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Ronen's Rating System:

***** A must watch
**** Worth seeing
*** If you must watch a movie and there is nothing else out there
** Don’t bother
* It’s so bad its almost good... not... These are films I walked out on, or just fell asleep
(K: stars) Rating by my children. As they are easy to please, would typically be higher than mine...

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From monthly archives: January 2009

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'January 2009'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina, 2009) ****

Aside from a smart story (the film, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, is based on a novel titled The Question in Their Eyes), terrific acting, and mostly good direction, the film suffers, at times, from issues of pace and a couple of unanswered questions related to character motivation. But all in all, it is a well-made recommended film.

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City Island (2009) ****

This film felt to me like a very well made soap-opera. This is not to say that it was not entertaining or engaging, on the contrary, it was, but in a soapy sort of way… It tells the story of a “normal”, blue-color, highly dysfunctional family, each of its members with secrets that can keep a TV soap running for a full season… But it does it with a lot of charm, excellent acting (Alan Arkin in a side role is always a wonderful bonus), and a crescendo ending, that leaves you half crying half laughing...

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, 2009) ****

Gripping, intriguing, plausible, and even, to a point, redeeming. The casting is terrific, the ending is gratifying yet leaves a taste for more. It’s a close 5-star in my scale.

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The Messenger (2009) ****

In Sophocles’ Antigone it is said that "No one loves the messenger who is the bearer of bad news." Oren Moverman’s film could not have expressed this better, suited to our times. 

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Movie Review: A Prophet {Un Prophète} (2009) *****

In one word: intense. But this does not even start to describe this jewel of a film. Imagine a coming of age tale, taking place in jail, amidst violence and harsh struggle to survive. It’s one of these rare films that combine raw material, that is anything but randomly placed on the screen. Malik, the film protagonist, is a character unexplained. All we see is a young person, barely a man, with a hinted history of petty crime, sent to jail. What’s interesting is that we don’t need to develop sympathy for Malik. The filmmaker does not try to make him appealing nor require our empathy. Malik serves, at least in my mind, a very different purpose: he is a looking glass through which we, the audience, get exposed to a world most of us never experienced before and, hopefully, never will, or are we? Though the brutal world in which the film takes place is foreign to most of us, it includes all the elements one will find everyday in our own surroundings. Corrupt administration, power-driven men of influence who will stop at nothing to get what they want, money, sex, religion, ethnic hatred, loyalty and betrayal. Be it Corporate America or a harsh French prison, the rules are frightenedly the same. Malik survives and even thrives because of one single quality he poses: adaptation. He is a fast learner, quick to adjust, and even faster to seize opportunities and turn them into his advantage. Ultimately he may represent the lowest level humans may reach, but as far as natural selection goes, he and his kind will roam the Earth. Is that the film’s prophecy?

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Movie Review: Crazy Heart (2009) ***

With 93% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, I went to this film with elevated expectations. That was a mistake. Though Jeff Bridges is, at parts, captivating, consider this film an inferior country-music version of the 2008 film ‘The Wrestler’, starring Mickey Rourke. Bridges feels a little too comfortable in the part, while the plot, which moves at an ever-slow pace, is all too familiar. Some critics held Bridges performance as a movie-savor – I wish I could agree; he is good at time but not enough to hold an interest for two long hours…

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Latest Comments

    Re: Logan (2017) ***

    I agree about the relationship with Logan and Charles - added a lot of depth, especially with the next...

    -- ed

    Re: Eye in the Sky (2015, UK) *****

    Great Review Ronen!

    -- Scott

    Re: Top Five (2014) ***

    wonderfully expressed review and very accurately describing the movie...

    -- Zoes mom

    Re: Begin Again (2014) ***

    such great performers - would have expected more of.... very disappointing to hear....

    -- mother of four

    Re: Waltz with Bashir (2008) *****

    Stunned. Speechless. This is a powerful movie. Its objectivity and lack of judgment IS its power, and...

    -- Monroe Movie Lover

    Re: Inception (2010) ***

    Special effects are more than ever present even in drama movies, its almost normal that an action thriller...

    -- Alvaro

    Re: The Real Dirt On Farmer John (2005) ***

    Interesting though i was expecting more of the film.

    -- rondnor

    Re: Midnight Run (1988) *****

    great movie indeed

    -- rondnor

    Re: The Bounty Hunter (2010) *

    wont bother then

    -- superair

    Re: Stardust (2007) *****

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie :-)watching Robert De Niro in a dress what could be better.Enjoy

    -- YRD

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