Movie Reviews

A Tramway in Jerusalem
The Light Rail Line of Jerusalem’s tramway connects the city from east to west,, from the Palestinian neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina to Mount Herl, a journey that comprises the culturally complex makeup of the city.

In Amos Gitai’s humorous and touching A Tramway in Jerusalem, featuring a talented ensemble cast including Mathieu Amalric (An Officer and a Spy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Never Ever) and Hana Laslo (Nevsu, Free Zone), the dramedy hinges on a series of encounters along the line: simple, mundane interactions that reveal the diverse mosaic of humanity that exists in the spiritual center of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  There’s a skilled oud player who weaves a spell on two French tourists, two young women – one Palestinian, one Jewish – who bond on the platform, a tired Palestinian worker wrongfully accused of harassment and a group of Hassidic men, chanting a religious chorus together.  While traveling across this vibrant city, the small conflicts and reconciliations of everyday life – heard inn an impressive array of languages including Hebrew, Arabic, French, Italian, Yiddish, German and Ladino — provide a kernel of hope in a society so often divided by political boundaries.

Straight Up
Todd is a hyper-articulate, obsessive compulsive gay twenty something whose fear of dying alone leads him to a baffling conclusion:  he might not be gay after all.  When he meets Rory, a whip-smart struggling actress with her own set of insecurities, the two forge a relationship that’s all talk and no sex.  Writer-director-star James Sweeney delivers a razor sharp rom-com that’s equal parts Classical Hollywood and distinctly 21st century, exploring just how elastic our definitions of love and sexuality can get.

For nearly 400 years, millions of Costa Ricans have annually made La Romeria, the pilgrimage to Cartago to pay homage to La Virgin de Los Angeles, the country’s Patron Saint.  But this year, something in Juana (Milena Picado) has snapped.  You can see it in her eyes.  She’s carrying within her the weight of a great loss and her hope is that joining the pilgrimage will help unburden her.  However, when a chance encounter with her ex-oyfrield, Gustavo (Luis Carlos Bogantes), surprises, will she finally face what she’s been running away from and set herself free?

AMOR AMOR stars Jorge Freitas as Jorge, a manipulative and self-centered photographer who feels stuck in his long relationship with Marta (Ana Moreira).  Head over heels in love with him, Marta is also the new object of desire of Jorge’s friend, Carlos (Nuno Casanovas), who also happens to be in a relationship with Ana’s best friend, the cynical Ligia (Margarida Vila-Nova). Ligia’s romantic younger brother Bruno (Guilherme Moura) is also infatuated with Marta.  Complicated? Perhaps, but why have a conventional love triangle when you can have a pentagon of feelings and manipulation?

A Dog’s Courage
Jacob, a feisty, playful dog abandoned by his owners joins a pack of strays and comes to terms with his unwanted and abrupt freedom.  With his new friends in tow, Ralph heads north and finds the perfect place of safety and peace — the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Extra Innings
Set against the enchanting backdrop of 1960’s Brooklyn, Extra Innings tells the story of David Sabah, a young man who is caught between pursuing his dream of playing baseball and staying devoted to his Syrian Jewish family that is afflicted with mental illness, but a tragic loss makes reconciling the two worlds impossible. Based on the true story of writer/director Albert Dabah.

El Cazador – The Young Hunter
Ezequiel, a 15-year-old teenager, is left alone at home when his parents travel to Europe for a month. One day he meets Mono at the skatepark. But meeting with Mono offers much more than the connection, intimacy, and sex he was looking for. He lands in a chilling situation that possibly makes him feel more alone than he already was.

The Acrobat
Montreal is snowed under. While the downtown cranes dance their hypnotic ballet, two strangers meet randomly in an unfinished apartment. Their chance encounter leads to a violent attraction and a dependency beyond reason. One man is a Russian-born professional acrobat whose future is jeopardized by a broken leg. The other is a buttoned-down, well groomed man of few words. Which one dominates? Which one manipulates? As it turns out, love is painful and human relations are complex.
A Tramway in Jerusalem
The mixture of life experiences of people from different backgrounds in Jerusalem are seen in humorous encounters on the tramway that connects several neighborhoods in the city.