• Cinephilia

    Review: Eating Up Easter

    If your knowledge of Easter Island is limited to its imposing Moai statues—the centuries-old stone figures that draw thousands of tourists to the small island in the Pacific Ocean every year—a film like Eating Up Easter will prove to be an interesting (and clearly quite personal) exploration of the Chilean territory's culture, people and prospects for the future.

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold

    This week's new streaming options present yet another opportunity to take in an older film I'd never seen: Nancy Kelly's Thousand Pieces of Gold, the 1991 period piece that Roger Ebert called "angry and romantic." Starring Rosalind Chao (who would go on to star in The Joy Luck Club and, more recently, The Laundromat and the upcoming Mulan), the film is set in the pioneer Idaho of the 1880s and based on the true stories of Asian men and women brought to the United States as indentured servants or forced brides—human property, however you cut it.

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Someone, Somewhere

    French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch's latest film is a clever, original romance wherein the two leads, clearly meant to be together, are too busy living their lives as neighbors who never cross paths to ever find time to actually fall in love. Edited with a witty sense of humor that keeps us rooting for these two—will they ever realize how intertwined their lives really are?—Someone, Somewhere sees Klapisch excelling in a space he's more than comfortable in: exploring the way our choices shape our relationships and, in the end, our overall happiness.

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Selah and the Spades

    It could be that Selah and the Spades, the dark teen drama about cliques at a posh boarding school written and directed by Tayarisha Poe, comes to mean to teens today what the likes of Cruel Intentions or Heathers mean to earlier generations. But honestly, and despite the film’s best efforts, it’s unlikely. For everything it tries to be—rebellious, edgy, intellectual and sharp—it only manages to match the style of the superior films that’ve come before it while lacking their substance. An opening voice-over introduces us to the five “factions” that run Haldwell Boarding School and the leaders at the top of each; one does all the cheating for students eager to…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Incitement

    When tragedy strikes, attention understandably goes to those impacted by it; in the case of a political assassination, it’s an entire nation that grieves. On the night of November 4, 1995, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin spoke to a massive crowd gathered at what was then known as Kings of Israel Square (it’s since been renamed in his honor); as he left the rally, an extremist emerged from the shadows and fired three shots at short range. Rabin died less than an hour later, and Israel mourned not only the loss of their leader but the progress towards peace he stood for. Yigal Amir, the assassin, had adopted extremist views…

  • Cinephilia

    What to Watch When You’re New to Netflix

    I recently got a request for Netflix recommendations, which isn’t in itself unusual. Turns out, she’d just signed up for an account for the first time in years (the last time she was a subscriber, it was to receive DVDs), and she needed a little guidance on what to queue up first. To likely no one’s surprise, I went a little overboard. As the list got longer and longer, organizing it by what someone might be in the mood to watch seemed like a good way to bring order to the chaos. And because we could all use something new to watch these days, I thought I’d share the list…