5 New Film Recommendations

THE NUN, La Religieuse, France 2013

French drama directed by Guillaume Nicloux,  starring  Pauline Etienne, Isabelle Huppert, Louise Bourgoin and Martina Gedeck.
Premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, received two nominations at the 4th Magritte Award, winning Best Actress for Pauline Etienne.

“The young Suzanne Simonin is forced by her parents to become a nun. She learns that as an illegitimate child she is supposed to atone for her mother’s sin. Her abbess treats her nicely but when her mother dies and another takes her place Suzanne considers breaking her vows.” — Wikipedia.

When Suzanne escapes the clutches of one Mother Superior, she is transferred to another convent head by a friendlier Mother Superior (Isabelle Huppert), but things are not quite so simple.   This part throws the movie off-balance.  Strong performances, gorgeous period costumes, with crisp color photography.

This young Belgian newcomer to the screen, Pauline Etienne, portrays a rebellious young abbess in a polished manner. We’ll be seeing her again I am sure.

I like costume dramas like this (18th century) and highly recommend that you see it.

Available on Amazon Video

STILL LIFE, UK 2013

Starring Eddie Marsan and Joanne Floggett (Downton Abbey)

This is a moving and inspirational drama about a quiet, optimistic and selfless man who finds joy in helping everyone but himself. For over 22 years, John May (Eddie Marsan) works at a local council, where his job is to find the next-of-kin for those who have passed away all alone in the community.

Winner – 2013 Venice International Film Festival, Art Cinema Prize for Best Film, Best Director and Pasinetti Critics’ Prize.

I really like this film, especially Eddie Marsan’s performance. The unusual story line is compelling and especially resonated with me because it celebrates dignity and being human. Watch this independent film.

available on Netflix (DVD) and Amazon Instant Video

AMEN, 2002
directed by Costa-Gavras
German, Romanian and French film

“This film examines the links between the Vatican and Nazi Germany. The central character is Kurt Gerstein, an SS officer employed in the SS Hygiene Institute, designing programs for the purification of water and the destruction of vermin. He is shocked to learn that the process he has developed to eradicate typhus, by using a hydrogen cyanide mixture called Zyklon B, is now being used for killing Jews in extermination camps.  Gerstein attempts to notify Pope Pius XII about the gassings, but he is appalled by the lack of response he gets from the Catholic hierarchy. The only person moved is a young Jesuit priest. While the character of Kurt Gerstein is historical, the character of the young priest is fictional as is the plot.”   wikipedia.

I recommend this film, available on Netflix

JEALOUSY  (LA JALOUSIE), France 2013

French drama directed by Philippe Garrel.
Starring Louis Garrell, Anna Mouglalis, and Rebecca Covenant, was screened at the 70th Venice International Film Festival

“An impoverished actor tries to make his girlfriend a big star. But in spite of all his efforts he cannot get her proper roles. Eventually she falls in love with another man and cheats on him” – Wikipedia

Reminiscent of New Wave films of the 60s, I enjoyed what I call a small drama, but well-done nonetheless.

Available on Amazon Instant Video or Netflix

MILLION DOLLAR ARM, USA 2014

Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay by Tom McCarthy
Starring Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Madhur Mittal, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin

This biographical sports drama film is based on the true story of J.B. Bernstein’s (Jon Hamm) efforts to save his career, planning to find baseball’s next star pitcher.  Off he goes to India, where he believes he could find a great cricket player who is an untapped talent for baseball.  He comes back to America with two young Indian boys and what happens makes for good movie viewing.

Yes, this is a Disney film, but  I really enjoyed it and I am not even a baseball enthusiast.  Go see it, or stream it at home…..you’ll love it! A fun feel-good story.

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