Time is so annoyingly finite.
In a perfect world of endless time and minimal sleep, I would be watching all the movies, #allofthemovies!, and doing my best not to overdose on Maltesers, popcorn and choc tops.
But alas, there are only so many hours in the day and so while I try to catch as many movies at the cinemas as time and regular caloric intake and sleep allow, there are some that slip through the cinematic nets.
So when I stumble onto movies that I either missed on the way in, and only discovered on the way out, I’ll be corralling three to five of them in this new series Whoosh! Where’d they go? and trying to determine via reviews and my own trailer divining skills if they’re worth a little bit of time or not.
Here’s the inaugural three, two of them seem to be of the “better you see these at home” variety.
I’d be interested to know what you think.
A young Palestinian freedom fighter agrees to work as an informant after he’s tricked into an admission of guilt by association in the wake of an Israeli soldier’s killing. (synopsis via imdb.com)
Omar may have largely finished its cinematic run worldwide but it is worth catching up with and not just because it’s attracted a multitude of award-loving which included a nomination in the Best Foreign Language section of the 86th Academy Awards and the Jury Prize at 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
It’s also worth seeing because of its timely subject matter, something that Anthony Lane in The New Yorker noted, it shares in common with the Israeli film Bethlehem, which was also entered for consideration in this year’s Academy Awards:
“The Israeli submission for Best Foreign Language Film, ahead of this year’s Academy Awards, was Bethlehem, a thriller about a young Palestinian man, with links to terrorist activities, who is secretly controlled by an Israeli handler. The Palestinian offering was Omar, a thriller about a young Palestinian man, with links to terrorist activities, who is secretly controlled by an Israeli handler. Who said the two sides in the conflict have no common ground? If you can share a plot with your neighbor, who knows what might yet bloom?”
That it is worth seeing is beyond dispute with critics noting that though it is confronting film to watch, director Hany Abu-Assad has fashioned an engrossing film that eloquently tells the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with sensitivity and insight.
Abu-Assad, as Andrew O’Hehir at Salon noted, “doesn’t see himself as a political filmmaker first and foremost”, and Omar is more of a genre film that mixes “cat-and-mouse thriller with Romeo-and-Juliet doomed romance”.
Even so, remarks Cary Darling at dew.com, it is about changing perceptions, getting “behind the TV news bulletins to discreetly put a human face on what is often, for those outside the region, just more electronic noise.”
Omar is the sort of film that everybody should watch, regardless of their viewpoint on one of the oldest ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, if only to understand that every story has two sides.
Astor’s (Fran Kranz) happy tenacity spoils his one chance at love with his lifelong crush Mila (Beau Garrett). Convinced he needs more experience with women to win her back, he engages her ex-best friend Cali (Dichen Lachman) to teach him how to woo women. Together they dissect his failings, and Astor makes his awkward pick-up attempts. As Astor begins to juggle multiple opportunities, he discovers the source of the rift between Cali and Mila, and the trio are forced to confront their conceptions about love. (synopsis via collider.com)
No one ever said love was easy and if you were looking for any further confirmation that that’s the case, Lust for Love would likely be Exhibit A.
This indie romantic comedy is full to the brim with unrequited love that becomes requited only to go nowhere fast when romanticised ideals meet the hard, cold hand of unforgiving reality.
Of course when you’re Astor and have harboured feelings for your childhood crush for years without count, you don’t give up that easily, and naturally you go to the object of your affection’s ex-BFF to get all the insight you can to help you win your dream girl over.
Of course it’s not that easy and one thing leads to another and, well let’s just say from the sounds of it that complications ensue.
Now while Whitney Siebold at Nerdist did not Lust for Love like, saying “the story is cliché, the characters obnoxious, and the ultimate (predictable) denouement is delayed beyond all plausible logic”, it does orbit within the Whedon universe to a considerable degree with both Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman being Dollhouse alumni (as are other players in the movie such Enver Gjokaj, Miracle Laurie and Felicia Day).
That alone is enough to get me to watch Lust For Love by first time filmmaker Anton King (who raised the funds via Kickstarter), which was released on a myriad of digital platforms including VOD on 7 February this year.
Two parents fall in love over the course of a single day while playing hooky from their children’s college tour. (synopsis via imdb.com)
Still on the subject of love sweet love, At Middleton is proof positive than life does not begin and end in your twenties, though the vast majority of romantic comedies may lead you to believe that is the case.
In this case, the two people dancing around each other have college-age children of their own and meet when they’re on the obligatory tour of one of the campuses their beloved offspring may or may not choose to make their educational port of call, something Susan Wloszczyna at RogerEbert.com also noted:
“It is somewhat refreshing that At Middleton, a middling romantic comedy set during a tour of a scenic college campus, focuses on a couple of adults at a crossroads in their lives rather than a pair of entitled adolescents pondering which prospective institute of higher education to attend.”
While she also goes on to say that “What proves less than satisfying is how much energy director/co-writer Adam Rodgers expends to simply prove the mossy adage that opposites do indeed attract”, I am emboldened by the presence of Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga who have shown an ability to lift middling material in the past.
And so I shall taking a walk with them down the path of older-than-yhour-twenties love and seeing where that might take me.
At Middleton premiered at Seattle International Film Festival on May 17, 2013 and is currently available on a variety of digital platforms.