Entertainment Bonanza

Now is a great time to go to the movies. No, not see “Ant-Man & Wasp: Quantumania”, though I did think it was fun. And worth it to see in 3-D or IMAX. What’s great about the weeks before the Academy Awards is that there’s a slew of films that are being re-released into theaters. If you missed some of my favorite films from 2022 like “Women Talking” or made do with watching “Everything Everywhere All at Once” on your tv…they’re both back in theaters. And if you’re a fan of Maggie Chung, (and who isn’t?!), there’s the 20th anniversary screenings of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to enjoy on the big screen.

My favorite International Film, “Close” (Lucas Dhont) from Belgium, is now playing. It’s a remarkable, moving story of two young boys and how their relationship is tested in school. There’s also the Irish film, “The Quiet Girl” (An Cailín Ciúin, Colm Bairéad) coming to theaters this week. It’s phenomenal. It’s the first film from Ireland to be nominated for Best International Feature Film Oscar. Even more unusual, it’s filmed in the Irish language. The young star, Catherine Clinch, gives an exceptionally nuanced performance for a young actress. A simple story about a life-changing summer in one young girl’s life, the screenplay is based on the novella, Foster
by Claire Keegan. More on “Close” here and “The Quiet Girl” here.

See it this week on the big screen! “The Quiet Girl”, Catherine Clinch

This year, the Oscar Nominated Short Films are screening in many theaters…not just on art-house screens. I can recommend the Live Shorts, though I felt like the Animation Shorts were a mixed bag. I haven’t had a chance to see the Documentary Shorts yet. What’s wonderful about watching the short films, even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s over soon.

One more shorts collection to see before Sunday!

When I wrote my round-up of favorite films, there were a few I knew I’d love that I had missed. Luckily, the South Korean film, “Broker”, is out now. If you enjoyed Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s last film, “Shoplifters”(2018), you’ll be delighted with this film. Comparing the two films, it’s clear that Kore-eda can invoke empathy and lead you to care about people from the fringes of society. These are people you may not give a second glance or perhaps, even avoid. Kore-eda gives you a reason to care about them and their quest to build a family.

Written and directed by Kore-eda, “Broker” stars the lead actor from “Parasite”, Song Kang-ho. He gives a wonderful, nuanced performance. His face is akin to a round mirror reflecting emotions that swim across. He’s ably supported by his cast mates Gang Dong-won, Lee Joo-young, and as detectives on a stake out: Lee Ji-eun and Bae Doona. Each of these characters have secrets that will draw them together.

A still from “Broker” with Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won and Lee Joo-young

The film follows our central trio on their mission to find the most suitable parents for a baby. The films opens with the child left at a Baby Box at a church. Tracking the baby brokers is a couple of policewomen who want to arrest them and ensure a proper adoption. The plot twist is that the mother of the child is one of the perpetrators. It’s all a dubious moral soup for our characters. They have conflicted feelings about this enterprise and as the movie unfolds, you learn more of each character’s backstory.

“Broker” is a quiet film with moments of humor, pathos and tension. One minute, the mismatched trio are hiding in a drycleaner van and the next, they’re dealing with an unconscious mobster. It’s a complicated plot and the surprising twists are great fun. Sometimes you want a movie that’s enjoyable and thought-provoking. “Broker” is that film.

Drinks with Films ratings:

4 cups of tea (out of 5) for “Broker”

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