by Jeff Niesel
While most moviegoers will undoubtedly go see Will Ferrell ham it up in the Land of the Lost remake that opens this weekend, the Cedar Lee is adding three new films, including the terrific Cleveland International Film Festival hit Rudo y Cursi . Here are capsule reviews of the movies opening at the Cedar Lee this weekend.
Enlighten Up Determined to prove that under the right circumstances, yoga can transform even the most jaded person, yoga enthusiast and documentary moviemaker Kate Churchill selected Nick Rosen, a New York City journalist, to be her guinea pig. She flies him all over the world so he can be exposed to a variety of different practices, each more spiritual than the next. He meets Dr. Madan Kataria, the “Guru of Giggling,” who instructs him in the ways of Laughter Yoga, and Diamond Dallas Page, a proponent of what he calls “Yoga For Regular Guys.” He travels to India and then back to the U.S. And yet, he remains unconvinced of yoga’s transforming powers, sending Churchill into such a rage that she stops talking to him for a short time. While the tension would normally make for a good documentary, here it just feels awkward and uncomfortable, especially since neither Churchill nor Rosen are particularly sympathetic characters. ** 1/2 (Jeff Niesel)
Rudo y Cursi One of the best films that screened at this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival, Rudo y Cursi reunites Y Tu Mamá Tabién stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna as a pair of small-town siblings with aspirations of playing soccer professionally. Tato (Bernal) and Beto (Luna) both get their chance to go pro when they’re “discovered” by a sleazy sports agent who’s made it his mission to find young soccer players and get them placed onto major teams. Both players become minor celebrities, though each has trouble controlling the wealth and fame that comes his way. The two end up as bitter rivals, playing for opposing teams, and must try to redeem themselves in one final showdown that features a surprise ending. With Rudo y Cursi, Mexican writer-director Carlo Cuarón, who co-wrote the Y Tu Mamá Tabién screenplay with his brother Alfonso, has crafted a terrific story that’s alternately funny and tragic and deserving of every bit of critical praise it’s already received. *** (Niesel)
Summer Hours “Beauty is beauty...you notice it,” elderly matriarch Hélène Berthier (screen veteran Edith Scob) remarks at the beginning of French chameleon Olivier Assayas’ exquisite, ineffably lovely new film, and that pretty well sums up this sublime achievement as well. After Helene’s death, her three grown children (Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling and Jérémie Renier) descend upon her country home to divvy up the estate and their mother’s belongings. Shockingly, there are no tearful recriminations or buried family skeletons to spark phony melodrama. The Berthiers are that rare screen family that genuinely seems to like each other. The delicacy of emotions conveyed through the pitch-perfect performances and Assayas’ rigorous, unfussy mise-en-scene is so palpable and genuinely touching that it bears comparison with Jean Renoir’s humanist masterpieces. Here is that rare film so infused with feeling that it can literally take your breath away. *** (Milan Paurich)