Montreal Film Journal

2005 LOG (12)

(1 Dec) South Park 9.13 (2005, Trey Parker) 61
[ "Save the whales, motherfucker." ]

(2 Dec) Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005, Alex Gibney) 74
[ Very well done documentary about the greedy bastards who screwed their company, the stock market and the energy industry out of billions of dollars. This is a comprehensive and dynamic film, with clever music cues and cutting title cards ("Useful idiots", "Ask why, asshole"). Essential viewing to see how wrong capitalism can be. ]

(2 Dec) Batman Begins (2005, Christopher Nolan) [ review ] 90

(4 Dec) Melinda and Melinda (2005, Woody Allen) [ review ] 93

(5 Dec) Pride & Prejudice (2005, Joe Wright) [ review ] 51

(6 Dec) Brokeback Mountain (2005, Ang Lee) [ review ] 47

(7 Dec) Kirikou et la sorcière (1998, Michel Ocelot) 88
[ God bless the French. Who else would make a kids movies with a badass talking baby, a man-easting sorceress and more breasts on display than in a Russ Meyer flick? With colourful traditional animation and catchy songs by Youssou N'Dour, this is great fun for the young and old alike. "Kirikou n'est pas grand, mais il est vaillant!" ]

(8 Dec) Kirikou et les bêtes sauvages (2005, Michel Ocelot) 65
[ Less a sequel than a bunch of deleted scenes from the original story, this new film doesn't have the power-of-myth of the first episode, but it's still pretty fun. ]

(8 Dec) South Park 9.14 (2005, Trey Parker) 63
[ "A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time." -Pope Benedict XVI ]

(9 Dec) Da Ali G Show - Da Compleet Second Seazon (2004) 90
[ Oh. My. God. I watched Season One a while back and thought it was funny enough, but this is hi-la-ri-ous. This is satire of the highest order, sending up American society through some of the most gloriously ridiculous (fake) TV personalities ever imagined: outrageously ignorant hip hop doofus Ali G, outrageously shameless Kazakh bigot Borat and outrageously gay Eurotrash queen Brüno. I don't know what's the most amazing, that Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays all three characters) manages to never crack up while saying and doing the most over the top and politically incorrect stuff, or that people are so clueless that they he's screwing with them? In any case, this is pure comic genius. ]

(9 Dec) Syriana (2005, Stephen Gaghan) [ review ] 66

(12 Dec) The Family Stone (2005, Thomas Bezucha) [ review ] 68

(12 Dec) Cheaper by the Dozen (2003, Shawn Levy) 42
[ I got appointed to review "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" later this week so, professional that I am (in addition to being ignorant, incoherent and just like George W. Bush), I reluctantly set out to watch this first instalment, which I'd successfully avoided until now. Surprise, surprise, it's not half bad! Between this and "Big Fat Liar", I'm finding Shawn Levy to be just about the best working director of middlebrow family movies, Steve Martin is funny enough here (certainly more than in "Shopgirl"), Hilary Duff and Piper Perabo are pretty adorable, Ashton Kutcher's his doofus self... Okay, we still have to suffer through a lot of slapstick, obnoxious child actors and mawkish sentimentality, but next to, say, the unwatchable "Yours, Mine & Ours" remake, this is a freakin' masterpiece. ]

(13 Dec) Capote (2005, Bennett Miller) [ review ] 91

(14 Dec) King Kong (2005, Peter Jackson) 67
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(15 Dec) Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005, Adam Shankman) 5
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(16 Dec) The Constant Gardener (2005, Fernando Meirelles)
[ review ] 81

(19 Dec) Good Night, And Good Luck. (2005, George Clooney) [ review ] 70

(20 Dec) Mrs Henderson Presents (2005, Stephen Frears) 63
[ A widow gets to have hobbies, like embroidery, charities or, say, produce a nude musical revue. "Oh, the pussy!" This movie is an odd duck. It's very theatrical, which makes sense considering the subject, then again director Stephen Frears isn't fully committed in doing an all-out stage spectacle. I loved the old-fashioned numbers sung by Will Young (making a great impression in his first film performance), but too often we only see 30 seconds bit of them, we cut away to something else, they're jammed into a montage, etc. In the press kit, Frears insists that "this isn't Singin' in the Rain". Why the hell not? Okay, so you'd rather develop the characters and the historical background? Well, the film is rather loosely plotted and the dramatic weight of World War II isn't really felt through, even when England is being bombed by the Germans. At least we get to see a lot of breasts, right? "Isn't that delicious?" Indeed, and it's amusing how, to persuade London's official censor (Christopher Guest, nicely cast against type) that the nudity is "artistic", the girls have to stand perfectly still, like living tableaux. There's also enjoyment to be taken from the back and forth between cheeky Judi Dench and grumpy Bob Hoskins. So this is a fun film, no doubt, even if it doesn't perfectly balance spectacular spectacular entertainment and historical drama. ]

(20 Dec) The Abyss (1989, James Cameron) 68
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(20 Dec) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005, Ken Kwapis) [ review ] 84

(23 Dec) Munich (2005, Steven Spielberg) [ review ] 90

(25 Dec) 9 songs (2005, Michael Winterbottom) zzz
[ 69 minutes of badly shot live performances of indie rock bands (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Franz Ferdinand, etc.) intercut with two not particularly attractive Brits fucking, licking and tying up each other, with a little bit of dull dialogue and duller narration for good measure. If this was a student film, you'd yawn and forget about it. Coming from respected filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, it's a little more puzzling. So you're puzzled, then you yawn and you forget about it. Heh. ]

(26 Dec) Crash (2005, Paul Haggis) [ review ] 72

(27 Dec) From Justin to Kelly (2003, Robert Iscove) [ review ] 65

(29 Dec) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967, Stanley Kramer) 91
[ Part of the AFI list (#99) ]

(29 Dec) a lot like love (2005, Nigel Cole) 63
[ Hey, if my top critic (Lavoie's more of an essayist) calls it the best film of the year, of course I'll check it out, alright? Right away, I liked Ashton Kutcher cast against type as a timid geeky guy - this isn't quite Jim Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine", but same ballpark. Likewise, there's only one Kate Winslet, but Amanda Peet does lovable wild gal pretty damn well. Then there's the 1990s nostalgia thing (with nods to 90210, the Internet boom, Bon Jovi, etc.), which is ridiculously premature (ooh, remember the 1990s?), but not unenjoyable. Also, the filmmakers are clearly riffing on "When Harry Met Sally...", which works nicely enough. All in all, good little movie. ]

(31 Dec) Giant (1956, George Stevens) 79
[ Part of the AFI list (#82) ]

November / January