Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
Love and football mingle in this Spanish drama that sees a family gathering for a wedding (where the groom is having second thoughts) the same day as the World Cup. People are having heart attacks, breaking into safes, losing the rings, dodging the amorous bridesmaid … it’s all in a day’s work for your average ensemble. The film juggles many balls — a microcosm critique of Spanish culture, heartfelt familial bonds that transcend any individual crisis — and does so deftly, if not especially deeply. It’s a pleasant escape from the daily grind. After all, even the wedding guests ignore the drama and shenanigans midway through the wedding to just watch the game.
Plays 4:45 p.m. Feb. 12, and noon, 3:15 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Movie Museum
As the title implies, Death of a Salesman does indeed play a major role in this multilayered but strangely tone-deaf film. An Iranian couple — both theater actors involved in an indie production of the Arthur Miller play — is forced to relocate when their apartment building literally starts to crumble around them. Their new home, however, comes with a lot of baggage from its previous tenant, with devastating, violent consequences for husband and wife. Director Asghar Farhadi normally is adept at handling rich stories, but something is missing here. The story-within-a-story drags. The women are opaque, seemingly placed for plot convenience and not full characters. His missteps, however, are nearly forgiven in his nail-biter of a climax. “Harrowing” barely does it justice. Opens Feb. 10 at Kahala Theatre
Three-hour movies are exclusively the staple of Lord of the Rings-style epics. But not so (and yet, very much so) here in Toni Erdmann, a three-hour dissection of a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship. Unhappy, overworked Ines is estranged from her laidback father, who decides the best way to infiltrate his daughter’s life is to invent an outrageous alter ego, Toni Erdmann, and just stalk her relentlessly. The movie ranges from painfully funny to just painful, running the gamut of human emotion. It hurts to watch Ines suffering — whether from her job or from the presence of her father — and yet, even viewers will long to see her smile at his antics. Toni may be on to something after all. Opens Feb. 10 at Kahala Theatre