By Robin E. Simmons

Gemma Boverys Gemma ArtertonGEMMA BOVARY

“Madame Bovary,” Flaubert’s literary classic gets a naughty reboot in this delightful film that plays with the notion that life imitates art in the most unexpected ways when delicious, unsophisticated British beauty Gemma Bovary (Gemma Arterton) and her furniture maker husband move to the village where Flaubert wrote his novel a hundred years ago.

Gemma Arterton’s endearing performance in the title role is reason enough to see this sweetly alluring film that is light on plot but otherwise ravishing.

Gemma BoveryA big, sold out hit at our last Palm Springs International Film Festival, here’s a chance to see for the first time — or again — this visually lush and beguiling film. The amiably rambling story becomes more focused when Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), a local baker and Flaubert fan, is smitten by the lovely Gemma and decides to be her mentor. Soon, Martin wheedles himself into Gemma’s life and begins imagining parallels between the purely fictional and the flesh and blood woman. But — no spoiler here — Gemma soon finds herself in a looming crisis when Joubert insists she is reliving the fate of Flaubert’s literary heroine. Now Gemma must make an uncomfortable decision.

Gemma Bovary2Director Anne Fontaine has crafted an adroit adaptation of the eponymous graphic novel that is as much a sexy romance as it is a fête of French country life. Don’t miss this perfect get-a-way from the blistering heat. Now showing at Cinemas Palme d’Or.



Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) is a cubicle-bound office drone seeking escape from her dreary life. Relying solely on her imagination and unexpected courage, she thinks she’s found a way out of her office drudgery when she finds a battered VHS cassette of a fictional film (FARGO?) that she mistakes for a fact-filled documentary. Specifically, she is obsessed and ultimately fixated on a scene from her VHS tape where a suitcase filled with stolen cash has been buried somewhere in North Dakota’s bleak frozen terrain. Believing this treasure to be utterly real and awaiting her recovery, Kumiko leaves Tokyo — and her beloved pet rabbit Bunzo — to find it! But, she instead quickly discovers she’s on an adventure of danger and delusion unlike anything she has seen in the movies — or imagined.

Kumiko1This hugely engaging but decidedly odd odyssey, inspired by an urban legend, directed and co-written by David Zeller and produced by Alexander Payne (THE DESCENDANTS) received a Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Don’t miss this sometimes very dark comedy that is also a bright drama. I guarantee it will long linger long in the mind after final fade out.  Anchor Bay.  Blu-ray. 


Inspired by the acclaimed from Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway, this satirical — but not inaccurate — look at corporate deception explores how popular media twists and spins stories, confuses the public and delays action on some of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time – from tobacco to climate change. “As fascinating as it is horrifying” said Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan. This one is a must see for all who are concerned with our personal and collective future. There are on-camera interviews with individuals on both sides of the arguments including scientists, whistle blowers and activists. Some of the best and moist insightful moments come from Republican Congressman Bob Inglis; Marc Morano, Executive Director of; and Stanton Glantz, an American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control. Merchants1Robert Kenner  (Best Documentary FOOD, INC., 2010) directs. Don’t be a dupe. See this important and infuriating film.  Sony.  Blu-ray.