has anyone reviewed this? i can’t see it. regardless.
this film starts with a couple talking to a judge. the camera is on the couple. the judge is invisible throughout but we can hear his questions. he sounds very reasonable. the couple discusses heatedly the question of their separation. the wife wants to leave the country; the husband says it’s impossible because he has to take care of his ill elderly father. they are both fetching (the wife is beautiful), articulate, passionate. they mostly look at the judge. neither gives an inch. the judge says that the only option is for them to separate. enter the problem of the 11-year-old daughter. the wife wants the daughter to go with her. the husband says the daughter doesn’t want to go. the judge (if memory serves) leaves it at that. the film starts as a family drama. Continue reading a separation
Hype be damned, this is about as great an American mainstream movie that I can remember seeing for a few years. That it chronicles a guy and his creation which is so pervasive that it would have been on the cover of every third magazine without the movie is that much more impressive. It could so easily have become a relic, b/c when we all do jump ship from Facebook, there’d still be this entertaining movie. It could have come out when we’re on the next thing. It wouldn’t matter how good a movie about Napster is, if it was released in 2010. Or even in 2003. Fossil. Instead, we have a movie set in 2003 that might feels like it’s set right this very second.
I’m failing to come up with proper analogies. All the President’s Men perhaps? That was a four year gap between events and the movie. Social Network has a longer gap between the depicted events and today than President’s Men, but the important difference is this time the movie is out, and Nixon is still in the White House. Continue reading The Social Network
The original 1960 film, based on the the Stephen Potter novels, and directed by Robert Hamer. It’s quite good. Alastair Sim is terrific. And he has the fuzziest ears in all of movie history. This is the story, which is not exactly like that of the Todd Phillips remake, which came out a few years ago: Henry Palfrey (played by the late Ian Carmichael, of I’m All right Jack and Lucky Jim fame) is the head of a small firm (very small, not very firm). He is a nitwit and everyone knows it but him–that is until Raymond Delauney, with whom he occasionally plays tennis, makes him all-too-aware of this fact. But the film doesn’t begin here, it begins a little later then jumps backwards. Continue reading School for Scoundrels (1960)
I love this movie. I came across the Criterion DVD at Video Journeys last year along with The Friends of Eddie Coyle and had my mind wiped clean by how non-Scorsese and non-cliche a gangster movie can be. Is there anther Terrence Stamp performance that is as perfect as this? (until The Limey, which is so in debt to this…)
As if he’s not enough (and he would be), there is a barely out of his teens Tim Roth and an excellent John Hurt performance as well. This movie sent me back to find as many of Stamp’s older movies as I could find, but it seems like some are – unbelievably – lost. Ken Loach’s Poor Cow is not on DVD and I have not seen it anywhere.
This is best film I’ve seen all year and will be released on DVD next Tuesday so I thought I might encourage all to bump it up to the top of your Netflix queue. Jacques Audiard’s film (which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film this past February) is best described as magical neo-realism and tells the story of Malik, a passive, scared, eighteen-year-old who speaks French and Arabic but has been a ward of the state for so long, he really doesn’t know who or what he is. Serving a six-year prison sentence for assault, Malik’s first days are grim, but he is soon made an offer by the Corsican crime syndicate who runs life behind bars . . . let’s just say it’s an offer he can’t refuse (and one which will change the course of his life in ways not even Malik can fully comprehend). As the days and weeks and months and years accumulate, Malik grapples with issues of loyalty, morality, religion and guilt in a coming-of-age drama which is truly epic in scope. Un Prophète instantly evokes comparisons to Coppola’s The Godfather, Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and Meirelles’ City of God. It really is that good.
This is best film Iâ€™ve seen all year and in honor of its DVD release next Tuesday, I thought I might encourage all to bump it up to the top of your Netflix queues. Jacques Audiardâ€™s film (which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film this past February) is best described as magical neo-realism and tells the story of Malik, a passive, scared, eighteen-year-old who speaks French and Arabic but has been a ward of the state for so long, he really doesnâ€™t know who or what he is. Serving a six-year prison sentence for assault, Malikâ€™s first days are grim, but he is soon made an offer by the Corsican crime syndicate who runs life behind bars . . . letâ€™s just say itâ€™s an offer he canâ€™t refuse (and one which will change the course of his life in ways not even Malik can fully comprehend). As the days and weeks and months and years accumulate, Malik grapples with issues of loyalty, morality, religion and guilt in a coming-of-age drama which is truly epic in scope. Un ProphÃ¨te instantly evokes comparisons to Coppolaâ€™s The Godfather, Scorseseâ€™s Goodfellas, and Meirellesâ€™ City of God. It really is that good.
I rented this almost out of obligation — oh, critical acclaim, some kind of prominent artist behind it all, the Troubles, Bobby Sands. Yes, sure, sounds good for me, let’s scan through it quickly. But I found this film astonishing, powerful and beautiful and brutal and unexpected in its force and aesthetics. I can’t recommend it more highly.
And, yes, it is about the group of Irish prisoners leading the blanket [no uniforms accepted, prisoners naked but for woolen blankets] and dirty [urine spilled into the halls, shit smeared all over the walls] protests, demanding political status from Thatcher’s government, and about Bobby Sands, more centrally, deciding upon a hunger strike and then slowly, painfully whittled away. But Steve McQueen’s focus is on the body, as a complex site of political and aesthetic will. Continue reading Hunger
I very much enjoyed Armando Iannucci’s film In the Loop (buried after nattering on about The Hurt Locker), but the original series which spawned the film–The Thick of It–is even better.
In the interests of sweeping characterization of national identity, let me say that no one does the comedy of viciousness like the British. There are some great American satires, but such comedies here often counterpose the brute nasty with a sense of sentiment or meaning. Or just soften the blows in other ways — no one is totally ruthlessly mean, or if they are, then someone around them is a counterbalance, a Candide-like innocent protecting the audience from the caustic. But a great vicious British comedy (Waugh, Amis–father or son, Cleese’s Fawlty) mocks everyone and everything. There are no heroes.
Continue reading Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off
Spike Lee’s well-choreographed record of the last performance of the musical Passing Strange may have a (very) familiar narrative arc–young alienated man, seeking true expression and self and art, misses the reality of relationships and love. Yet it has this rock-(and-r&b-and-soul-not-to-mention-cabaret-and-a-little-Kraftwerk-and-a-thousand-other-eclectic-musical-allusions-)operatic vigor that made me forget I’d ever seen a musical before. Narrated by singer/writer Stew and his greek-chorus band, this movie is as funny, moving, and deliriously melodically gorgeous as any I’ve seen in some time. The cast is sweaty and superb; Stew is a fucking wonder; the songs are as lyrically twisty as Sondheim, and there are moments of thumping keyboard and percussive soaring guitar and choral chant that almost had me, alone in my living room, on my feet.
In the critical din about Spike Jonze’ vision of Sendak’s glorious little book, count me one more small voice in the chorus of unqualified love and admiration. It is now a hat-trick: the three most affecting, technically intriguing, emotionally-complicated films I’ve seen this year have all been children’s films. (And I still await Wes Anderson’s stab at the genre, and it’s not counting Miyazaki’s very fine but thinner Ponyo.) I really want to see it again–this time without the two toddlers behind me chattering and cooing over various sequences and/or various snacks and/or other things that popped into their head when the film wandered off rumpus into reverie. But, at the moment, it feels like the best film I’ve seen. Continue reading Wild Things