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Art, Independent, and Foreign Film Reviews

Steve Kraske sits down with Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary film critics Cynthia Haines and Steve Walker to discuss the latest films hitting area theaters.By Up to Date, Oct 30, 2009


Films discussed on today's program:
A Serious Man
Baader Meinhof Complex
Good Hair
The Boys Are Back
More Than A Game

Coming Soon:
Coco Before Chanel
Pirate Radio
The Damned United

Reviews from Steve Walker

A Serious Man: A given at the movies is that any new Coen Brothers movie is worth seeing. Their most niche movie in years is a semi-autobiographical peek inside a Jewish family in Minneapolis in the 1970s and the patriarch's search for meaningful answers as his world crashes around him. And it's a comedy (though not as laugh-out-loud funny as "Burn After Reading"). It's impeccably designed as well, giving a kitschy boost to the story and doing for the '70s what "Mad Men" is doing for the early '60s. -Steve Walker

Good Hair: Inspired by his young daughter's inquiry as to why she doesn't have good hair like her white friends, Chris Rock turns what could be a sad lesson in racial self-profiling into a clever documentary about the multi-billion dollar black hair industry. Helped by talking heads that range from Rev. Al Sharpton to Raven Symone, Rock and director Jeff Stilson comically relax into and weave through ambivalence about relaxer, weaves, and wigs. It's much funnier than you think it will be. -Steve Walker

Amreeka: Writer/director Cherien Dabis turns her story of growing up as an Arab in rural Ohio into a alternately sweet and tough movie about cultural assimilation and accommodation. Palestinian-American actress Nisreen Faour is wonderful as an overweight single mom who brings her teenage son from Bethlehem to Illinois with expected cultural mishaps. But just when you think you've got the movie figured out, you don't, due to Dabis's deft hand with the script and the camera. -Steve Walker

The Baader-Meinhof Complex: As gritty, grim and compelling as a movie can be. Uli Edel's Oscar-nominated movie reminds us that terrorism didn't begin on September 11, 2001. Germany was the site of massive unrest and gang warfare in the late '60s and early '70s, prompted by factors out of most Germans' control, like its government warm relationship with the Shah of Iran. The Baader-Meinhof gang left a lot of bleed and grief in its wake, and this epic film succeeds in telling the fascinating story in a way that's so realistic as to be confused for a documentary. -Steve Walker

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