The latest quietly powerful coming-of-age drama from Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Nobody Knows) tells the story of 12-year-old Koichi (Maeda Koki), whose wish is to see his family reunited after the divorce of his parents. When a bullet-train line is announced that will link his hometown with that of his younger brother, Koichi hopes for a miracle to bring the siblings back together. Kore-eda has made several successful films about children battling adversity, and this is more upbeat than most of them. Although the plot tends to meander, the film features some fine performances along with a script that avoids sentimentality in favor of genuine charm. (Not rated, 128 minutes).
Not many folks will connect with the crisis facing the main couple in this low-budget comedy of arrested development. It follows Neil (Todd Grinnell) and Sarah (Ali Hillis), who resolve a rut in their marriage with an impulsive trip down memory lane that includes a stop at their old apartment and visits with some old friends in their favorite neighborhood haunts. But will the nostalgia repair the relationship? It’s doubtful moviegoers will care to find out with a script from director John Chuldenko that’s more calculated than charming, and a premise that feels strained just to reach feature length. Neither the characters nor the dialogue feel authentic. (Rated PG-13, 93 minutes).
Tonight You’re Mine
The atmosphere might be appealing, but the contrived plotting cancels out most of the enjoyment in this low-budget romantic comedy from Scottish director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) that takes place during a real-life music festival, where Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Morello (Natalia Tena) are lead singers for fictional rival bands who become handcuffed together. They are forced to spend the next several hours sorting out their differences as they prepare to take the stage. That silly premise plays out in predictable fashion, even if the live soundtrack featuring performances by the Proclaimers, Kassidy and Newton Faulkner, among others, bring some welcome energy. (Rated R, 80 minutes).
Where Do We Go Now?
Good intentions and thought-provoking subtext abound in this wildly uneven comedy from director Nadine Labaki (Caramel) that takes place in a rural Lebanese village, chronicling the collaborative antics of local women to distract their stubborn and short-tempered men from outside news of religious conflict in order to preserve peace. The effort meets with mixed results after one woman’s son is killed. Labaki tries to put a lighthearted feminist spin on Middle East political tension with a mix of musical numbers and quirky characters, but the laughs are scattered and the overall insight is minimal. Perhaps the humor gets lost in the translation. (Rated PG-13, 110 minutes).