Montreal Film Journal

2010 LOG (9)

(1 Sep) Machete (2010, Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis) [ review ] 72

(2 Sep) Dirty Dancing (1987, Emile Ardolino) 77
[ This here is a bona fide dancing movie musical, where the story is almost an afterthought, an excuse for all the dance scenes. Those are the moments through which the characters are defined, as they move their bodies, on their own or with each other... As such, this is not unlike a porno (it's "dirty" dancing, remember?)... Or like a martial arts movie, more unexpectedly, what with all the training montages, the elusive special move the protagonist only masters during the final showdown (the lift!), etc. Patrick Swayze's Johnny Castle is the missing link between John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" and Mark Wahlberg in "Boogie Nights", with a touch of Elvis in "Tickle Me" (look it up). And Jennifer Grey is cute and fun as the rich daddy's girl who slums it with him. Set in 1963, the movie is filled with great music from the era (Be My Baby, Big Girls Don't Cry, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me, Wipe Out, etc.), plus a few anachronistic but amusingly cheesy '80s numbers (She's Like the Wind, (I've Had) The Time of My Life). Good times! ]

(4 Sep) Deux de la vague (2010, Emmanuel Laurent)
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(7 Sep) À l'origine d'un cri (2010, Robin Aubert) 89
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(9 Sep) American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi (2010, Sebastian Doggart)
(11 Sep) Hermafrodita (2010, Albert Xavier 53
(12 Sep) Skin (2009, Anthony Fabian) 31
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(10 Sep) Flipped (2010, Rob Reiner) 6
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(12 Sep) Mean Girls (2004, Mark Waters) [ review ] 71

(13 Sep) La fille coupée en deux (2007, Claude Chabrol) 68
[ Being a big fan of Ludivine Sagnier, I'd been meaning to watch this film for a while now, ever since it came out directly on DVD here in Quebec (a shame, I know), to be precise. Of course, the passing of Chabrol yesterday gave me a further incentive to finally pop this in the DVD player, and I'm glad I did. This story of an older intellectual (François Berléand) who falls for a beautiful blonde weather girl (Sagnier) is nothing we haven't seen before (in fact, it's almost exactly the same premise as Anne Fontaine's "La fille de Monaco") and Chabrol's direction is certainly old-fashioned (the same film could have been made in 1967 with little alteration), but there's an intelligence, an observational acuteness and a Nouvelle Vague-ish wit at work here that is thoroughly compelling. At times, I couldn't stant Berléand and Benoît Magimel's characters, a pair of obscenely wealthy, self-centred pricks who in no way deserve a cute, spunky young thing like Sagnier's character. Thankfully, Chabrol's film is almost all about calling them out on their bullshit. Gorgeously shot, the film also takes a few nifty turns during the third act, and the finale is just about perfect. ]

(14 Sep) Incendies (2010, Denis Villeneuve) [ review ] 87

(14 Sep) (500) Days of Summer (2009, Marc Webb) 93
[ It's pretty crazy how the same movie can make you happy and sad... I guess the same way that you can love and hate a girl at the same time, especially after she's dumped you. Bitch. Marc Webb's extraordinary debut would be best described as an anti-romantic comedy, in as much as it's not about love conquering all, it's about love making you fall on your face. In that way, it's not unlike "High Fidelity" (with which it also shares an impeccable taste in music) and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (with which it also shares fractured chronology storytelling). It's also got a general Cameron Crowe vibe, its use of voice-over narration is very "Magnolia", and with the achingly beautiful and wonderfully quirky female lead being played by Zooey Deschanel, it's impossible not to think of "All the Real Girls"... So it borrows a few tricks from other films, but only from the best, and never to the point where it feels derivative. Webb's film is way too obviously heartfelt and sincere for that, plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt is amazingly convincing and relatable, which seals the deal.

Note: this is a repost of a blurb written in July 2009 after I first saw the film. ]

(15 Sep) The Town (2010, Ben Affleck) 75
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(16 Sep) Le Poil de la bête (2010, Philippe Gagnon) 39
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Sep) A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2010, Zhang Yimou) 57
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(21 Sep) The Social Network (2010, David Fincher) [ review ] 92

(23 Sep) 2 Frogs dans l'Ouest (2010, Dany Papineau) 21
[ Reviewed for Voir ]

(27 Sep) Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967, John Huston) 52
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(27 Sep) The American President (1995, Rob Reiner) 65
[ Schmaltzy, cutesy, preachy... This is a post-'80s Rob Reiner flick all right. But then again, it's written by Aaron Sorkin, so it's all kinds of witty and snappy, and what a cast! Just having Michael Douglas as the widowed President and Annette Bening as the new woman he's dating is a treat, but look at the supporting cast: Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, David Paymer, Richard Dreyfuss, John Mahoney, Wendie Malick... Pretty, pretty good. ]

August / October