2005 log (10)

(3 Oct) The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Nick Park) [ review ] 75

(4 Oct) A Conversation with Lars von Trier (2005, Eva Ziemsen)
[ To meet the director of “Dogville”, Eva Ziemsen was ready to fly to Denmark even though her interview demands had been refused. When she’s turned down again at Zentropa studios, she offers to conduct the interview naked! Ziemsen’s resilience is admirable, but von Trier ultimately doesn’t have anything new to say. ]

(4 Oct) Un homme sans histoire (2005, Pierre Maillard) 28
[ Part of Voir’s Nouveau Cinéma coverage ]

(4 Oct) Petit Pow! Pow! Noël (2005, Robert Morin) 90
[ Robert Morin is a video virtuoso, we already knew that, but with this incendiary new falsely (?) autobiographic yarn à la “Yes Sir! Madame”, he punches us in the gut once more. With nothing more than a voyeuristic camera and an accusatory voice pacing around an elderly man in a hospital room, Morin delivers an ultra dense, dynamic, sometimes funny but mostly disturbing film. Morin is an incredible storyteller and a fiercely clever filmmaker and it’s endlessly impressive how he manages to keep us hanging to his every word. All that time, the objective is pointed at objects, photographs, objects, body parts, the TV or out the window, punctuating the discourse with seemingly banal images that become evocative. “Petit Pow! Pow! Noël” is the story of a man who visits his dad on Christmas with the intent of making him suffer and eventually die for his crimes against his family. The catch is that whatever torture (psychological or otherwise) he inflicts on the old bastard, it pales in comparison with the daily pain and humiliation of having to be fed, washed and get your diapers changed. Even though the protagonist is motivated by hatred, the evident loss of human dignity on display makes a striking pro-euthanasia case. Morin’s movie takes a situation often seen in Québécois cinema, the neglected son who confronts his father on his deathbed (see also: “Les invasions barbares”, “La vie avec mon père”), but here it’s devoid of superfluous flourishes, romanticism or pretension. “Petit Pow! Pow! Noël” is a thought-provoking, unforgettable real-life horror tale. ]

(5 Oct) Musicals Great Musicals (1996, David Thompson) 72
[ This documentary retraces the history of the Arthur Freed unit at MGM, back when musicals were the biggest thing in Hollywood. With plenty of numbers from “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Singin’ in the Rain”, “On the Town”, “An American in Paris”, “The Wizard of Oz” and other classics, featuring such wonderful stars as Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney and Fred Astaire… What a glorious feeling! ]

(9 Oct) Alias 5.2 (2005) [ review ] 61

(9 Oct) Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen) [ review ] 100

(10 Oct) November (2005, Greg Harrison) 55
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(11 Oct) Domino (2005, Tony Scott) [ review ] 33

(11 Oct) Danny the Dog AKA Unleashed (2005, Louis Leterrier) 46
[ Bob Hoskins is a bastard loan shark who uses Jet Li, whom he’s raised as a raging dog, to beat some sense in folks who won’t pay what they owe. The early scenes are pretty brutal and intense, if maybe a bit too darkly lit and frenetically cut. Then the movie switches to sentimentality, as a blind pianist and his stepdaughter take Li into his home and teach him to be human again. Corny, but with Morgan Freeman in the kindly mentor role and the very cute Kerry Condon as the girl, it goes down easy enough. You’ll guess that the good times won’t last and Li will have to put foot to ass again, etc. So nothing much to see here, just another Luc Bresson-written action flick, but a little better than you’d expect. Worth a rent. ]

(14 Oct) Elizabethtown (2005, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 90

(15 Oct) Demetan (1973) whaaaa?
[ Man, the Japanese are weird- even their kiddie shows are screwy! Maybe it’s my outlook that’s skewed, but I only watched two episodes and it just didn’t agree with me. You got all those victimized frogs struggling against these total seafood assholes, and it’s harsh, violent even! Freakin’ genius theme song, though. ]

(17 Oct) Zimandco (2005, Pierre Jolivet) 67
[ Part of Voir’s Nouveau Cinéma coverage ]

