Montreal Film Journal

2007 LOG (6)


(2 Jun) Catch Me If You Can (2002, Steven Spielberg) [ review ] 91



(4 Jun) Hostel: Part II (2007, Eli Roth) 54
[ It starts like a crappy straight-to-video sequel, with badly incorporated flashbacks recapping the first movie and that most lame of horror movie tricks, the BOO!-no, wait, it-was-a-nightmare scare. Plus we're still with the surviving jackass from the original played by Jay Hernandez but, thankfully, we soon move on to new faces, namely a trio of American babes studying abroad. These are still one-note characters, but as played by cute dork Heather Matarazzo, sexy bitch Bijou Phillips and model-like Lauren German, they're much less obnoxious than the guys in Part I.

On the other hand, the gender reversal brings along a misogynistic streak and makes this into the usual let's-watch-women-suffer horror show. But not before a long, not very exciting series of creepy false starts and ill omens. The carnival is a nice touch, and I liked that we're shown nearly as much of the "johns" as of the girls they're buying. As in the previous pic, the scariest thing is the idea itself of men paying to hurt and kill people and being so damn casual about it. There's nothing scary about the big gore scenes, those are just disgusting. One in particular, involving a naked girl hung upside down, is even worse than that, it's downright obscene. This will sound like an endorsement for fans of the genre but seriously, what possible enjoyment can there be in watching such loathsome violence? There's no subtext, no artistry, no suspense... You're promised that a woman will get slaughtered before your eyes, and she does. It's not scary, not surprising, not skilfully crafted... Just meaningless death.

I'm hardly against violent entertainment. I love action movies and films as extreme as "A Clockwork Orange", "C'est arrivé près de chez vous" and "Ichi the Killer", but those have social commentary, black humor and brilliant filmmaking going for them. For the most part, "Hostel: Part II" is only a B-movie that gets off on going too far, with little redeeming values. As I said, the early girly stuff is amusing (Roth should make a college sex comedy), whenever the movie's attention turns to the clients' point of view, it's truly disturbing and when we get to the inevitable revenge of the Final Girl, it's good for a few tasteless laughs. Overall, I'm not sure what to think of this. Some of it me turned me the hell off morally, but if you're able to take it as "just a movie", it's not so bad, I guess. ]

(7 Jun) jindabyne (2007, Ray Lawrence) 57
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(9 Jun) Ocean's Thirteen (2007, Steven Soderbergh) [ review ] 52



(10 Jun) eréndira ikikunari (2007, Juan Mora Catlett) 55
(11 Jun) Tuli (2007, Auraeus Solito) 80
[ Part of Voir's Présence autochtone coverage ]

(11 Jun) Day Watch (2007, Timur Bekmambetov) 73
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(13 Jun) Trois rois (2007, Katia Paradis) 56
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(14 Jun) Manufacturing Dissent (2007, Debbie Melnyk & Rick Caine) 42
[ Read my interviews with Melnyk and Caine ]



(14 Jun) nitro (2007, Alain Desrochers) 38 (Bianca Gervais: priceless)
[ Read my interviews with Desrochers, Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge and Lucie Laurier ]

(16 Jun) Evan Almighty (2007, Tom Shadyac) [ review ] 21

(17 Jun) SiCKO (2007, Michael Moore) 67
[ Having recently seen the anti-Michael Moore docu "Manufacturing Dissent" (and interviewed its directors), watching his latest was an odd experience. I'm a Moore fan, even though I feel he'll never make another "Roger & Me"-level masterpiece again, because that film was so personal, his trademark twists on conventional documentary techniques were then unheard of and he was still an underdog. As for the "Manufacturing" accusations, it's long been obvious that Moore's movies are manipulative, hardly subtle and not above taking narrative shortcuts. Watching "SiCKO", I was particularly aware of this. Then again, even when you're aware of Moore's tricks... They're still good tricks! Dude takes a potentially boring subject (do we really wanna be watching an exposé of the failings of the American healthcare system? it's certainly not as explosive a subject as gun violence or the evils of President Bush) and makes it gripping, moving and, quite often, bitterly funny. I assume there are a lot of cut corners, exaggerations and maybe even some flat-out lies thrown in there (don't know about France, the UK and Cuba, but Canada's healthcare system is nowhere near as flawless as Mike makes it look). But goddamn it if the flick didn't play me like a violin! As I mentioned to Melnyk and Caine, the only mistake I feel Moore has made over and over is to say he's making non-fiction. If he'd just put himself in the company of satirists like Stephen Colbert, Trey Parker and Sacha Baron Cohen, people would allow him his dramatic license and "truthiness". Then again, some folks get pissy about "Borat" too, so... ]

(18 Jun) Freddy Got Fingered (2001, Tom Green) [ review ] 89

(19 Jun) Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan) [ review ] 94

(21 Jun) Live Free or Die Hard (2007, Len Wiseman) [ review ] 43

(21 Jun) Ratatouille (2007, Brad Bird) 85
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(23 Jun) Finding Nemo (2003, Andrew Stanton) [ review ] 86



(24 Jun) Scarface (1932, Howard Hawks) 82
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(25 Jun) The Fountain (2006, Darren Aranofsky) [ review ] 94

(26 Jun) Eagle vs Shark (2007, Taika Waititi) 63
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Jun) Bled Number One (2007, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche) 16
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Jun) End of the Line (2007, Maurice Devereaux) 75
[ Read my interview with Devereaux ]

(28 Jun) Transformers (2007, Michael Bay) [ review ] 58

(29 Jun) 13 Beloved (2006, Chookiat Sakweerakul) 70
(30 Jun) A Bloody Aria (2006, Won Shin-yeon) 57
[ Part of Voir's Fantasia coverage ]


May / July