2007 log (4)

(2 Apr) Firehouse Dog (2007, Todd Holland) 17
[ “How’s the dog?”
“Smells like rotten tomatoes, but he’ll live.”

Gotta love when a movie provides its own review. Dog does stunts, burps, snores, farts, pisses, poops in the stew, wins everyone’s heart, etc. Pretty rotten all right, but if you like that kind of crap it’s okay, I guess. ]

(3 Apr) GRINDHOUSE [ review ]
Planet Terror (2007, Robert Rodriguez) 49
Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino) 93

(5 Apr) South Park 11.5 (2007, Trey Parker)
[ STAN- “My dad’s in a rabbit-worshipping cult called the Hare Club For Men, they protect the secret of Easter but before they said what it was, they were attacked by ninjas and put me in charge of Snowball!” ]

(6 Apr) Pro-Life (2006, John Carpenter) 65
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(8 Apr) GRINDHOUSE [ review ]
Planet Terror (2007, Robert Rodriguez) 49
Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino) 93

(10 Apr) Pathfinder (2007, Marcus Nispel) [ review ] 78

(12 Apr) Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright) [ review ] 90

(13 Apr) South Park 11.6 (2007, Trey Parker)
[ Mrs. GARRISON – “Oh yeah! Scissor me, Xerxes!” ]



(15 Apr) In the Land of Women (2007, Jonathan Kasdan)
44
[ Suivant les traces de son père Lawrence (The Big Chill) et de son frère Jake (Zero Effect), c’est maintenant au tour de Jonathan Kasdan de s’essayer à la réalisation. Comme beaucoup de premiers films, In the Land of Women est clairement une oeuvre très personnelle, et par le fait même plutôt maladroite. Kasdan met beaucoup de coeur dans chaque scène et l’on sent toute l’affection qu’il a pour ses personnages. Cependant, ces derniers semblent à la merci des caprices de son scénario, lequel ne réussit pas à les faire interagir avec naturel. Carter Webb (Adam Brody, immensément charmant en alter ego de Kasdan) est un scénariste de Los Angeles qui, après une rupture amoureuse difficile, s’envole vers le Michigan pour être hébergé chez sa grand-mère (Olympia Dukakis, amusante en vieille sénile). Carter espère pouvoir s’y éclaircir les idées, mais il se retrouve bien vite curieusement happé par les joies et les drames d’une voisine de sa mamie, une mère de famille (Meg Ryan, convaincante dans un rôle difficile) à qui on a récemment diagnostiqué un cancer du sein. En plus de se lier d’amitié avec elle, le jeune homme se voit aussi plongé dans les émois adolescents de la fille de cette dernière (Kristen Stewart, à la fois forte et vulnérable). La prémisse même du film a quelque chose d’artificiel, de par la façon dont elle juxtapose trop commodément le protagoniste à trois femmes de générations différentes, pour chacune desquelles il sera une présence décisive en temps de crise. On a peine à croire que toutes se confient immédiatement à lui, dévoilant sans aucune pudeur leurs états d’âme. Un auteur plus chevronné aurait pu développer le récit avec davantage de soin et en faire oublier les mécanismes. Ce n’est toutefois pas le cas dans In the Land of Women, où les diverses révélations mélodramatiques sont introduites abruptement et avec peu de subtilité. Il en résulte un film bavard, larmoyant et un brin moralisateur; on se croirait presque devant une émission d’Oprah. Il aurait été préférable que Kasdan laisse vivre ses personnages plutôt que de les forcer à constamment se heurter émotionnellement les uns aux autres. Malgré tout, par moments, on ne peut qu’être touché par la sincérité des intentions du cinéaste, même si celle-ci est mal canalisée. ]

(16 Apr) Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright) [ review ] 90

