Film & TV

Miami International Film Festival 2014: Five Must-See Films for the Final Week

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The Double

Imagine you're half-assing your work and love-life when suddenly a guy who looks just like you takes a job at your office and succeeds in impressing the boss and scoring with your office crush. The idea of the sudden appearance of a doppelganger is a surreal concept that's worked great in literature in the past (see the similarly titled book by José Saramago and the Dostoyevsky novella, which loosely inspired this film). Sometimes, it's even worked in cinema (see Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Doppelganger). No one does milquetoast as well as Jesse Eisenberg, so The Double, should bring some interesting acting gymnastics by the guy most famous for playing Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Showing Thursday, March 13, at 9:15 p.m. at Regal South Beach; and Saturday, March 15, at 6:45 p.m. at Paragon Grove 13. Tickets.

Heli

Bound to be one of the most unsettling films at MIFF 31, Heli took the director's prize at Cannes last year. It's a brutal take on the cost of the war on drugs to an innocent family in Guanajuato, Mexico. Director Amat Escalante has crafted a powerful film that takes no prisoners. It's heart-breaking, horrific, and utterly essential. Escalante strips cinema narrative to a strange deadpan delivery for heightened affect. That one of the most brutal torture and death scenes happens in a room where children play video games and a mother cooks in an open doorway speaks to the twisted ordinariness and the devaluation of life in a once vibrant nation. Showing Saturday, March 15, 9:30 p.m. at O Cinema Wynwood. Tickets.

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos (indieethos.com) if not in New Times.