Movies: Searching, The Little Stranger, Gabriel and the Mountain

Warm greetings to all!

Movie buffs may recall this holiday weekend was one of the biggest weekends of the year with Telluride, Venice and the Toronto Film Festivals launching their programs.  Two Documentary hopefuls include the yet to be released Pick of the Litter and Active Measures Critics also noticed The Little Stranger.  We were fortunate to catch a showing this weekend.  Our review is below.




This film is focused on a missing 16 year old San Jose girl.  After 37 hours with no leads, her father decides to investigate via his daughter’s lap top.  This approach yields an ever expanding number of communicating options on the daughters smart phone and laptop all with little or no tangible results.  Soon a detective is assigned to the case but the progress is slow and frustrating.

The leading actors are John Cho as the father and Debra Messing as the detective.  Both give solid believable performances.  Michele La plays the daughter Margo, while the center of the story, her screen time is quite short.

The suspense factor gradually becomes more intense as the story unfolds.  Overall, the tone builds and tension grows and grows.  The surprise ending is executed nicely.  It’s clever and inventive.  Overall, it’s a unique movie.

It is rated PG-13 for thematic content, drug use and sexual references, and for language.  The numerous and continual computer screen shots became tedious after a while.  It’s listed as a Mystery & Suspense with a run time of 101 minutes.


The Little Stranger

Opening in Telluride Labor Day weekend, this film yielded poor box office receipts elsewhere.  Our theater had less than 10 ticket holders.  That was a bit of a surprise given the Director, Lenny Abrahamson, of Room.  It is an odd story of class and privilege set in 1948.  There is a creepy undercurrent to the plot that ebbs and flows.  It is subtle and unsettling.

The cast is quite good.  Domhnall Gleeson is excellent as the Doctor.  Will Poulter plays the son.  Ruth Wilson, Josh Dylan and Charlotte Rampling, who plays the mother, rounds out the key characters.

Unexpectedly the house and its occupants incrementally get weird.  Is the place haunted?  Are the characters all nuts?  We never really know!  One critic said it best  “an elegant, cold-to-the-touch blend of drama and gothic horror.”  We say it was slow, confusing and unsatisfying.

It’s rated R for some disturbing bloody images.  It’s listed as a Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense.  It runs a long 1 hour 51 minutes.


Gabriel and the Mountain

One part travel story, one part documentary, and one part fiction.  The total is apparently ‘all of the above’.

Brazilian student Gabriel Buchmann decides to spend a year traveling around the world before continuing his education at a prestigious American University.  After 10 months he finds himself in Kenya.

He is intelligent, educated, resourceful, adventurous and likable.  He is also naive, impulsive, persistent and stubborn.

His girlfriend joins him for some of the remaining weeks before she returns to Brazil to finish her education as Gabriel decided to climb his last conquest, Mount Malawi in Malawi.

Travel film, check.  Adventure film, check.  Love story, check.  Happy ending?  You’ll have to discover for yourself.

This film is not rated.  It is listed as an Art House & International, Drama.  The run time is 127 minutes.  English, French, Portuguese with English subtitles.



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