‘Chuck Norris vs. Communism’: The most sincere tribute 1980s Hollywood will ever get

The documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism recounts how bootleg tapes of Hollywood movies became an underground phenomenon in Cold War-era Romania. The real-life intrigue that swirled around the bootleg videocassettes — and the accompanying paranoia and absurdity — makes for a fascinating, “only in the Eastern Bloc” story. Read more [...]

Top 10 movies of 2013: One man’s non-curmudgeonly list

Despite the stretches of the summer that felt like a wasteland at the multiplex, 2013 turned out to be a very good year for movies. Although I saw 160 movies last year (96 of which were assignments), I still wouldn't claim this list is definitive — there are too many new releases now, on all sorts of distribution channels, for that. Read more [...]

SEEFest: Another Europe comes to L.A. screens this weekend

Today through Monday: The annual South East European Film Festival features movies from a corner of Europe not often seen on our screens. Don't pass up this opportunity to expand your cinematic horizons — the only downside to the SEEFest is that there are too many promising movies to catch on one long weekend. Read more [...]

The plight of Romanian filmmakers: celebrated abroad, unloved at home?

Romania has produced a remarkable streak of award-winning films since 2005. But the international acclaim doesn’t mean that the filmmakers who make up the so-called Romanian New Wave are necessarily popular at home — with audiences or the government. Read more [...]

A real-life exorcism: ‘Beyond the Hills,’ winner of two awards at Cannes

Based on an infamous incident that took place in Romania in 2005, Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills is the patiently observed case history of a tragedy. The movie seeks to know how an act that seems unthinkable in 21st-century Europe could have come to pass. Read more [...]