2004 log (6)

(1 Jun) Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater) 87
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(2 Jun) Tokyo Godfathers (2003, Satoshi Kon) 66
[ After “Perfect Blue” and “Millennium Actress”, Satoshi Kon seriously tones down the mind-fucking to tell a simple fable about a homeless man, a heartbroken transvestite and a runaway girl who find a baby in the trash on Christmas eve and attempt to find her parents. This is all quite melodramatic, but the characters are quirky and the animation is wonderful. ]

(2 Jun) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, David Lean) 62
(2 Jun) Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski) 88
[ Part of the AFI list (#13 & #19) ]

(3 Jun) Slacker (1991, Richard Linklater) 76
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(4 Jun) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuaron) [ review ] 67

(5 Jun) Tape (2001, Richard Linklater) 69
(6 Jun) The Newton Boys (1998, Richard Linklater) 28
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(7 Jun) Les égarés (2003, André Téchiné) 32
[ Emmanuelle Béart and her kids are amongst the many driving out of 1940 Paris when the road is bombed by German planes. A mysterious teenager takes them into the woods, then into an abandoned mansion where, out of thought and time, they wait. Clips of black & white wartime footage and ominous music hint that the war will find them no matter what, but it never adds up to much. The relationship between Béart and the young stranger feels contrived, and the less said about the gratuitous anal sex scene the better. ]

(8 Jun) Fantasia (1940, Walt Disney) 90
(9 Jun) The Searchers (1956, John Ford) 64
(9 Jun) Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack) 35
[ Part of the AFI list (#58, #96 & #62) ]

(9 Jun) O (2001, Tim Blake Nelson) [ review ] 83

(10 Jun) Viva Chiba! THE BODYGUARD (1974, Simon Nuchtern) [ review ] 29

(11-12 Jun) Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season Two (2001, Robert B. Weide) 88
[ Larry David says the darndest things:
“I got a job… I’m selling cars!”
“Don’t say I have an ass fetish!”
“I do hate myself, but it has nothing to do with being Jewish.”
“Maybe in retrospect I should have said pussy
“He knows about the whole thong thing!”
Larry David brings the best out of people:
“You murdered my uncle for 5000$!?!”
“Where’s the fucking head?!?”
“Next time you’re in a hurry, why don’t you write me a buncha shit for free.”
“See? That’s my name. If it were yours, it would say Fucking Douchebag.”
“Seems to me, there was an indication that you were gonna do what you wanted, when you wanted because you feel, because of your celebrity, somehow you can do things without consequences.”
Ah! As if! There are ALWAYS consequences for Larry David, even when he hasn’t done anything! ]

(13 Jun) The Station Agent (2003, Tom McCarthy) 85
[ Fin McBride is a dwarf, there are no two ways about it. Everywhere he goes, people stare and snicker, yet he maintains a strong, quiet dignity. Still, when he inherits an abandoned train station in a small New Jersey town, he’s happy to go isolate himself there, unaware that he’ll have to reluctantly befriend a talkative Cuban a saddened artist. This is pure Sundance (it won the Audience Award last year): deliberately paced, quirky, heartfelt… The visuals have a casual elegance, the score is appropriately bittersweet and Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale and Patricia Clarkson are all endearing. This is truly a wonderful little film (no pun intended). ]

(15 Jun) Nathalie… (2004, Anne Fontaine) [ review ] 70

(15 Jun) The Stepford Wives (2004, Frank Oz) [ review ] 17

(16 Jun) Shogun’s Ninja (1980, Norifumi Suzuki) [ review ] 55

(17 Jun) RoboCop 2 (1990, Irvin Kershner) [ review ] 83

(18 Jun) RoboCop 3 (1993, Fred Dekker) [ review ] 16

(19 Jun) Moulin Rouge! (2001, Baz Luhrmann) [ review ] 98
Tenth viewing, still crying. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return…

(21 Jun) cette femme-là (2004, Guillaume Nicloux) 44
[ Guillaume Nicloux’s latest is as stylish as “Une affaire privée”, but it’s brought down by an overuse of cheap tricks. Whereas his previous feature was a film noir homage, “cette femme-là” goes all the way into gloomy surrealism. Josiane Balasko plays a cop who’s experiencing insomnia and suicidal thoughts as the anniversary of her son’s death approaches. On top of that, she’s investigating a bizarre case that starts to get confused with her nightmares. It makes for an intriguing character study, but the way the movie keeps jerking us around with horrors that turn out to be just dreams gets tiresome. ]

(22 Jun) Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, Michael Moore) [ review ] 80

(23 Jun) Lady Snowblood (1973, Fujita Toshiya) 92
[ “Yuki… You were born for vengeance.” And how! As deadly as she is beautiful, the woman in white will make all her enemies spray red. This classic Samurai tale of female revenge clearly inspired Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”, which uses its theme song The Flower of Carnage, is also divided into chapters out of chronological order, Lucy Liu looks just like Lady Snowblood at the end of “Vol. 1”, and then there’s all the blood pissing about! I adore old martial arts flicks, but I generally accept that clumsy craftsmanship and stupid nonsense go with the territory. Not the case here. This is so gorgeously shot, so thematically bleak… This is genre filmmaking as an art form. ]

(25 Jun) The Terminal (2004, Steven Spielberg) [ review ] 63

(26 Jun) Spider-Man (2002, Sam Raimi) [ review ] 85

(28 Jun) Nackt (2002, Dorie Dörrie) 22
[ Three couples: one happy, one unhappy, one broken up. One stupid bet: would they be able to recognize their better half while blindfolded, using only their hands? This German import tries to say it all about relationships but, while the characters do argue up a storm, there are no great insights behind the verbosity. In bringing her play to the screen, writer-director Doris Dörrie tries to enliven it with hipster bourgeois music, gratuitous song numbers and forced bits of whimsy, to little avail. The actors are appealing enough, but the ponderous writing weighs them down. ]

(29 Jun) Go Further (2004, Ron Mann) [ review ] 61

(29 Jun) Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi) [ review ] 88

May / July