(17 Oct) Main Hoon Na (2004, Farah Khan) 84
[ Part of Michael Dequina’s Bollywood Starter-Kit ]

(18 Oct) Avanim (2005,Raphael Nadjari) 11
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(18 Oct) Manderlay (2005, Lars von Trier) [ review ] 92

(19 Oct) South Park 9.8 (2005, Trey Parker) 78
[ “If you’re so caring, Kyle, why don’t you share your Jew-gold with the people caught in the flood?”
They say comedy is tragedy plus time, but the South Park motto seems to be, why wait? New Orleans isn’t nearly dry yet and they’re already spoofing Katrina. It’s so wrong… but funny! ]

(21 Oct) Thumbsucker (2005, Mike Mills) [ review ] 70

(21 Oct) Wag the Dog (1997, Barry Levinson) 86
[ Hadn’t seen this since it was released in theatres, and it’s still as clever, funny and prescient as ever. David Mamet’s screenplay perfectly satirizes both politics and show business, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro at the top of their form as the go-to guys when it comes to “producing” a war to divert the public attention. Anne Heche, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson and Kirsten Dunst are also amusing in smaller parts. ]

(24 Oct) Elizabethtown (2005, Cameron Crowe) [ review ] 90

(24 Oct) Saw (2004, James Wan) 37
[ This horror flick starts out with a wickedly brilliant set-up: two strangers in a filthy bathroom, chained to the walls for reasons unknown, are put through a series of potentially lethal puzzles. But instead of going for a Hitchcockian claustrophobic thriller all the way, the movie keeps cutting to cops investigating some of the Jigsaw Killer’s other set-ups, CSI-style, or like a cross between David Fincher’s “Se7en” and “The Game”, but with diminishing returns. Still worth checking out if you’re into the bleak stuff and don’t mind bad acting and plot holes too much. ]

(25 Oct) Saw II (2005, Darren Lynn Bausman) 53
[ Comme c’est souvent le cas avec les films d’horreur, les producteurs de Saw pensaient faire une suite avant même que le premier volet sorte en salles. Ce qui est inhabituel, c’est que Saw II se révèle supérieur à son prédécesseur, malgré l’effet de surprise qui n’y est plus. On retrouve les mêmes emprunts à David Fincher, du tueur en série moralisateur de Se7en aux épreuves mortelles de The Game, mais l’intrigue est mieux ficelée et les exécutions, plus sanglantes que jamais. Après un prologue offrant une variation de la trappe à ours inversée du film précédent jumelée à un hommage à Un Chien andalou, nous faisons connaissance avec le détective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg, ex-New Kids on the Block recyclé en acteur de série B). Ayant réussi sans grande difficulté à arrêter Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), il réalise rapidement que sa capture fait partie du plan du meurtrier psychopathe. Ce dernier a en effet déjà enfermé huit autres personnes dans l’une de ses chambres de torture, y compris le fils de Matthews. Avec ses personnages stéréotypés (la blonde qui braille, le latino qui gueule, etc.) qui ne représentent que diverses façons de gérer la peur et la souffrance, Saw II propose des transitions plus fluides entre la lutte pour leur survie des prisonniers et l’enquête de la police. Qui plus est, la tension demeure constante. Somme toute, l’ensemble se révèle plus linéaire et plus conventionnel que son prédécesseur, mais aussi plus efficace. ]

(26 Oct) Douches froides (2005, Antony Cordier) 55
[ Part of Voir’s Cinemania coverage ]

(26 Oct) Shopgirl (2005, Anand Tucker) 31
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Oct) La première fois que j’ai eu 20 ans (2005, Lorraine Lévy) 17
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Oct) South Park 9.9 (2005, Trey Parker) 64
[ BUTTER’S MOM – “Nooo! Noooooooooo! My son is dead!!!”
CARTMAN – “Nice.” ]

(28 Oct) Touch the Sound (2005, Thomas Riedelsheimer) 66
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(31 Oct) je préfère qu’on reste amis… (2005, Éric Toledano & Olivier Nakache) 32
[ Part of Voir’s Cinemania coverage ]

September / November