence of his brother, Tommy finds purpose in taking care of Grace and his nieces — giving him a newfound sense of responsibility. However, Sam’s survival is never in question for the audience, no spoilers here — in fact, it’s in the trailer.
Sorry “New York, I Love You,” not everyone will fall head over heels for you. The film interlocks a series of shorts from 11 directors – all based in The Big Apple.
Of course, a vignette set in New York City has only one place to start off: a yellow taxicab. “Hangover” buddies Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha kick off the movie by playing strangers who land the same cab. But aside from the yellow car, a few distinct restaurants and references to Central Park, “New York, I Love” seems like it could take place in any other metropolis. It fails to show what makes New York one of the most visited cities in the world.
To be fair, each director had only two days to shoot their short film and a week to edit each segment. But you would think that a diverse group of directors from around the world (including Yvan Attal from France, Jiang Wen from China, Shekhar Kapur and others) would paint a multicultural picture of New York –which is not the case. That being said, at least there’s an abundance of love in this movie, ranging from platonic love to parental.
There are definitely worthwhile moments as well as both acting and directing revelations in “New York, I Love You.” Natalie Portman, for example, takes both a behind the camera role and an on-screen one (playing a Hasidic diamond broker). The short she directs, featuring Taylor Geare (who plays Portman’s daughter in the upcoming movie “Brothers”), is a highlight of the movie. Also keep an eye out for Anton Yelchin who had a supporting role in this year’s revamped “Star Trek.” He proves in this movie that he could very well give both Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg a run for their money.
“Pirate Radio” is entertaining, well written — but also forgettable. Directed and written by Richard Curtis (“Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), there’s no question this movie will appeal to rock lovers and rock dummies alike. However, that doesn’t make it a memorable film.
In theory, this comedy has everything going for it: actors who can actually act (like Philip Seymour Hoffman), a reasonably original plot and a witty, Oscar-nominated screenwriter. The movie is based on the true story of a seafaring group of rock-obsessed DJs who captivated 1960’s Britain with their “pirate radio.” This at a time where rock music was mostly banned from the airways so the group broadcast live-to-air in an old tanker from the middle of the North Sea.
Their radio station helped unify millions across the nation and their story is without a doubt hilarious as told by Curtis. So what’s the problem? It’s just clustered. “Pirate Radio” is an ensemble film, but one with too many characters. While the movie does a fantastic job of developing a handful of oddball DJs, the rest of them are merely props.
“Inside Hana’s Suitcase” will move anyone and everyone. The film mixes documentary with narrative techniques to tell the true-life story of Hana Brady, a girl who was killed during the Holocaust.
The film was inspired by the 2002 bestselling book Hana’s Suitcase. It retraces a series of coincidences that lead Tokyo school teacher Fumiko Ishioka, to the suitcase that belonged to a Czech Jewish girl, Hana Brady.
Ishioka, who also happens to be the director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Centre, receives the suitcase with only two bits of information on Hana: her date of birth and the fact that she was an orphan by the time of her wartime capture. It doesn’t take long for the teacher to become emotionally invested in discovering Hana’s story, an investment she shares with her students. After intense research, she discovers that Hana’s brother George, a Holocaust survivor and thriving grandfather who lives in Toronto, is still alive.
Don’t let the documentary aspect turn you away from seeing this movie because it’s anything but dry. Director Larry Weinstein does a fantastic job of combining interviews with George and surviving friends and family with stunning re-enactment footage of Hana and George as kids. The two types of storytelling mesh together so well that sometimes they literally blend (a scene involving Ishioka and a drawing by Hana is simply amazing and unique).