2008 log (11)

(1 Nov) Hollywood Singing and Dancing (2008, Mark McLaughlin)
[ This is sort of an update on “That’s Entertainment!”, retelling the history of movie musicals with many interesting interviews with filmmakers and performers talking about why this type of cinema is so extraordinary but, mostly, samples of lots of great song and dance numbers spanning from the Busby Berkeley era to the current revival of the genre with films like Chicago and Dreamgirls. So this is not so much a documentary as a clip show, not that there’s anything wrong with that, what with getting the chance to enjoy the talents of Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Gene Kelly, Julie Andrews, Liza Minelli, John Travolta and many others, all in the course of two hours. ]

(2 Nov) Sous la cagoule, voyage au bout de la torture (2008, Patricio Henríquez)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(3 Nov) Mes amis mes amours (2008, Lorraine Levy) 40
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(4 Nov) Soul Men (2008, Malcolm D. Lee) 37
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(4 Nov) Nina (2008, Thibault Staib)
(5 Nov) Le magicien de Kaboul (2008, Philip Baylaucq)
(8 Nov) Vols de bébés, vols de vie (2008, Peter Svatek)
(8 Nov) No London Today (2008, Delphine Deloget)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(5 Nov) Babine (2008, Luc Picard) 83
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(5 Nov) South Park 12.12 (2008, Trey Parker)
[ RANDY – “Obama you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Obama! Obama!” ]

(9 Nov) Prom Wars (2008, Phil Price) 62
[ First of all, any movie that has an original theme song by Pony Up! is okay in my book. Then, there’s the very “Revenge of the Nerds” premise which has nerds and jocks entering a competition to earn the right to take the seniors of the nearby girls school to the prom, the “Rushmore”-style flourishes and winning performances from Ricky Ullman and Alia Shawkat. Good times. ]

(11 Nov) Roadsworth: Crossing the Line (2008, Alan Kohl)
(16 Nov) Générations 68 (2008, Simon Brook)
(16 Nov) La bataille de Rabaska (2008, Magnus Isaacson & Martin Duckworth)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(12 Nov) Let the Right One In (2008, Tomas Alfredson) 73
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(13 Nov) South Park 12.13 (2008, Trey Parker)
[ CARTMAN (about High School Musical) – “Well, I’m out guys. If this is what’s cool now, I think I’m done. I no longer have any connection to this world; I’m gonna go home and kill myself.” ]

(13 Nov) Chers électeurs (2008, Manuel Foglia)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(17 Nov) I Served the King of England (2008, Jiří Menzel) 72
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(17 Nov) L’Audition (2005, Luc Picard) 59
[ On top of being a great actor, Luc Picard proves to be a pretty great director, with a strong visual sense, in this first film of his. But a great screenwriter? Not so much. Between the wannabe-Tarantino violence & banter with Alexis Martin, the overly melodramatic Suzanne Clément arc and the nature-of-acting scenes involving Denis Bernard, there are many funny, clever or heartfelt ideas, but it’s all rather uneven, messy, contrived, etc. Still worth seeing, though. ]

(18 Nov) I.O.U.S.A. (2008, Patrick Cready)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Nov) South Park 12.14 (2008, Trey Parker)
[ GOTH KID – “They aren’t Goth! They’re douchey little vampire kids!” ]

(21 Nov) The Visitor (2008, Tom McCarthy) 77
[ Richard Jenkins is a master at conveying quiet dignity, which goes a long way towards elevating this little drama about a lonely old professor who unwittingly finds himself sharing his New York apartment with a Syrian immigrant and his Senegalese girlfriend. The way the characters bond through music is awesome and leads to some beautiful moments, then when things become more dramatic, the film gets quite touching, on top of being very topical. Tom McCarthy, who previously helmed “The Station Agent”, has once again made a film that doesn’t look like much at first, but gradually reveals a deep sense of humanity and a deft filmmaking touch. ]

(24 Nov) Gomorra (2008, Matteo Garrone) 68
[ Business men doing business deals, gangsters doing gangster shit, young punks who’ve seen “Scarface” too many times acting up, kids being pulled into a life of crime… Like an Italian “City of God”, this epic gangster tale is very rich and complex, with tons of characters and interweaved storylines, but while Matteo Garrone does show solid skills, he doesn’t quite have Fernando Meirelles’ storytelling genius and dazzling visual sense. Like, there are a dozen or so truly striking moments, but they’re often just that, moments, lost in an uneven, loose movie that’s less than the sum of its parts. ]

(27 Nov) Cassandra’s Dream (2008, Woody Allen) 73
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(27 Nov) Australia (2008, Baz Luhrmann) [ review ] 94

(30 Nov) Last Chance Harvey (2008, Joel Hopkins) 65
[ Initially coming off as a study in quiet desperation, the film follows two parallel storylines in the first act: jingles composer Harvey’s trip to London to attend his daughter’s wedding and his heartbreaking realisation that she, like her mother, has pretty much given up on him; and survey taker Kate’s handling of her needy mother while she prepares to go on a blind date, which will turn out to be a rather pathetic evening. Twice during this first act, the two characters brush against each other without really noticing but, having seen a movie or two before in our life, we can tell that they’ll eventually actually make a connection sooner or later. And what do you know, they do, and the movie goes into rom-com territory, sort of. Because it isn’t so much about romance as it is about finding a kindred spirit, and while there are some amusing moments, the tone is mostly bittersweet, melancholy yet somewhat hopeful. Joel Hopkins’ screenplay takes its time establishing the characters, apart then together, and it doesn’t go for the grand gestures and the big climaxes. Likewise, Hopkins’ work behind the camera is elegant but not show-offy in the least, so much that “Last Chance Harvey” might get damned with the faint praise of being a nice little movie, nothing less, nothing more… Then again, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson’s work should be singled out, as both are a treat through the film. ]

October / December