Film Reviews

FLIFF Schedule

The Sapphires

Muvico Pompano, 2315 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m. Sunday, October 21, 3:30 p.m.

1968 was the year the planet went haywire. All around the globe, there were riots and revolution in the streets. There were hard drugs, soft drugs, free love, and psychedelic music. There was the shock of assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

And dominating every other news story, there was Vietnam.

For four gorgeous young women from a remote aboriginal mission, 1968 was the year that changed their lives forever. Sisters Gail, Julie, and Cynthia, together with cousin Kay, are discovered by Dave, a down-on-his-luck Irish musician with attitude, a taste for Irish whiskey, and an ear for soul music. Dave steers the girls away from their country-and-western origins, then flies them to the war zones of South Vietnam, where they sing soul classics for the American Marines. On tour in the Meikong Delta, the girls sing up a storm, dodge bullets, and fall in love.

This is an absolutely terrific film... kind of like Rocky, where you are pulling for the underdog against seemingly insurmountable odds. Add the great soul music of the '60s against a true backdrop of the Vietnam War like you've never seen it before and you'll be humming all the way home.

Any Day Now

Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale. Saturday, October 20, 7 p.m. Sunday, October 21, 8 p.m.

An urban tale set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Any Day Now deals with a frequent story on the 6 o'clock news: A gay couple wants to adopt a child. What sets director Travis Fine's film apart from an anonymous newscast is the unforgettable ways he and his talented cast make an indelible impression upon audiences.

In a nutshell, Rudy, an aspiring female impersonator, lives with his partner, Paul, a district attorney. One day while Paul is at work, Rudy, who has been up all night due to the noise and music emanating from the neighboring apartment, has had it and pounds on the door, then asks the neighbor to please stop the racket. He discovers Marco, the young son, alone, deserted by his druggie mom.

Thus begins a turn in the life of Rudy and Paul... and hopefully Marco.


Muvico Pompano, Saturday, October 20, 9 p.m.Sunrise Civic Center Theater, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise. Sunday, October 21, 7:45 p.m.Cinema Paradiso, Monday, October 22, 8 p.m.

Stefan Ruzowitzky, whose film The Counterfeiters won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2007, has created one of the best all-time thrillers in Deadfall. A dynamite cast, terrific script, picturesque locations, and a plot that has you on the edge of your seat.

It's winter somewhere near the Canadian border on the U.S. side. A pair of robbers are on the run with bags of cash from a freshly held-up casino. With the heat gettin' hotter, the pair splits up in the frozen landscape. Not so far away, we meet Jay, a boxer who just finished doing time in the state pen and decides to head home to Ma 'n' Pa for tomorrow's Thanksgiving. Pa is a retired sheriff, and their homestead is quite a trek from civilization out in the snow-covered country.

You see where we are headed here. This script is good, and the cast is accomplished; it includes Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson, Treat Williams, Charlie Hunnam, Eric Bana, and Olivia Wilde. And Ruzowitzky's direction is sharp for 94 heart-stopping minutes.

Una Noche

Cinema Paradiso, Saturday, October 20, 9 p.m.Sunrise Civic Center, Sunday, October 21, 5:45 p.m.

Floridians are acutely aware of the situation that is the day-in, day-out life of people virtually imprisoned on the island of Cuba. The U.S. embargo created a life in a bubble where remnants of the 1950s pervades existence. Living with just a modicum of convenience is not easy, and escaping is fraught with peril.

In Lucy Mulloy's debut feature, the frustrations, fears, and dreams are vividly realized, immersing the audience in the intoxicating/suffocating environs of Havana. Her young cast performs brilliantly, and the production elements are stunning.

Raul and Elio, both in their teens, have first-hand knowledge of life not only for Cubans but also tourists, who are carefree, enjoying the beauty of the island. This dichotomy spawns the boys' decision to flee. Their efforts muddle along without a true timetable until a violent act necessitates their immediate call to action. Elio has no remorse... but Raul is extremely close to his sister, Lila, and grapples with guilt in leaving her.

Una Noche won three awards at the Tribeca Film Fest, with Mulloy named Best New Narrative Director and Best Actor awards for both Javier Nunez Florian (Elio) and Daniel Arrechaga (Raul). The film also won Best Cinematography. Anailin de la Rua de la Torre shines brightly as Lila.

Ninah's Dowry

Cinema Paradiso, Sunday, October 21, 6 p.m.Sunrise Civic Center Theater , Monday, October 22, 8 p.m.Muvico Pompano, Tuesday, October 23, 9 p.m.

In 2002, student filmmaker Victor Viyuoh entered FLIFF's Kodak International Student Film Competition and won the short narrative section with his film Mboutoukou. Fast-forward 12 years and Victor, now a professional filmmaker, returns with a world premiere and one of the most accomplished films of the festival.

At age 20, Ninah is a veteran wife of seven years and a mother of three. She is stuck in an abusive relationship with no hope of change. Her family lives off her meager earnings from farm work while her husband, Memfi, drinks away his equally meager earnings as a shepherd.

When news of her gravely ill father reaches Ninah, she decides to go speak her peace to her father even as her husband commands her to stay and get the farm ready before the rains come. Ninah disobeys Memfi by packing and attempting to leave.

This action sets off an incredible series of events with a whirlwind of suspense, thrills, and adventure set across the Cameroon landscape. Mbufung Seikeh as Ninah in her screen debut is nothing short of astonishing in one of the strongest performances of the festival. Anurin Nwunembom as Memfi brings a calm, calculated menace to the film.


Muvico Pompano, Saturday, October 20, 5 p.m., Sunday, October 21, 7:30 p.m.

Lifelong friends Wilf and Reggie, together with former colleague Cissy, are residents of Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi's birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. But when Jean Horton, a former grande dame of the opera fallen on hard times, also Reggie's ex-wife and the fourth and most celebrated member of their former quartet, moves into the home, the plans for this year's concert start to unravel.

As old grudges threaten to undermine past glories and theatrical temperaments play havoc with the rehearsal schedule, it becomes apparent that having four of the finest singers in English operatic history under one roof offers no guarantee that the show will go on.

Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman takes a seat behind the camera for a directorial debut that stars two-time Oscar winner Maggie Smith, five- time nominee Albert Finney, and two-time nominee Tom Courtenay.

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