(16 Apr) Ma nuit chez Maud (1969, Eric Rohmer) 87
[ The opening scene, a long-winded church service (is there any other kind?), is pretty tedious, especially if you’re a lapsed Catholic like myself. Still, the beauty of Marie-Christine Barrault and of the B&W cinematography does grab your attention. Then there’s a bit of driving around, this and that, and we start to wonder where this is going. And then it happens: Jean-Louis Trintignant runs into an old friend and they start talking about Pascal and “mathematical hope” (i.e. potential gain divided by probability). The ideas explored are so potent, they might as well change your life. It gets even better when they get to Maud’s, where they keep discussing Pascal, religion and love. Heady stuff, yes, but with playful turns and a real sense of humanity and warmth. Like, you’re deep in thought and then hop, Françoise Fabian slips into something more comfortable and jumps into bed. Sexy philosophy? You better believe it. Then it’s back out and around, unto snowy hills, cold lips meeting cold lips, icy roads and… Again, we wonder where this is going, but in a good way. Trintignant’s character finally has a decision to make, it’s not just talk anymore, and we honestly have no clue what/who he will choose. And then comes the twist, which is actually only suggested, never fully revealed out loud. As Wilder or Lubitsch once said, “Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.” ]

(17 Apr) Vacancy (2007, Nimród Antal) 32
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(17 Apr) South Park 11.7 (2007, Trey Parker)
[ CARTMAN – “I jump the homeless professionally. If you can get me a skateboard, I’ll try to jump that homeless crowd and save those people.” ]

(19 Apr) Waitress (2007, Adrienne Shelly) 65
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Apr) When We Were Kings (1996, Leon Gast) 91
[ “Only last week I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, hospitalized a brick
I’m so mean I make medicine sick!”

What a great, great, great film. Why watch “Ali” when you can watch the real thing? Will Smith was pretty good as the boxing legend, but there’s only one true Ali, man. And more than three decades down the line, I don’t think there’s been another event blending as fascinatingly sport, politics and pop culture as the Rumble in the Jungle. Because it’s not just Ali (though that would have been awesome enough already) and Foreman going at it, you’ve also got the whole craziness of Zaire and dictator Mobutu, plus live performances from the likes of James Brown and B.B. King. And back to the boxing, I think that kind of meaningless violence is pretty stupid in itself, but when you’ve got effin’ Norman Mailer philosophising about the fight you’re watching, you “get” it. ]

(23 Apr) Saint-Jacques… La Mecque (2007, Coline Serreau) 46
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(24 Apr) The Condemned (2007, Scott Wiper) [ review ] 22

(25 Apr) The Lost Weekend (1945, Billy Wilder) 80
[ 1945’s Best Picture Oscar winner is an old-fashioned but nonetheless affecting portrait of alcoholism, desperation and self-destruction. It’s very melodramatic, writerly and “actorly”, too, and it’s hardly as raw a take on the subject as something like “Leaving Las Vegas”. But it still cuts through and gets to what feels like a truly honest place. As in every Wilder film, the storytelling is tight and the direction is masterful. Wilder manages to build suspense numerous times out of whether or not the guy will take a drink, the moody B&W cinematography adds to the sombre, almost noir-like feel of the piece, the use of theremin gives eerie echoes to the score and there are some truly clever visual compositions revolving around bottles and shot glasses. This isn’t quite “Double Indemnity” or “Sunset Blvd.”, but it’s a solid pit stop between the two. ]

(27 Apr) The Chronicles of Riddick (2004, David Twohy) 37
[ Somehow never saw this until now, even though I loved “Pitch Black”. I got the vibe that this sequel wasn’t another mean little sci-fi action flick, and I was mostly right. Much more exposition here, much more complicated universes and mythologies, it’s almost like a “Star Wars” prequel. Riddick still kicks ass – I’d forgotten how badass Vin Diesel’s voice and general presence was – alas, a cool antihero does not make a good flick. It’s fun enough when there’s a chase or a battle or something but, to get to those, you have to sit through a lot of dull dialogue, stiff acting and a lot of nonsense about peripheral characters we don’t care about. ]

(28 Apr) Predator (1987, John McTiernan) [ review ] 92

(28 Apr) The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (part two) (2007, Sophie Fiennes) 69
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(29 Apr) The Invisible (2007, David S. Goyer) 7
[ This unfathomable hybrid between “Ghost”, “The Sixth Sense” and “Brick” is heinously bad. Pretentious, inconsistent, contrived, dumb and boring, the movie features one of the most obnoxious gallery of characters ever assembled. Between the whiny invisible dude, the boo-hoo-I-had-a-bad-childhood-so-I’ll-wear-a-black-tuque-and-bully-my-way-through-life chick, the ridiculously incompetent cops, the poseur thugs and the hysterical mother, there isn’t a soul here worth saving. ]

March / May