Montreal Film Journal

2007 LOG (9)

(3 Sept) Ben X (2007, Nic Balthazar) 82
[ Part of FFM coverage in my Voir blog ]

(3 Sept) The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez (2007, Heidi Specogna) 60
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(4 Sept) Goya's Ghosts (2007, Milos Forman) 64
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(4 Sept) Le voyage d'une vie (2007, Maryse Chartrand) all my sympathies
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(5 Sept) Still Life (2007, Jia Zhang-ke) 67
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(5 Sept) The Brothers Solomon (2007, Bob Odenkirk) 2
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(10 Sept) The Brave One (2007, Neil Jordan) 47
[ This is basically a Steven Seagal vigilante flick, only with a female protagonist played by Jodie Foster which, granted, makes this a more emotional piece. She plays a radio host who, after being beaten and left for dead by thugs, buys herself a gun and goes on a killing spree of criminals. Numerous apparent lifts from "Taxi Driver" (the black market gun seller, the liquor store attack which gives her a chance to shoot a mofo for the first time, the attempt to rescue a whore, the chance meeting with an authority figure, the bloody climax followed by a series of overhead shots, etc.) and what seems like an allegory for post-9/11, Iraq-"liberating" America (attack-> fear/paranoia -> questionable violent retaliation) are intriguing, but the movie still often goes for the cheap thrills. And what's with the racist undercurrent, which has the Aryan Foster wasting away black gangbangers, Latino cholos and shady Arab fellas? Then again, her boyfriend is Indian and she cosies up with a black cop (played by the always engaging Terrence Howard), so I guess this isn't a fascist wet dream. Or is it? ]

(11 Sept) Across the Universe (2007, Julie Taymor) 83
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(11 Sept) Un cri au bonheur (2007, 11 directors) hit and miss, but when it hits, whoa
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(14 Sept) In the Shadow of the Moon (2007, David Sington) 80
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(14 Sept) Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino) [ review ] 93

(15 Sept) A History of Violence (2005, David Cronenberg) [ review ] 93

(17 Sept) Le Ring (2007, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette) 66
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(18 Sept) Commando - Director's Cut (1985, Mark L. Lester) [ review ] 100

(19 Sept) December Boys (2007, Rod Hardy) 32
[ Daniel Radcliffe ain't a kid no more. We've seen him grow up from film to film, now here he is in his first post-"Harry Potter", non-fantasy role. "December Boys" has Radcliffe playing the eldest of four orphans from the Australian Outback who are sent on vacation to a coastal village, where they discover the adult world, girls and disillusion. This coming-of-age story is rather trite and generic, like "Les choristes" minus the songs. It's nicely helmed and watchable enough, but instantly forgettable. And despite the fact that he gets to make out with and finger Teresa Palmer, Radcliffe doesn't break his image of a harmless nice boy too much. ]

(20 Sept) Brand Upon the Brain! (2007, Guy Maddin) 74
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Sept) Shake Hands with the Devil (2007, Roger Spottiswoode) 69
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(23 Sept) Commando - Director's Cut (1985, Mark L. Lester) [ review ] 100

(24 Sept) Into the Wild (2007, Sean Penn) 88
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(26 Sept) The Kingdom (2007, Peter Berg) 28
[ After a terrorist attack in which a number of Americans are killed, four FBI agents go to Saudi Arabia, but they're constantly blocked by the local police and by their own superiors. Hence, nothing happens for nearly half the movie, which is made particularly dull by the fact that the agents played by Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman are all non-characters. Even once they manage to start their investigation, it's still boring; as it's been assessed elsewhere, beyond the exotic locale, this is as generic and inconsequential as an episode of CSI. The last act is more explosive, literally, with a lot of shit blowing up, shoot-outs, fights and a car chase. But while technically efficient, the action scenes aren't extraordinary or anything (a Bourne flick this isn't) and, most damningly, it feels like they're milking the violent mayhem in the Middle East for cheap thrills, like "Team America: World Police" minus the satire. ]

(26 Sept) Hotel Chevalier (2007, Wes Anderson) 79
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(27 Sept) We Own the Night (2007, James Gray) 77
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(28 Sept) Les plus beaux yeux du monde (2007, Charlotte Laurier) 14
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(29 Sept) Notes on a Scandal (2006, Richard Eyre) 71
[ Somehow hadn't seen this one until one. It is indeed a pretty great yarn, with impeccable performances from Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, but it's not quite the bitchy fun I was expecting. It's actually mostly sad, the story of a lonely old lesbian spinster who tries to find companionship in all the wrong ways, and a younger woman who has a happy enough family life but who for some reason still feels the need to compromise it all for a little bit of teen hunk ass. Basically, it's less "All About Eve" than "The Hours"... or maybe it's just the Philip Glass score that's giving me that impression? One way or the other, good show. ]

August / October