Sunday, September 19, 2010

Movie Capsules by Barry Epstein Sept. 10, 2010 Playing at the Cinemark, Muvico, Regal & Sunrise Cinemas

Farewell ***1/2
An espionage agent begins working against his own country for the good of the world in this drama based on a true story. Sergei Grigoriev (Emir Kusturica) is a Soviet intelligence operative who has become deeply disillusioned with life under Communism -- while he believes in the ideals the U.S.S.R was founded upon, he feels they have been become hopelessly compromised by their current leadership, and that the old government must be brought down for the sake of future generations. With this in mind, Grigoriev strikes up a friendship with Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), a French engineer who is living and working in Moscow and has no idea his new pal is a spy. Once Grigoriev has gained Froment's confidence, he begins passing classified documents along to Froment with the understanding that they will then be forwarded to French intelligence. It soon becomes clear that what Grigoriev has to share are American state secrets and classified scientific documents confirming the KGB has been digging deep into U.S. security; when the CIA finds out just how much the Russians know, it sparks an international incident and fierce reprisals against the U.S.S.R. Directed by Christian Carion, L'Affaire Farewell (aka Farewell) was based on the true story of KGB agent Vladimir Vetrov; the film also stars Fred Ward, Willem Dafoe and David Soul. R 1 hour 53 minutes Three and a half stars

Restrepo ***
It is fairly extraordinary that this film exists. The level of access attained by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger over their 15-month period embedded with the Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade allows for an incredibly unvarnished account -- including footage of deaths both civilian and military. It's perhaps the most intimate and unflinching examination yet of the processes of modern warfare -- and an exhilarating, heartrending, profoundly moving film in its own right. R 96 minutes 3 stars

Flipped ** 1/2
When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows its love. But Bryce isn't so sure. Girl-phobic and easily embarrassed, young Bryce does everything he can to keep his outspoken wannabe girlfriend at arm's length... for the next six years, which isn't easy since they go to the same school and live across the street from each other. But if Juli finally looks away, will it be Bryce's turn to be dazzled? "Flipped" takes Bryce and Juli from grade school to junior high; through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make the discoveries that will define who they are - and who they are to each other. PG 90 minutes. Two and a half stars

Animal Kingdom **
Despite being no saint herself, seventeen year old Joshua "J" Cody's mother shielded her son from her Melbourne-based criminal relatives who they have not seen in years. After J's mother dies from a self-inflicted heroin overdose, J, who is slightly detached from life, feels he has no choice but to contact his maternal grandmother, Janine "Smurf" Cody, the family matriarch, for a place to live. Smurf rules the family with a borderline incestuous love over her three sons, the quietly menacing Andrew "Pope" Cody, the hyperactive Craig Cody, and the barely of age Darren Cody. Pope and his best friend, Barry "Baz" Brown, are armed robbers, with Darren their up and coming apprentice, while Craig is a mid level drug dealer. Melbourne's Armed Robbery Squad is after specifically Pope, who is hiding out. But when the standoff between the Codys and the Armed Robbery Squad is brought up a notch, an all out war ensues, with some casualties and J caught in the middle. The only grounding in J's life is his girlfriend, Nicky Henry. With those casualties comes an investigation by Homicide Detective Senior Sergeant Nathan Leckie, who knows the Codys are involved. As Leckie tries to get J on his side, J has to figure out how best to get himself out from the middle, where he trusts neither side. J also wants to figure out how to exact what he considers justice in an all around bad situation. R 1 hour 52 minutes. Two stars

Barry Epstein is president of Barry R. Epstein Associates, a full service public relations, marketing and political consulting firm based in Boca Raton, Fl. For more information, visit or call 561.852.0000. Watch barry Epstein live every Friday morning at 10 AM on or anytime by clicking ondemand barryepstein

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