Terrence Malick's movie is a tragic love story and also thought-provoking study of the meeting of two completely different cultures. Compared to typical historical movies The New World is very realistic and also full of poetic scenes. The cinematography is impressively detailed and beautiful.
Grace, a rich girl, escapes her father to a small village where she meets people who seem to be pretty nice and hospitable. However, the residents start demanding more and more all the time and finally it appears that nothing is enough for them, and Grace ends up being humiliated by everyone. The powerful ending proves that everyone has their limits.
I'm not very familiar with the works of Francois Ozon but his erotic triller "Swimming Pool" makes me want to learn more about his style. The movie tells about a conservative author Sarah Morton who travels to a luxurious estate owned by John Bosload, who is the publisher of Sarah Morton's books.
Sarah is famous for her detective stories but is bored with them and would prefer to write something completely new thinking that new surrounding would give her an inspiration. Her inspiration is little different than she first thought: She doesn't know that John's daughter Julie is also living at the same house with her and since Sarah is very modest and introverted person, she has lots of troubles with free-spirited and sexually active Julie.
There's almost every night a new man in Julie's bed which obviously makes Sarah uncomfortable. Julie thinks Sarah just writes about the things she would like to do but dares not to admit it. Sarah's fantasies are mostly sexual including, for example, a handsome man working at the local restaurant.
As Sarah writes her book also fantasies and reality starts mixing together and nothing seems to be really clear anymore. There's obviously also some lesbian undertones in the story which you can notice by the way Sarah is checking Julie out. The relationship between these women starts to evolve and Sarah starts to become more relaxed until there's a murder. Fortunately the plot leaves enough space for the imagination of a viewer.
Vera Drake is an elderly, kind-hearted woman who works hard to support her relatives and, according to herself, helps girls in trouble. She performs abortions to girls without knowing that her friend secretly charges a high price for the operations. Characters of Mike Leigh's films are rarely black and white. For example, Vera Drake is a honest person who clearly believes she's doing the right thing, but she's also naive and in a way irresponsible which ends up costing a lot to her and people she cares the most. However, in spite of her mistakes, Vera is almost innocent compared to the hypocritical society condemning her.
House of Sand and Fog is an impressive movie about fight for justice, especially considering it is Vadim Perelman's first work. The director spent his childhood in The Soviet Union which presumably affected in his working.
In the plot a troubled woman named Kathy loses her house because of 500 dollar check she didn't pay. According to law, she didn't even need to pay this check but she can't stop the madness because of ruthlessness of certain officials. There's also an iranian man, a former colonel, who's now searching for a new house for his family. He barely has money to feed his family but as a man of principles he wants success. He wants to buy a house and later make a good profit by selling it.
Colonel notices advertisement of a house which was forced to a compulsory auction. That house is of course Kathy's house. Kathy knows a police who later becomes her boyfriend and is going to help her by any means necessary.
There's lot to think about in this movie. It tells about the collision of two completely different cultures, it asks important questions about personal responsibility and explores complexity of human nature.