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The New Black (2013)
7/10
"I'm black, I'm gay, I'm here to stay."
27 September 2013
I was lucky enough to catch this film in the LGBT Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, and the director was present - she had a long Q&A session with us and accepted to engage longer in conversation when we stepped outside the theater.

The documentary investigates how the African American community (mainly of Maryland) feels about homosexual marriage and its being protected by law. It has a logical and intriguing style of narrative, with smooth segues, and despite its lack of a soundtrack, there is a rhythm in it. The time passed by quickly, there were moments of mirth, sadness, anger and delight in it. The documentary doesn't fail to draw you in, but it does make you feel conflicted: on the one hand, you are happy about all that is shown to have been achieved in the last few years, but on the other you realize that the battle to legalize gay marriage is far from over.

Informative, all-inclusive, solid documentary that shows a point of view we don't often get to see. The director could have gone even farther and deeper, but it was a pleasant movie experience nonetheless.
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6/10
Well, it's not "Whose Line."
4 September 2012
When I first heard about this show, I got quite excited. As one of many who have loved "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and watched "The Green Screen Show" and "Improv-A-ganza" just for these guys, I was really looking forward to a reunion of sorts.

But...I was bitterly disappointed. The improv in it doesn't seem as sharp, edgy or funny as I know these guys can do. Most of the guests are obnoxious, indifferent and seem out of place (Ricky Gervais especially acted like he was abducted by aliens and was about to be probed.) I keep watching it just to relive the "Whose Line" feelings, but they never come. It's just way too formulaic and the way it's carried out doesn't favor the improvisers.

A shame, really. No idea why they chose to do this show, but they must have guessed it wouldn't be a success...
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The Free Will (2006)
8/10
A brilliant title for a brilliant movie
1 April 2010
Ah, the always-magnificent German cinema comes through once more. 2 hours and 43 minutes of stupendous cinema experience is what this movie is.

I really can't say whose performance was the greatest: Sabine Timoteo's or Jurgen Vogel's? They were both so rattling in their own way. And the subject of the movie is bold, carelessly blow-to-blow, heartbreaking.

This movie has no beauty in it. But that's exactly the beauty in it. There's no poetry in it but it's so poetic. Every close-up, every character panning, every scream. Obsession and addiction and the free will.
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9/10
The world truly is big and salvation does lurk around the corner...
28 February 2010
I think that Bulgarian cinema is the one I'm the least familiar with; I'm not sure I've seen more than a couple of films from Bulgaria. And yet, here you have this movie practically no one knows and it's a masterpiece. Everything about it is just so breathtakingly beautiful. The characters are so frank it's unbelievable, they find themselves gradually, and at the end you hold your breath expecting to see what is going to happen.

If this were a Hollywood film, I'm pretty certain it would be awful. There are elements in this film that are clichés - but this is where powerful film-making comes into play; you can exploit a cliché in such a way so as to make it a staggeringly original statement.

And even if many times for many of us, it doesn't really seem as though the world is big salvation lurks around the corner, this movie effortlessly makes you believe it does, and that's enough of a reason to watch it.
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10/10
Cinema is great, indeed...
21 November 2009
Oh, I wish there were words capable enough to describe this film - to describe how it made me feel. But maybe there aren't. So, we'll make do with those we have.

I saw this movie at the 50th International Film Festival of Thessaloniki - a festival I've been going to for about 8 years, give-or-take. And this is the best movie I've seen in all those years, through all those movies. It's so intense it rips you apart, full of the most sublime poetry, simplicity raging and screaming. The direction is so meticulously studied - nothing left to chance - every single take and scene offering gravity to the characters. Even now, that I see the poster of the film, it's so brilliant is ridiculous how much. It has this sad-looking child on it, when in the film, we only see a child for seconds, and it is a happy-looking child in those seconds.

After the second half I was constantly crying. I can bet that I'm from the few people who have cried in this film - if not the only one. Because there really isn't something in it that can prompt tears. But it is one of the most intense, most human, most real films I've watched in my life. I wanted to explode, to stand up and shout. I kept switching positions in my seat, I shook my head and laughed and wanted it to end because I couldn't take anymore. And when it was over, I wanted to watch it again.

It's so far my favorite movie of this year. No, scratch that. It's my favorite movie of the last few years. If not my favorite movie amongst the few I hold so dear.

I wish Xavier Dolan can be funded to create more, more, more films in the future. Even though, I already think he has created his chef-d'oeuvre.
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Kisses (2008)
9/10
A diamond amongst the rocks
16 November 2008
I caught this movie in the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece just yesterday, and I have to admit it was an unexpected gem, since you can't really have high expectations out of the movies in Film Festivals...

Sweet, kind-hearted, honest, brave, wonderfully-outlined characters, wonderfully-developed scenario, all in all -an amazing film. I wish I could stumble upon movies like this more often. The cinematography and the direction are splendid. The Bob Dylan soundtrack tribute not only brings this movie to life, but makes it all the more stunning, as is the rotation between color and black-and-white; the film obtains color when the two protagonists are happy and it turns back to black-and-white when they are unhappy.

I'm pretty content to have caught this diamond of a movie amongst the piles of rocks. Congratulations to all involved for truly bold film-making.
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