Biutiful opens with a stark scene of snowy woods and ends with the same image. In between, there are moments that are disturbing, thought provoking, and heart wrenching.

Javier Bardem is Uxbal, the morally compromised father of two struggling to keep together the semblance of a home for his children while dealing with his estranged wife, Marambra who suffers from bipolar disorder. Uxbal also possesses the ability to communicate with the dead at the moment in which their souls transition to the after life. Continue reading »

I was skeptical about the The King’s Speech. The critics love it and it’s a British drama all of which is often code for deadly boring or pretentious. I’m happy to say this movie is impossible not to like. One of the main reasons is that the usual stuffiness is punctured throughout by Geoffrey Rush’s character, Lionel Logue, the unique but effective Australian speech therapist who helps King George VI overcome his crippling stutter.  Rush is funny, touching, and stubbornly sure of himself as Lionel, who doesn’t ever let the Prince use his rank or station to avoid dealing with his impediment or the obstacles that loom before him as World War II approaches. Continue reading »

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