In the beautiful drama Cairo Time, opening Friday at the Edina Cinema, Patricia Clarkson (luminous as ever) plays Juliette, a successful magazine executive, who is waiting for her husband to return to Cairo from his work at a refugee camp. While she waits, she meets a friend of his, Tareq (Alexander Siddig from Syriana), and they form a friendship with hints of temptation in the air as he keeps her company while her husband’s away. The fourth film by writer/director Ruba Nadda suffers from some stiff dialogue at times, but it never feels slow or tiresome and seeing the sights of Egyptian pyramids, the street markets, and the lavish coffee shop that Tareq owns makes this film like finding a rare gem. Clarkson’s performance is terrific and by the time you leave the theater you’ll feel like you have sand in your shoes. Cairo Time is also available on demand via cable and satellite providers through November 6.
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo, available today via on-demand only, is a cryptic dramatic thriller featuring a strange chemistry between its two leads, Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) and Sergei Lopez (Pan’s Labyrinth). Ryu (Kikuchi; great to see her on screen again) works endless nights at a Tokyo fish market but also doubles as a hit man, who has been assigned to kill David (Lopez), whose previous relationship with pretty Midori ended suddenly as she committed suicide. Midori’s father, a wealthy businessman, blames David for it and wants him dead. Enter Ryu, who is supposed to kill David but ends up meeting him at his wine shop where they proceed to start a sexual relationship. Spaniard Isabel Coixet wrote and directed this slow-moving, pretentious, melancholy story that never feels completely satisfying as a whole but has some nice moments and stunning photography of Tokyo. Everything from the fish markets to the “Fantasy Suite” hotel room resembling a subway car to the stunning opening scene of businessmen sitting down eating sushi off of naked models, Map of the Sounds of Tokyo worrks when it focuses on the city instead of its odd characters. Map of the Sounds of Tokyo is available on demand through cable and satellite providers through November 25.