Montreal Film Journal

2006 LOG (9)



(3 Sept) Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006, Karan Johar) [ review ] 90

(4 Sept) La vie secrète des gens heureux (2006, Stéphane Lapointe) 56
[ Did I mention that I was doing a FFM blog for Voir? Well, I was, and that's where I jotted down a few words about this closing film. ]

(6 Sept) The Protector (2006, Prachya Pinkaew) 23
[ Ok, we get it, Tony Jaa can jump all over the place and break the arms and legs of a billion dudes in a row, and he doesn't even use wires or stunt doubles. But what's the point when the story and characters are forgettable, the direction is messy and worse, Jaa has neither the charisma of Bruce Lee or the sense of humour of Jackie Chan. Well, the movie can be kinda funny, but always in spite of itself. "Where are my elephants?" "Give me back my elephants!" "You killed my father - and stole my elephant!" Geez, I was surprised Jaa didn't end up making out with that elephant... Oh, but that part where he beats up wrestlers with elephant bones? That was pretty cool. ]



(7 Sept) Gridiron Gang (2006, Phil Joanou) 68
[ Another sport flick? Yeah, but a damn good one. This could have been called "Remember the Longest Yard Titans N the Hood", as it deals with a football team formed of L.A. gang members in a juvenile detention center. The film is both brutally violent and surprisingly emotionally moving, and the nervous, documentary-style direction is very effective. The Rock is mostly there to deliver regular inspirational speeches, but he pours copious amounts of heart, conviction and sweat into his performance. Good stuff. ]

(10 Sept) Cry-Baby (1990, John Waters) 70
[ I'm not crazy about John Waters' brand of campiness, but I do love the wall-to-wall '50s music, sexual randiness and of course, Johnny Depp's juvenile delinquent rockabilly antihero. ]

(11 Sept) Sommer vorm Balkon (2006, Andreas Dresen) 67
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(12 Sept) Super Size Me (2004, Morgan Spurlock) 65
[ You've all heard about it, I had too, but to actually watch this dude eat nothing but McDonald's for a month? Yeesh! Getting fatter is one thing, but this practically destroys his liver and his health in general, as effectively as if he'd gone on a drinking binge. Crazy. ]

(13 Sept) La science des rêves (2006, Michel Gondry) [ review ] 79



(13 Sept) Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (2004, Liam Lynch) 33
[ I'd heard some of her bits before and seen a bunch of clips of this on YouTube and my general feeling was like yeah, that's pretty outrageous, what else d'you got? I mean, I get it, Silverman goes for all the taboo stuff, ethnic jokes, AIDS and 9/11 gags, etc. I'm not offended or anything, I just don't find her that funny. I still wanted to see the whole movie as a Liam Lynch fan, for his Tenacious D shorts and the upcoming feature. The concert footage's like, whatever, if you like Silverman it's fine. I did like the few musical sequences, which are filthy and "shocking" and whatnot, but mostly just well directed and fun. ]

(14 Sept) The Girl Can't Help It (1956, Frank Tashlin) 36
[ Equal parts musical, gangster movie and broad comedy, this flick is most notable for having been made at the dawn of rock&roll and for featuring performances by such legends as Little Richard, The Platters, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. Jayne Mansfield's dumb blonde with the dangerous curves is fun too (Tashlin once said, "There's nothing in the world to me that's funnier than big breasts."), but she's no Marilyn Monroe. ]

(15 Sept) Mutual Appreciation (2006, Andrew Bujalski) [ review ] 91

(17 Sept) Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright) [ review ] 90



(18 Sept) Sans Elle (2006, Jean Beaudin) 20
[ Reviewed for Voir ]



(19 Sept) Cheech (2006, Patrice Sauvé) 83
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(20 Sept) Confetti (2006, Debbie Isitt) 56
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(20 Sept) Au hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson) 44
[ The titular donkey, who we meet as a kid then see grow into an adult in a slavery-through-the-years montage à la "Conan the Barbarian", is a thoroughly compelling figure. The human characters, though, are mighty boring, no thanks to the deliberately flat acting. ]

(21 Sept) Point Blank (1967, John Boorman) 62
[ This pulpy thriller, with Lee Marvin pissed and dead set on getting the $93K his ex-partner in crime and The Organization, is exceptionally well shot and cut, yet curiously unexciting. I think I like the Mel Gibson remake better - more torture. ]



(22 Sept) The English Patient (1996, Anthony Minghella) 57
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(24 Sept) Inside Man (2006, Spike Lee) 85
[ Spike Lee doing an action flick? Yeah, but that doesn't mean it's apolitical. For one, the cops (Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor, both supefly cool) are black and it's the robbers (led by razor-sharp Clive Owen) who are white. Then the whole joint's got a casually multiethnic New York vibe, from the kickass Bollywood song that plays over the opening and closing credits to the heterogeneous hostages, who get great little documentary-like interrogation bits where they talk about what they went through. It's also not just another bank robbery, there's this mysterious box owned by Christopher Plummer that he hires Jodie Foster's equally mysterious, "magnificent cunt" (!) character to keep locked or make disappear. Plus in this case, Jean Carlo, the comedic aspects are undeniable. What else? You got your Willem Dafoe, always a good thing even in a small part, you got your big-boobed ladies, you got twists on top of twists of top of twists... This is not an important picture like "Do the Right Thing" or "Malcom X", but this is an A-grade B-movie, if that makes any sense to you. ]

(25 Sept) Cat People (1942, Jacques Tourneur) [ review ] 88

(26 Sept) School for Scoundrels (2006, Todd Phillips) [ review ] 41

(28 Sept) Trailer Park Boys (2006, Mike Clattenberg) 16
[ Reviewed for Voir ]



(29 Sept) The Notorious Bettie Page (2006, Mary Harron) 82
[ "Communism will never defeat America. No, it's something from within that will rot and corrupt it." I disagree that porn is necessarily that, especially not 1950s porn, but the sentiment -echoed in Mel Gibson's upcoming "Apocalypto"- feels right to me. It's governments' own bullshit and the people's agreement or ignorance of it that will do them in. Anyway, the politics are hardly what's more notable about this movie. You gotta love the glorious B&W (with occasional bursts of Technicolor), the wonderfully retro style, the relatively quaint kinkiness; there's a definite "Ed Wood" thing going on here. And then there's Gretchen Mol's nude body and her facial expressions, which are endlessly enjoyable. Also, it's quite thought-provoking how the film walks the thin line between celebrating a sex object and criticizing her objectifying, you know? ]




August / October