That's not at all fair to Frozen Days which has some interesting things going for it. Mainly a slick noir'ish look and the female lead, Anat Klausner. On the surface the film tells the story of a woman assuming the identity of a man she meets in a chat-room. But it soon becomes clear you're in for a twisted, suspense filled ride. I'd put this in the "pretty good but not great category." I'm sure there's a statement of how identity is shaped in a nation under constant threat, etc. - but my assessment of the film is just on its surface goal of suspense/thriller. At that level I sort of figured it out somewhere past the halfway mark and remained mostly interested for the rest of the ride. A lot of writeups seemed as though the ending was a big shock. Which is hard to believe. There's only a few ways for a film like this to end. Anyone who has seen Jacob's Ladder hasn't been shocked by this particular ending since. Frozen Days is the director's first film. It's probably worth trying his sophomore effort and future work from Ms. Klausner.
I'm probably being a bit unfair. Avenue Montaigne was the French submission for the Foreign Language Oscar this year so I may just be missing something big here. If you have expectations for a very light film with (mostly) not unpleasant to watch folks this might be a decent afternoon trifle. It's sort of a mixed romantic comedy, soap opera and "go out and live life" sort of film. It's real fluff on each of the dimensions. The story revolves around a midwife college dropout who takes a job as a waiter in on the street of the title. It's in a busy theater district featuring a theater, classical concert hall, and auction house. The rich and famous from each of these destinations cross path with the female lead (Cécile De France). She of course being young, cute and French enriches all their lives. I didn't find myself really caring about the love interests all that much and the life lessons part felt a bit cliched. Maybe the strongest performance for me was that of the concert pianist who no longer wants to play professionally but can't quite reconcile the desire to quit with the expectations of his wife.
All in all a nice enough evening out - though mostly for the pleasure of watching a film out more than for the actual content.
I sort of liked this, more for the pieces than the whole thing put together. Impressive music, nice performances. There seems to be background enough to explain the characters problems in the key cases - though perhaps not the unusual treatment options proposed. Sure you can over analyze the half naked woman chained to the radiator thing. But I'll leave that to you...
Not in my top ten for the year, but nice to see something a bit different at the local megaplex.
The Host has been getting pretty good reviews and seems to be having a wider release than your average Korean film in the US. I believe I read somewhere that this was a runaway hit in Korea. If so it's well deserved. The film tells the story of a family caught up in the mayhem caused by a nasty beastie mutant thing unleashed by the standard combination of human hubris and the sins of the US military.
There's no stringing you along before you see the monster - you get the first peek pretty early on. The origin story is dispensed with as the credits start up. Then we meet the family, interesting in that dysfunctional sort of way the movies have made us used to. Monster comes out of the river, kills many and makes off with the little girl of one group. They band together to rescue her though the entire world has written her off. That sort of sums up the high level plot - though there's a bit more going on than that.
The film is really well shot and with the occasional exception of the monster has a great high quality look to it. Whatever was lost by not having the Hollywood elite designing the monster was more than made up for in the acrobatic charm of the beast. This guy always sticks his landings.
The filmmakers aren't afraid to throw in the kitchen sink at times. There's some great stuff mixed in all together to make a satisfying high grade-B flick. From the super expressive father figure of the clan, the the evil media conspiracy and the realization that all the time you spent protesting in college can really pay off when you need some do it yourself incendiary devices. Most impressively they take plot risks that I can pretty much guarantee you're not going to get in a Hollywood story. I found it satisfying through and through. Don't go expecting this to be a deep character study of a family though - some reviews make it sound that way. But if you want a fun time where you'll still have a bit to talk about over coffee later this is a good bet.
I've embedded the trailer below - one's reaction to it is a pretty good test as to whether you'll enjoy.