Montreal Film Journal

2004 LOG (11)

(1 Nov) Comment devenir un trou de cul et enfin plaire aux femmes (2004, Roger Boire) 11
[ Louis, a needy loser with the worst taste in clothes, has just been dumped again. His ex wants them to remain friends, but he's had enough of being the "nice guy" and decides to become an asshole instead, since this is what women want. The whole movie revolves around such misogynistic ideas. They're not necessarily wrong, but they're definitely unhealthy. Embarrassing sex scenes and godawful musical numbers fill out this unpleasant picture, which is even more amateurish than a Simon Boisvert film. ]

(2 Nov) Feux Rouges (2004, Cédric Kahn) 53
[ This adaptation of a Georges Simenon novel depicts the tension that builds between a married couple as they drive to a summer camp to pick up their kids. The generous amounts of alcohol the husband consumes before and during their road trip certainly don't help, but things go even worse when they cross paths with a dangerous escaped convict. "Feux Rouges" is sometimes frustratingly slow, but it can also be harrowingly intense and Jean-Pierre Darroussin makes us feel all the despair of his character. ]

(2 Nov) Interiors (1978, Woody Allen) 18
(4 Nov) Stardust Memories (1980, Woody Allen) 87
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(5 Nov) The Incredibles (2004, Brad Bird) [ review ] 60

(6 Nov) A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982, Woody Allen) 73
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(8 Nov) Finding Neverland (2004, Marc Forster) [ review ] 66

(8 Nov) Zelig (1983, Woody Allen) 75
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(9 Nov) Sideways (2004, Alexander Payne) [ review ] 77

(10 Nov) The Polar Express (2004, Robert Zemeckis) [ review ] 74

(11 Nov) Broadway Danny Rose (1984, Woody Allen) 60
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(12 Nov) Undertow (2004, David Gordon Green) [ review ] 64

(15 Nov) Nouvelle-France (2004, Jean Beaudin) [ review ] 8

(16 Nov) Mensonges et trahisons et plus si affinités... (2004, Laurent Tirard) 72
[ Raphaël (Edouard Baer), a ghost writer of celebrity autobiographies, compromises his relationship with tactless but inspiring architect girlfriend Muriel (our own Marie-Josée Croze, convincing as a Parisian) when he starts spending time with Claire (Alice Taglioni), an old infatuation who happens to be dating the star foot player (Clovis Cornillac) whose life story Raphaël is currently working on. This first film from Laurent Tirard is funny, clever and sincere, too. It doesn't reinvent the romantic comedy genre, but the characters are well written and Tirard's direction is dynamic and playful. ]

(16 Nov) Freeway (1996, Matthew Bright) 79
[ This is so tits! I've seen Reese as a cute kid, in pink, as a nerdy girl, in a British period piece, etc. But I had yet to see her all foul-mouthed, badass and slutty! The movie itself is outrageous and dirrty, "Little Red Riding Hood" by the way of "Monster", with Kiefer Sutherland as the serial killing Big Bad Wolf. Tits, I tell you! ]

(17 Nov) Kinsey (2004, Bill Condon) [ review ] 70

(18 Nov) Chanel No. 5 (2004, Baz Luhrmann) 88
[ Sure, it's only a commercial, but what a gorgeous one it is! Nicole Kidman looks magnificent, especially with Baz recreating some of the "Moulin Rouge!" magic around her. ]

(19 Nov) Licks Around the World – Live from the Olympia (2003) 69
[ I'm not into arena shows much, so it's nice to see the Stones taking it down and playing a theatre set. I've heard "Start Me Up" enough for a lifetime, but it's still an explosive opener, and I love how they go back to lesser known tunes like "No Expectations", with Ron Wood on slide, or "Worried About You", with Mick's gloriously ridiculous falsetto. Also putting foot to ass is "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)", covers of The Miracles' "Going to a Go-Go" and The O'Jays' "Love Train" and, of course, Keith's lead-vocals one-two punch of "The Nearness of You" and "Before They Make Me Run". Mick's French isn't bad either! ]

(20 Nov) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985, Woody Allen) 91
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(23 Nov) le petit Jésus (2004, André-Line Beauparlant) 70
[ In her follow-up to "Trois Princesses pour Roland", art director turned documentary filmmaker André-Line Beauparlant once again turns her camera towards her relatives to try and make sense of some of their most difficult memories. In this case, she interviews her parents, siblings and friends of the family about how her handicapped little brother Sébastien (now deceased) affected their lives. This "story of a miracle that never happened" is filled with sadness, naturally, but there's also anger at why this happened to them even though they were practicing Catholics who fervently prayed and went to church. Heartbreaking stuff. ]

(23 Nov) Some Kind of Monster (2004, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky) 47
[ Metallica, who has sold over ninety million albums since 1981 and was the top concert draw through most of the 1990s, have been floundering in the past few years. They still have diehard metalhead fans, but whatever crossover appeal they once had is gone. What we learn in this documentary is that the band almost broke up recently. Bass player Jason Newsted left, lead singer James Hetfield went into rehab, drummer Lars Ulrich pissed off a lot of folks by shutting down Napster... Tensions grew so much between the members of the band that they had to hire a group therapist! Too much ego and too much money turned angry young men into pretentious old farts. They're rich, they've done it all; they don't need this shit and it shows. I guess it's courageous of them to bare it all in front of the cameras, but it's mostly embarrassing. Metallica's like a humourless Spinal Tap! Some kind of monster indeed. ]

(24 Nov) Ma vie en Cinémascope (2004, Denise Filiatrault) [ review ] 31

(25 Nov) Life is a Miracle (2004, Emir Kusturica) [ review ] 84

(25 Nov) Hotel Rwanda (2004, Terry George) [ review ] 68

(27 Nov) All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) 93
[ Part of the AFI list (#16) ]

(27 Nov) The Girl Next Door (2004, Luke Greenfield) [ review ] 80

(28 Nov) The Silent Flute AKA Circle of Iron (1978, Richard Moore) 36
[ Conceived by Bruce Lee before his death, this story captured his vision of martial arts and the Zen philosophy he lived by. The actual movie made from it is not that much less silly or much more spiritual than your average ‘70s kung fu flick. In fact, it's mostly just weird. You got your beefcake He-Man hero (Jeff Cooper), a mysterious blind man (David Carradine), a monkey man (David Carradine), a harem master (David Carradine), Death (David Carradine), a guy who's been in a tub of oil for ten years hoping for his genitalia to melt off (!), the Keeper of the Book (Christopher Lee)... There's some fun stuff here, but the fights are nowhere near as good as they would certainly have been had Bruce Lee lived to make the film. ]

(29 Nov) The Office Special (2003, Ricky Gervais) [ review ] 93

(30 Nov) One of Many (2004, Jo Béranger & Doris Buttignol) 35
[ "After the residential school opened and the beer parlour got built, people were lost." As you might have guessed, this NFB documentary is about the Indian condition. We know about past injustices like how the First Nations' land was taken from them, but what isn't as well known is that there are still systematic attempts to assimilate them. Just forty years ago, governmental initiatives were implemented to take Indian kids away from their community and put them in white schools. "One of many" is about a woman's journey back into into her personal history, which ties into a whole generation's experience of being stripped away of its identity and culture. This makes for a depressing film, full of people feeling sorry about themselves, with reason, but in no constructive way. The resentment is clear, but the ideas aren't. ]

October / December