Friday, April 30, 2010
3 out 5. I saw Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's BLACK NARCISSUS the other night and the hero here, as with the film RED DESERT, is JACK CARDIFF's cinematography. So much so that the rest of the movie pales by comparison. The story is odd and interesting and some of the acting is pretty good. The directing and shot compositions were quite nice though. It's British so a lot rides on subtlety and melodrama. Unfortunately some of it was hard to agree with. This is one of those film school films that you should definitely watch. It's mildly entertaining, and the protagonist, Sister Rose has a moment that is really quite intriguing on the level of Medea.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
5 out of 5. Craig Gillespie's LARS AND THE REAL GIRL makes you see the good in humanity, especially in community. It forces one to look at how people have to grow beyond traumatic experiences in ways that make very little sense to most of us. The acting is first rate. Since HALF-NELSON I've been a fan of Ryan Gosling's work. He's an actor's actor and he's got my respect. If you like Edward Norton's early work you'll dig this guy. It's hard to compare this movie to anything. It's bittersweet and makes you work for it but by the end, you really get a satisfying pay-off.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
3 out of 5. Philip Ridley's THE REFLECTING SKIN is a richly textured piece of filmwork. There's a lot of metaphor running around in the barren fields of the young Seth Dove. There's a cruelty and the debauchery of childhood innocence that permeates throughout and feels right for some reason. The acting is just okay, but the photography and art direction is really great.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
4 out of 5. After seeing BADLANDS and giving it a 5, I thought I'd chance DAYS OF HEAVEN to see what else Terrence Malick can do. Suffice it to say he has a style of space and time and poetry that I haven't seen in many directors. If there was a slow-cook movement in film he'd be the head chef. But not slow in the way that Kubrick plays, more like lets build up the slowness with cut-away close-ups of supporting imagery and create a textural piece. The story is well-done and the acting is superb. The cinematography is masterful and I love the ending. If you like Malick you know what you're getting...a film with ease...but not an easy film.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
3 out of 5. Alejandro Jodorworsky's SANTA SANGRE rewards those with thoughtful patience. Saw this again, which is rare for me, but I'm glad I did. Really challenging visuals and pacing that seem abstract and unconnected until the end. What a great third act. If you like bizarre foreign films that remind you of David Lynch...sort of...this is a good bet.
4 out of 5. Speaking of smart people, Miranda July's ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW is all about smart writing. Not the kind of writing like JUNO where everyone sounded witty and verbose but the kind of writing that plays eccentricities off each other but not superfluously. All the pieces fit together into a complex tapestry of character and story that actually mean something. She acts in it as well, which is yet another facet of her crazy abilities as an artist. I wished she'd do more. If you like Todd Solondz work, like Happiness or Palindromes you will most likely dig this.