Saturday, May 01, 2010

Seen in April


image via The Auteurs

2nd - Up in the Air
An entertaining and well-made film - captures the zeitgeist of its times. Not a re-invention of storytelling but sometimes you just want to watch a well-told and well-crafted story. Will probably show up in a three picture playbill on corporatism on TVO's Saturday Night at the Movies in the future.

4th - The Damned United
More than just a football movie. Sheen's portrayal of Brian Clough as a man who's ambition is driven more by the chip on his shoulder than success is what makes the difference here. Uncharacteristically of most sports movies, this film ends with the protagonist's greatest humiliation not his greatest triumph.

11th - The September Issue
There's a reason people parody the world of fashion and this is it. No other industry could withstand the sort of collusion on display here. Retailer tells media what it wants, media tells designers what to make, companies produce it and advertise in Vogue. One big happy circle jerk and it's fascinating. I'm glad I'll never be a graphic designer at Vogue. Utterly thankless job.

12th - The Reader
David Hare is determined to write difficult stories about difficult people in difficult situations. The downside is it is difficult to watch. Winslet's character is reserved with plenty to hide and never gives anything away while her young lover seems permanently scarred by the relationship. It's sad, it's guilt-filled but rarely pushes or questions enough to break out of it's slow moving greyness.

14th - The Informant!
Is it a lie if you really believe it? Eventually someone asks, "What's his agenda?" which is the only nagging thing I didn't like here - we never really know Mark Whitacre's motivation. Still, it is an entertainingly slow reveal of someone who was so good at lying, he conned himself. Best Soderbergh film in awhile.

16th - Away We Go
I'd heard this film described as Revolutionary Road-lite, which is completely wrong. It is a funny, sometimes tender, and honest portrayal of a couple's decision to find a new home. It has a great cast featuring very genuine dialog. I was afraid it would have all the trappings of an "indie" film but it had little artifice and is a simple, witty, stripped down film. At times the music is a little trite.

20th - Ponyo
In any Miyazaki film you should expect beauty, cuteness, oddness and at least one moment of pure unbridled exuberance. Ponyo has all of that. Not as magical as you might expect (odd to say as of course, magic is the primary plot point - plot?). The "wizard/father" character is just way too "Ziggy Stardust" to be voiced by Liam Neeson. Otherwise this movie has a lot of great little moments. Miyazaki is obviously a fine observer of kid folk.

21st - World of Shorts program at the NFB Mediatheque Toronto (see Hey, it's That Guy)

25th - Sherlock Holmes (2009)
I'm quite happy to watch Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law trade jabs while Guy Ritchie watches. That sounded a whole lot less gay when I thought to type it. Fun and entertaining flick though a bit longer than necessary. Trim a bit of fat, kind of like what Downey apparently did for this roll. It won't be remembered as a classic Holmes flick but that's okay. Still waiting for Ritchie to outdo himself.

Various dates Damages Season 2
Season 2 is full of old pros having fun (Glenn Close, Tate Donovan, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Clarke Peters and the list goes on). Do I hate Patty Hewes or loathe her or just admire her style?

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