Film

Review: Sherlock Holmes

By Jonathan Foreman, December 22, 2009

There are no deerstalker hats or curved calabash pipes to be seen in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. Never once does the famous detective say, “elementary, my dear Watson.” He does however reveal himself to be a formidable martial artist, as adept with his hands and feet as he is with a stick and a gun, and able to take part in a brutal bout of bare-knuckle boxing.

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Review: Avatar

By Jonathan Foreman, December 17, 2009

In the 1980s and ’90s, director-writer James Cameron made a series of outstanding science fiction films, all of which broke new ground in special effects and as stories. In Aliens and Terminator 2 — Judgment Day, Cameron invented a new kind of action hero — a tough, hard-muscled woman with a child in one hand and a gun in the other.

But then came his Titanic. It succeeded wildly, presumably thanks to its extraordinary special effects, strong performances by a perfectly chosen cast, and the way its romantic storyline appealed to a new generation of young film-goers.

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Review: Where the Wild Things Are

By Jonathan Foreman, December 10, 2009

The trailers for Where the Wild Things Are that have been playing for the last six months were so thrilling and so moving — I know adults who reduce themselves to tears watching them on the internet — that it would be almost impossible for any full-length feature to live up to their promise. And the film does not.

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Review: Hello Goodbye

By Jenni Frazer, November 20, 2009

All the international star power of Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant cannot really rescue this thin comedy drama about the perils faced by a smart Parisian couple when they have a joint mid-life crisis which makes them move to Israel.

Alain Gaash ("with two 'a's") is a typical secular Parisian Jew, a well-respected gynaecologist with a gorgeous but apparently not very bright wife, Gisele, who converted to Judaism when the couple married 25 years before.(Quite how Alain, who was never circumcised, got to marry in shul, is not explained at this point.)

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Review: A Serious Man

By Jonathan Foreman, November 19, 2009

Given the leading role that Jews have played in the history of Hollywood, there have been relatively few feature films that are mainly about Jews or set in Jewish communities.

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Review: Praying with Lior

By Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2009

Lior Liebling is 13 years old. He likes wrestling with his brother, annoying his little sister, and is finding it hard to concentrate on writing his Dvar Torah. But Lior is no ordinary barmitzvah.

Lior has Downs Syndrome. That he can undertake a barmitzvah at all is astounding. But perhaps even more compelling is that what Lior loves most in the world is davening, leading some in his congregation to believe he is ‘close to God’, a spiritual genius.

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Review: Shattering Silence

By Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2009

Eric Friedler’s sharp documentary takes a biting look at Germany’s richest family, and asks the question the Quandts hoped they could keep silent forever – where did they get their fortune from?

The family have always claimed their fortune came from their ownership of car giant BMV. But in Shattering Silence Friedler goes back to explore Gunter Quandt’s role in the Third Reich, and his exploitation of thousands of slave labourers in his factories, Jews, resistance fighters and prisoners of war.

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Review: City of Borders

By James Martin, November 13, 2009

The New Israel Fund screening of City of Borders at the UK Jewish Film Festival covers just about every inch of Israeli society, as it hones in on the lives of Jerusalem’s gay, lesbian and transgender community, through the vista of Israel’s political landscape.

Sa’ar Nathaniel, present at the screening, is also one of its main protagonists- Jerusalem Municipality Councillor during the day, he runs the city’s only full-time gay bar, Shushan, at night.

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Review: 2012

By Gerald Aaron, November 12, 2009

Los Angeles is destroyed by earthquakes, so too the Vatican; tsunamis engulf Asia; blazing meteors rain down on Yellowstone Park; a massive cruise liner turns turtle Poseidon-style — these are just some of the dazzling, Oscar-worthy special effects in co-writer-director Roland Emmerich’s extraordinary disaster movie. It says much for the actors, notably John Cusack as a father protecting his family and Danny Glover’s US President, that they are not overwhelmed by the spectacle. Thrilling and suspenseful.

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Review: Harry Brown

By Gerald Aaron, November 12, 2009

After Hollywood turkeys like Swarm and the toothless Jaws 4, it is a pleasure to see Michael Caine acting brilliantly in this low-budget, high impact thriller. He plays a pensioner in a south London estate terrorised by thugs who turns vigilante to avenge the murder of a friend. First-time feature director Daniel Barber drives his all-too-credible story with momentum, the young screen thugs are truly scary but it is Caine’s triumph.

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