Sunday, October 17, 2010

Movies!- Mid August to Now

Well, I was a bit rushed when I had to write that first introduction, so here's a little bit more about myself. I've just moved to Paris for 1 year from upstate new york. This being the city where movies were pretty much invented (well, the British, Americans, and French all claim the invention of cinema for themselves) it's a pretty great place for any film buff. The city's filled with theaters and also boasts the Cinemateque Francaise which is a sweet place to watch movies or go to exhibitions or forget to see David Lynch presenting Mullholand Drive last Wednesday (fuck!). All of this is good because there is no Netflix in France and no real way to rent movies. So the theatres are definitely the way to go.

And since I've seen a lot of great things since I've been here, here are some short reviews of every movie I've seen in theatres so far, both new ones and reissues. Ratings are on a 10 point scale with anything above an 8 considered "best new movie" anything above a 7 as definitely good and anything above a 6 still fairly decent. So yes, I'm blatantly ripping off

To Be or Not To Be- Ernst Lubitsch takes on the Nazis in 1942. Obviously, he wouldn't have been making concentration camp jokes if he known a little more about what was really going on, but it's the humor that makes the satire that much more biting and the movie so much fun to watch. A classic. 8.8

Tamara Drewe- Stephen Frears' new comedy doesn't seem to be getting as much love- from critics or audiences- as it deserves. It's a modest little movie, but it's a  very smart and has a dark sense of humor th that brings more laughs than most of what I've seen this year. 7.8

Uncle Boonmee- This is the one that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It also played at the New York Film Festival. What a great movie! I think the best words to describe it are "meditative" (it's very spiritual and slow paced) and "mind-fuck" (one scene involving a woman and a fish and some sort of weird woman-fish intercourse is particularly bizzarre.) It basically tells the story of a dying old man who can remember his various incarnations in past lives. I don't know if I really understood it at anything more than a visceral level but I think that sort of emotional interaction was mainly what the filmaker, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, was going for. 8.6

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger- Woody Allen's latest. Not too bad. Not too good. 6.5

Crimes and Misdemeanors- Woody Allen's not so latest. Pretty great re-imagination of Crime and Punishment. It's probably his most overtly philosophical work. One of his darkest, yet also hopeful in a strange way. Check out the powerful last scene for what seem to be his thoughts on the meaning of life (although I could do without the montage.) 9.2

The last Exorcism- Quite Enjoyable. The documentary style footage starts out as surprisingly realistic and even intelligent. Some of the scares become quite silly, and the ending truly sucks. 6.5

Simon Werner a Disparu- A small French movie about a missing high school student that plays with multiple storylines quite skillfully and does a good job creating tension. It also boasts a kickass sonic youth score. Unfortunately the ending is a bit of a let down here as well; the happenings seem to get more and more bizarre as the story builds but realism and logical explanations eventually take over. 7.1

Cyrus- Sweet little indie from the Duplass Brothers (known for their role in the mumblecore movement apparently) that loses most of the comedy in the second half for better or for worse. 7.0

The Town- Affleck's second is quite well done if not a little sappy and unrealistic. It's expertly crafted escapism but I feel that it's a little cheep to make a movie where it's so easy to root for the criminal and hope that his bank robberies succeed. The sensitive criminal role is really pushed to its limits. 7.6

I Am Love- Tilda Swinton gives a great performance in this bold Italian drama about a rich woman's search for passion and delicious food with a cook who's a friend of her son's. It can get pretty over the top and melodramatic especially in the final act, but the director, Luca Guadagnino, definitely has a unique vision. 7.1

Ces Amours La- Speaking of over the top. This pic depicts a woman's love affairs from WWII to the present and is definitely ambitious, but it's also more than a little ridiculous. And I've mentioned al ot of sucky endings, but this one's is so unbelievably sappy, long, and overreaching that it almost becomes admirable. It's directed by famous french cineaste Claude Lelouche. 5.5

Des Hommes et des Dieux- This Grand Prix winner about French monks in Algeria is huge here, so it will definitely make it over to the states eventually, probably in time to compete as France's entry for best foreign pic at the Oscars. It's an undeniably great movie- it doesn't do anything wrong- but while it is moving, it didn't truly move me personally as much as some other things out there. So while it's technically perfect, I didn't make much of a personal connection with it. 8.4

Poetry- Now here's another one from Cannes (best screenplay) and I found it a little more moving. It shows the story of a Korean mother simultaneously learning to write poetry and coping with the realisation that her son helped drive one of his schoolmates to suicide. It seemed to start of as a fairly standard slice-of-life foreign pic but eventually heads into weirder richer territory. 8.5

Well that's about all I could get in tonight. I'll finish this up tomorrow and hopefully I can get in some more quality movie watching this week.

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