I went to a handful of free screenings in the past week and instead of doing full-length reviews for all of them, I'm just gonna give brief reviews for the four movies.
The Swiss film "Sister" is a well-made drama that centers on a 12 year-old boy who steals ski equipment at a nearby resort in order to make money for him and his sister so that they can eat, pay rent. He and his older sister live together in a high rise project below the mountain. The movie does a great job of exploring upper and lower class societies and there's great performances all around. The kid, played by Kacey Mottet Klein, is solid as well.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Perks is a special, wonderful film written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the novel that the film is based on. You can't ask for a more perfect situation here. A very well-made adaptation, a near-perfect realization of its characters with voice-over narration that isn't overused. This is a film worth returning to multiple times. Honestly, I was surprised I enjoy this film so much.
I'm torn on Amour. On one hand, I love how simply and gracefully this touching story about an elderly couple unfolds. Georges and Anne are old, retired music teachers who live alone in Paris. One day Anne suddenly has a stroke and thus begins a slow, harrowing mental and physical decline with Georges being left to take care of her along with the assistance of a nurse or two. The film contains extraordinary performances from Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, with Riva deserving all the accolades coming her way. Ultimately though, this is the third Michael Haneke film I've seen and I still find his style kinda tough to get into. There's something very cold and frigid about this film despite its perceived warmth. Anne's decline and eventual death is heartbreaking in the way any elderly person's death would be. It gets to you because anyone can relate to it, but looking back at it, it was as if there's these two old people who are trapped in this cold Haneke universe, doomed to suffer and to eventually die. Still, it definitely elicited a strong reaction from me. I don't feel the need to revisit the film anytime soon, but it will stick with me for awhile.
Compliance is a straight-forward, unforgiving expose on this unbelievable true story. A true story that has occurred 70 times in 30 US States. A guy prank calling a fast food restaurant, posing as a cop, and getting employees to sexually harass, assault, and maybe even rape a fellow employee. Craig Zobel, the writer/director of the film, has an unflinching eye when it comes to this. You get exactly what the film promises and it's not pretty. In fact, this is a very ugly film, a tough film to watch. You keep watching because you know this all really happened, but you don't particularly feel good about it. I'm thankful this film exists because hopefully people will learn not to fall for these traps and understand that they have rights when a police officer talks to them... especially over the phone. But on the other hand, there are parts of this film that felt very uncomfortable, almost grueling. Other people may think more highly of this film. I respect it, but I didn't particularly enjoy. Great performances from Dreama Walker and Anne Dowd, however.