** ½ (out of 4)
Like countless movies before it, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman makes use of a “story within a story” device: the main characters, a married couple named Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), star in an Iranian production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. What at first distinguishes the film from preceding users of said device, however, is that its larger story initially doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what Miller wrote. Continue reading
*** ½ (out of 4)
Anyone who’s ever been through high school knows how far some parents are willing to go to ensure their children “get the future they deserve.” But even by those standards, the main character in Graduation, the latest movie from Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, stands out for his sheer tenacity. Continue reading
*** (out of 4)
Last August, while Suicide Squad, Sausage Party, and Don’t Breathe were perched atop the North American box office, a different sort of movie fever was taking ahold of Japan. Your Name, an anime about a boy named Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and a girl named Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) who find themselves suddenly “switching” bodies, opened to become the most financially successful anime film of all time, beating out established classics like Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Only this past weekend has it finally made it across the Pacific to North American theaters, and its arrival has been met with fervent acclaim from American reviewers: several of them have gone so far as to declare that director Makoto Shinkai has a claim to being “the next” Hayao Miyazaki.
When you consider just how much there is to take in on the movie’s surface, it’s not hard to see why people are so ecstatic. Continue reading