2009 log (11)

(1 Nov) 40 Is the New 20 (2009, Simon Boisvert) [ review ] 70

(2 Nov) Land of the Lost (2009, Brad Silberling) 46
[ Is this a Spielbergian sci-fi adventure or a typically goofy Will Ferrell comedy? It’s both, actually, director Brad Silberling never quite settling on a tone and, worse, rarely delivering whether he’s trying to awe, thrill or make us laugh. Likewise, the dinosaurs, monkey people and lizard people who populate this “land of the lost” out of space and time are neither impressive, scary or funny, they’re just there. Will Ferrell and co-star Danny McBride, who I’m a big fan of, did make me crack up here and there, but not enough to make it worth seeing as more than a curiosity. ]

(7 Nov) A Christmas Carol (2009, Robert Zemeckis) [ review ] 76

(9 Nov) Dogville (2003, Lars von Trier) [ review ] 95

(13 Nov) À vos marques… Party! 2 (2009, Frédérik D’Amours) 11
[ Wha’ Happened? I mean, the first film wasn’t high art, but I remember liking it well enough. But this sequel, with its cliché-ridden script, utterly generic direction, blatant product placement, lame melodrama, dumb gags, racist stereotypes and ridiculously unconvincing “teens” (most of the actors playing them are pushing 30)? Awful, just awful. ]

(15 Nov) WD-40: Né pour être sauvage (2009, Pierre Alexandre Bouchard) 64
[ In this particularly trashy “musicographie”, we learn all about the hardships the group formed by brothers Alex Jones and Jean-Loup Lebrun in the mid-1990s has gone through in the years since: endless bad luck, missed opportunities, binge drinking, internal conflicts, not to mention Jean-Loup’s depressive nature and Alex’ years “dans l’enfer de la drogue”… The end result is that even though WD-40 is certainly one of the best bands of francophone rock of the last 15 years and while they do have a loyal core of fans, they never attained mainstream success and have almost always had to keep day-jobs. Pierre-Alexandre Bouchard’s film was shot during the summer of 2007, as the band went on the road to play in some truly pathetic festivals out in the sticks. Featuring interviews with Jones, Lebrun and various observers of the Quebec music scene (Claude Rajotte, Laurent Saulnier, Jean-Robert Bisaillon and Eric Parazelli, etc.), “WD-40: Né pour être sauvage” is also filled with archival footage going back to the earliest days of the band. As a documentary, this is a bit messy and rough around the edges, but considering that it’s about the chaotic career of WD-40, that’s only fitting. ]

(21 Nov) A Serious Man (2009, Joel & Ethan Coen) 86
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(28 Nov) Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, Wes Anderson) 91
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(29 Nov) The Blind Side (2009, John Lee Hancock) [ review ] 81

(30 Nov) La fille de Monaco (2009, Anne Fontaine) 78
[ From the very fist scene, in which Bertrand Beauvois, the lawyer played by Fabrice Luchini, exposes his thoughts on “suspended time” while flirting with a woman, we’re reminded of some of Eric Rhomer’s films, where seduction often went arm in arm with philosophy. The gorgeous Monaco scenery and Louise Bourgoin’s character, a sorta dumb but ridiculously sexy weathergirl of whom Beauvois will become desperately enamored, make this impression even more vivid. What follows is a film both somber and sunny, a dichotomy that can be seen as much in the themes explored as in the high contrast cinematography. Impeccably helmed by Anne Fontaine, this finely written movie proves to be very entertaining thanks to the charisma of Bourgoin, who plays the femme fatale with disarming candidness, to the imposing self-control of Roschdy Zem as Beauvois’ bodyguard and to, of course, the irresistible eloquence and erudition of Luchini. ]

(30 Nov) Where the Wild Things Are (2009, Spike Jonze) [ review ] 94

October / December