Anthony Zimmer (2005)

I recently caught this French movie from a new source: my television. I subscribed to some movie channels, adding another resource for my blog. This movie isn’t there on Netflix yet, but you can save it for later.

The movie is about Anthony Zimmer, a man wanted for money laundering. No one knows how he looks or sounds. The only way to reach him is through his beautiful lover, Chiara (Sophie Marceau). Chiara is aware of the fact that she is under constant surveillance. On one of her train journeys to Nice, France, she meets a common man, Taillandier (Yvan Attal). She chooses to be seen with him as he has a physique similar to Anthony’s. Taillandier is now wanted by the Russian Killers and he discloses the truth to the French Police- that he is not Anthony. The movie then revolves around him being chased by the Russians and the police continuing their search for Anthony.

As I watched this film, I was reminded of a film made here in Hollywood: The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. I would call The Tourist a more dramatized version of Anthony Zimmer with of course a more attractive star cast.

Either ways, I thought it was a film that captured my attention and I enjoyed it till the end. Since I had already seen The Tourist before, I knew the outcome and it probably made me a little less appreciative of the film. Given a choice, I would choose The Tourist over this one.

My Rating: 3/5

My favorite line: The movie was in French, and so I was pleased to hear all the lines!

Credits: Google Images

Soul Kitchen (2009)

I’m a person who is into movies/TV shows that involve cooking. Soul Kitchen is a like a 99 minute reality show that unfolds all the things that can go wrong while owning your restaurant!

Chef Zinos (Adam Bouskous) has been operating a run down restaurant, Soul Kitchen for sometime. He does have a good customer base despite his crappy menu and a dirty kitchen. He is also haunted by tax officials to pay his tax dues. His life gets worse when his girlfriend Lucia (Anna Bederke) moves to Shanghai. His goal is now to find a good chef and a manger to handle Soul Kitchen so that he can move to Shanghai too. In the most unexpected way he hires Chef Shayn (Birol Unel) who turns things around for him with some great menu changes. He now needs a manger to run the kitchen. Can his brother Illias (Moritz Bleibteru), an ex-convict, manage the newly re-vamped Soul Kitchen?

I was reminded of Gordon Ramsay‘s Kitchen Nightmares when I saw how Chef Shayn transforms the restaurant with an elegant menu. As an aspiring restaurant owner, I learnt that simple changes can go a long way in turning your restaurant! The film is not as gripping as Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen, but that’s what makes this different from reality television. The characters look like a bunch of losers with their laid back attitude, something you would not expect from people running a business. But with one determined person, things start looking up and these losers try to create a restaurant with a promising future.

Turkish-German director Fatih Akin (also directed Edge of Heaven) has made a random comic film (oh it’s in German btw) on kitchen adventures. I thought the film could have a better flow of events. I felt he just introduced some random events in between that disturbed the flow of the movie. I’m guessing he was trying to bring out the fact that life is filled with unexpected events. Isn’t that what makes our lives spicy?

My rating: 3/5

My favorite line:

Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.

Credits: Google Images

The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

I’m at a loss of words after seeing this film: The Stoning of Soraya M.

3472_0A French-Iranian journalist is stuck in a small village in Iran when his car breaks down. He meets Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar nominee for Hand and the Fog) who wants to tell him the story about Soraya (Mozhan Marno), her niece. Married to Ali (Navid Negahban) with 4 children, Soraya is a devoted wife and mother. Her husband soon finds a new muse in town and plots to get rid of her.

This is one of those movies that will take a while to forget about. I have to credit the director, Cyrus Nowrasteh for making the movie so real and touching. He has rightly captured the feel and brought out emotions from the characters that make you want to cry.

Stoning of women has been around for a while. You can read about the history of stoning here. The plight of women in these countries is something that we just can’t imagine. If it’s a contest between a man and a woman in the court of law, the woman invariably loses as men don’t have to prove their innocence even if they are guilty.

A brilliant and disturbing flick. Warning: might be too unpleasant for some.

My favorite line is a quote by an Iranian poet, Hafiz that was shown in the beginning :

Don’t act like the hypocrite who can conceal his wiles while loudly quoting the Koran.

My rating: 4/5 (had to deduct 0.5 for the 20-minute gruesome stoning sequence)

Credits: Google Images

Bread and Tulips- Pane e tulipani (2000)

I was looking to review a foreign language film and I found this Italian film: Bread & Tulips (Pane e tulipani). I did not realize how old this movie was until I saw the cell phones that they were using! Oh, and don’t worry, the movie comes with subtitles on Netflix.

Bread and Tulips

A bored housewife, Rosalba (Licia Maglietta) is on a trip in Greece with her family and gets left behind by their tourist bus. She decides to wait for her family to come and fetch her but in turn they get stood up by her! Thinking that she would back go to a quiet house, she hitchhikes a ride back home and get her alone time before her family arrives. And now you can see a pattern: she ditches that idea too and lands in Venice!

As she looks for a place to stay she meets Fernando (Bruno Ganz) at a restaurant and becomes a guest at his house. She meets her neighbor, Grazia (Marina Massironi) a fun massage therapist who becomes her best friend in town. The film picks up some pace when her husband sends Constantino (Giuseppe Battiston) to look her.

The movie is filled with a series of random fun events and is great for the eyes as it’s set in Venice. If it hadn’t been for that, I would have found it just long and boring. It’s not a story that you haven’t heard of before, so don’t watch the movie expecting something surprising.

A good pick for the die hard romantics, the ones who are head over heels in love with Venice and those who love some soothing Italian music. Others, it’s not for you.

My rating: 2.5/5 (I had to deduct 0.5 for the length)

Credits: Google Images