2008 log (8)

(4 Aug) Le Cas Roberge (2008, Raphaël Malo) 52
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(6 Aug) Frozen River (2008, Courtney Hunt) 39
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(9 Aug) Smiley Face (2007, Gregg Araki) 64
[ You gotta love the Anna Faris, man. She throws herself into comic roles like no other actress I can think of. In this here pothead movie, she’s basically high as fuck from beginning to end, with a glazed over look in her eyes and a big goofy grin on her face, talking nonsense and doing one stupid thing after another… Nothing we haven’t seen before, and it sometimes grows a bit stale, but I still laughed out loud a bunch of time and got a kick out the colourful, pop-up visuals and the very expressive sound editing. And you gotta love the Anna Faris, man. ]

(11 Aug) Brick Lane (2008, Sarah Gavron) 73
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(11 Aug) Tropic Thunder (2008, Ben Stiller) [ review ] 74

(13 Aug) The Rocker (2008, Peter Cattaneo) 36
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(14 Aug) Nothing Really Matters (2008, Jean-Marc Piché) 71
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(15 Aug) Elegy (2008, Isabel Coixet) 72
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(17 Aug) Folle de Dieu (2008, Jean-Daniel Lafond) 60
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(18 Aug) Hamlet 2 (2008, Andrew Fleming) 58
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(20 Aug) Chris & Don. A Love Story (2008, Tina Mascara & Guido Santi) 76
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(20 Aug) La troisième partie du monde (2008, Eric Forestier) WTF?
[ Clémence Poesy is this dimwitted blonde who meets this cute boy who seduces her by telling her all about entropy and black holes… Then he disappears. A bit later one, blondie gets closer to the boy’s brother as they look for him… Then he starts to disappear too. Add a mysterious Japanese woman, a medium, shots of burning stars, a generous dose of pretentious nonsense, etc. ]

(21 Aug) Traitor (2008, Jeffrey Nachmanoff) 42
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Aug) Le Banquet (2008, Sébastien Rose) 88
[ Damn, what got into Sébastien Rose? I thought there were some interesting ideas and effective moments in his first two features, “Comment ma mère accoucha de moi durant sa ménopause” and “La vie avec mon père”, but both ended up more or less falling apart under Rose’s somewhat ponderous touch. Granted, his latest is also very heavy but, maybe because the filmmaker had his father Hubert-Yves Rose co-writing the screenplay, everything comes together much more effectively this time around. From beginning to end, “Le Banquet” is not only packed with provocative ideas and powerful moments, it’s also driven by a taut narrative and inhabited by complex, intriguing characters. Following a dozen interwoven storylines set in and around the Université du Québec à Montréal, Rose’s movie is formally reminiscent of Soderbergh’s “Traffic” or Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “Babel” but thematically, it’s very much its own beast, dealing with political shortsightedness, generational malaise, the lowering of standards, misguided activism and, of course, education in its many forms. This might sound heady and dry, but it’s anything but, because most of all this comes through emotional outbursts, heated confrontations and desperate gestures, with Alexis Martin, Benoît McGinnis, Frédéric Pierre, Raymond Bouchard, Catherine de Léan, Pierre-Antoine Lasnier, Émile Proulx-Cloutier, Yves Jacques and the rest of the ensemble all making a strong impression. Between this and “Tout est parfait”, this is one hell of a year for French Canadian cinema. ]

(21 Aug) Lemon Tree (2008, Eran Riklis) 75
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(22 Aug) Burn After Reading (2008, Ethan and Joel Coen) [ review ] 87

(23 Aug) Road to Baleya (2008, Bay Weyman)
(24 Aug) Died Young Stayed Pretty (2008, Eileen Yaghoobian)
(24 Aug) Leaving the Fold (2008, Eric R. Scott)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(25 Aug) Disaster Movie (2008, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer) 1
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Aug) En plein coeur (2008,Stéphane Géhami) 45
[ Un voleur de chars de 32 ans (Pierre Rivard) incapable de se décider entre sa nouvelle blonde (Julie Deslauriers) et son ex (Bénédicte Décary). Son partenaire, un ti-cul de 14 ans (Keven Noël) qui vit seul avec une mère maladivement dépressive (Marie-France Marcotte). Des gens tout croches, qui s’aiment tout croche, dans un film un peu tout croche, lui aussi, avec son scénario tour à tour évasif et appuyé, sa mise en scène souvent approximative et ses acteurs pas toujours convaincants. Traversé d’un humour qui ne semble pas toujours intentionnel et ponctué de scènes de baise parfois plus ou moins nécessaires au récit, ce premier long métrage de Stéphane Géhami n’est clairement pas sans ses défauts. Pourtant, ici et là, certains moments parviennent à nous toucher par la sincérité, l’urgence et l’émotion à fleur de peau qu’on y retrouve. ]

(29 Aug) Babylon A.D. (2008, Mathieu Kassovitz) 20
[ Mish-mashing a bunch of sci-fi flicks from the last decade (“Children of Men”, “Minority Report”, The Fifth Element”), across a nonsensical story populated with stock characters and driven by incoherent action scenes, Kasso’s loose adaptation of Maurice Dantec’s “Babylon Babies” is a B-movie all the way, which goes from generic to dull to downright ridiculous – I haven’t laughed as hard as when I saw this movie’s bullshit sentimental ending in a long time! Vin Diesel is still somewhat badass as a Riddick-lite character, Michelle Yeoh does have presence and Mélanie Thierry effectively conveys the needed purity and vulnerability, but the movie seems to be working against them all the way… Charlotte Rampling and especially Gérard Depardieu as a Pizza the Hut-style gangster seem to know this, so they go all hog and ham it up like crazy, but that’s not even enough to make the film so bad it’s good. It’s just bad, bad enough so that my friend Jean Carlo, who’s been a Kasso apologist all the time I’ve known him, has finally admitted that “La Haine” probably was a fluke after all when we got out of this groaner, which the filmmaker himself has disavowed, but all the studio interference in the world doesn’t chance the fact that this is a major dud. ]

(30 Aug) Derrière moi (2008, Rafaël Ouellet) 66
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(31 Aug) Cidade de Deus (2003, Fernando Meirelles) [ review ] 92

July / September