July 4, 2013

Ginger & Rosa

Writer-director Sally Potter brings to the screen the story of two teenage girls growing up in London during the 1960s with the Cuban Missile Crisis looming on the horizon.  Enjoyed more by movie critics than mainstream audiences, the real highlight of this film was Elle Fanning’s performance as Ginger in this coming-of-age tale.

Watch the trailer for Ginger & Rosa below:

Here’s the synopsis for Ginger & Rosa:

London, 1962. Two teenage girls – Ginger and Rosa — are inseparable; they play truant together, discuss religion, politics and hairstyles, and dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ frustrated domesticity. But, as the Cold War meets the sexual revolution, and the threat of nuclear holocaust escalates, the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered – by the clash of desire and the determination to survive.

The Sapphires

Chris O’Dowd’s career has been on an upward swing since 2011’s Bridesmaids, landing roles in such upcoming films as Cuban Fury and Thor: The Dark World.  One of his most talked-about roles comes from The Sapphires where his character discovers four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls in a late 1960s singing group.  During a time of civil unrest both home and abroad, the group is billed as “Australia’s answer to The Supremes” and pays a visit to Vietnam to sing for U.S. troops stationed there.  This uplifting tale is based on a true story, as all the best ones seem to be.

Watch the trailer for The Sapphires below:

Here’s the official synopsis for The Sapphires:

Gail, Cynthia, Julie and Kay are sexy, black, young and talented and they’ve never set foot outside Australia. Until, in the chaos of 1968, they’re plucked from the obscurity of a remote Aboriginal mission, branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, and grasping the chance of a lifetime, dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to entertain the troops.


If you made it through Dupieux’s Rubber and wanted more, Wrong is the film for you.  Every bit as zany as a film about a homicidal truck tire, this follow-up film centers on Dolph (Jack Plotnick), a man in search of his missing best-friend, his dog, Paul.  During his quest, he meets a variety of oddball characters – a pizza-delivering nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict neighbor, an opportunistic French-Mexican gardener, and an off-kilter pet detective – and risks losing his mind along the way.  This one will live on only with a “cult” following.

Here’s the wacky trailer for Wrong:

Here’s the synopsis for Wrong:

Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) awakens one morning to find he has lost the sole love of his life—his dog, Paul. Desperate to reunite with his best friend and to set things right, Dolph embarks on a journey which spirals into the realm of the absurd. On his quest, he drastically alters the lives of several severely bizarro characters, including a promiscuous pizza delivery girl (Alexis Dziena), a mentally unstable, jogging-addicted neighbor, an opportunistic French-Mexican gardener, an eccentric pet detective (Steve Little) and most mysterious of all, an enigmatic pony-tailed guru, Master Chang (William Fichtner) who imparts his teachings to Dolph on how to metaphysically reconnect with his pet. From fearless cinematic surrealist Quentin Dupieux, the director behind the head-exploding Rubber, Wrong is a wholly original and hilariously hallucinatory universe all its own.

Upstream Color

Some viewers may still be scratching their heads over Shane Carruth’s 2004 time-travel film, Primer, but will find his sophomore effort more accessible.  It’s got shades of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Danny Boyle’s recent film Trance (another under-seen film of 2013), but leaves its more subtle elements widely open to audience interpretation.  You can find metaphors for choice vs. destiny, star-crossed romance, environmental destruction vs stewardship and more that I haven’t been able to fully process just yet.  You can check Upstream Color out on Netflix now.

Read Matt’s review here and check out the cryptic trailer for Upstream Color below:

Here’s the synopsis for Upstream Color:

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.


Real-life triumphs of mortal humans over the elements of nature and shortsightedness of their fellow man continue to be my favorite, if incredibly specific, genre.  The fates aligned this year with the story of “legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal’s epic 4,300 miles crossing of the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947, in an effort prove it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.”  Kon-Tiki earned itself an Oscar nomination and did quite well overseas, but remains under-appreciated by domestic audiences.

Here’s the trailer for Kon-Tiki:

Here’s the synopsis for Kon-Tiki:

In 1947, the world is gripped with excitement as the young Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl embarks on an astonishing expedition – a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean on the Kon-Tiki raft. From his days living in the Marquesas with his wife Liv, Thor suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by ancient South Americans from thousands of miles to the east. Despite his inability to swim and fear of water, Thor decides to prove his theory by sailing the legendary voyage himself. After replicating the design of an ancient raft in balsa wood, Thor and five fellow adventurers set sail from Peru. Their only modern equipment is a radio, and they take a parrot along for company. A natural leader, Thor uses the stars and the ocean’s current to navigate the raft. After three dangerous months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, sharks, and all the dangers the Ocean can muster, the exhausted crew sight Polynesia and make a triumphant landing. Having sacrificed everything for his mission, even his marriage, the success of the Kon-Tiki expedition proves bittersweet for Thor.

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