My Brother is an Only Child
Last week this newspaper's film review excoriated Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution for, among other things, trivializing Iron Curtain oppression. A similar accusation might just be leveled at this film, set in postwar Italy, in which fascism and communism are the developmental playgrounds of two brothers from a leftist family. But the real concern of the filmmakers is not the political realities of 20th-century Italy as much as vivid family drama. Critics were kind to this film; the San Francisco Chronicle called it "a provocative character study and portrait of the times."
Rave reviews and awards came from the European festivals that featured this unusual, unsentimental Polish comedy-drama. A precocious young boy in a mining town conspires to have a man whom he thinks is his father return to the family, all the time using strange "tricks" he has learned from his newly adult sister. The Chinese title translates as "Train-Chasing Diary" and refers to one of the boy's favorite activities while riding a motorcycle with his sister's boyfriend. Director Andrzej Jakimowski is a name to watch.
My Mom's New Boyfriend
George Gallo is not a household name, but he did write the screenplay for Midnight Run, one of the best American films of the 1980s. This is his latest effort as writer-director and stars Meg Ryan as a sexually voracious older woman whose FBI agent son (Colin Hanks) has her latest conquest (Antonio Banderas) under surveillance for art theft. You can guess what happens next, so start cringing. This is a straight-to-DVD-in-the-US offload, despite the lead actors, which means you may as well stay home and rent Midnight Run instead.
Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's New Great Adventure into the Underworld - The Seven Magicians
Our best blue friend returns in this feature released last year in Japan, itself a remake of a 1984 Doraemon entry. Doraemon and Nobita enter a magical alternate universe in which every human has magical powers - except Nobita, of course. This has to change very quickly when a demonic celestial body is discovered to be hurtling toward their planet. Notable as the first in the series to be directed by a woman (Yukiyo Teramoto); in another first, animation direction is also by a woman (Shizue Kaneko). Also known as Doraemon the Magic 2007.
Spot Seminar Series No. 8
Looking at Movies from Another Angle is the theme for the latest set of lectures on film at the Spot theater in Taipei, and runs until the end of next month. Speakers include Liao Shu-chen (廖淑珍), make-up artist and longtime Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) collaborator; calligrapher Chen Shih-hsien (陳世憲); and academics and industry professionals. For tickets and booking details (in Chinese), go to www.spot.org.tw/forum/index8.asp.