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Archive for September 21st, 2009

                                                       John Malkovich and Jessica Haines in Disgrace

by Sam Juliano

     Fall is now officially with us, and the cool weather has underscored the seasonal change.  The movie roll out is underway with highly-anticipated works from Jane Campion and Stephen Soderbergh making their weekend debuts.  Yet the multiplex remains indundated with the kind of junk, that isn’t even worthy of a DVD viewing.

     The highlight of my own week was meeting up with the popular blogger “Pat” Perry of Doodad Kind of Town. on Thursday evening.  Pat was in Manhattan seeing the play The Gods of Carnage, and Lucille and I (and three of the young ones) met her as she exited and drove for a snack and had a great talk.  What a lovely person!

     On the movie scene, I did see four films over the past week, two locally in multiplexes, and two in Manhattan during exclusive runs.  Only one film of the four is really worth taking about, though the animated feature was passable.

Give Me Your Hand  **  (French; Quad; Monday evening)

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs  ***  (Edgewater multiplex; Friday afternoon)

The Informant  ** 1/2  (Edgewater multiplex; Friday night)

Disgrace  ****  (Quad; Saturday night)

     The French film, gay-themed, about two brothers, brings Two-Lane Blacktop to mind, but it’s a plodding, one-note movie that is overeliant of rural settings.  Again ‘minimalism’ which strives for quiet tension, but fails.

     The animated Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, at least manages to turn a short picture book into a 90 minute feature, but the results are mixed, and the film changes some of the book’s premise.  The animation is lively, and it’s intermittantly fun and tedious.

     Stephen Soderbergh has once again thrown scenes together that eventually become torturous to sit through.  It’s a dull, talky film, that wastes a fine performance by Matt Damon.  I’ll elaborate further at some point this week.

     The director Steve Jacobs has made a strong film from J.M. Coetzee’s well-regarded novel, in which John Malkovich sustains a “fall from grace” much in the fashion of the inferior “Elegy” but it’s extremely well-acted and dramatically engrossing.  I may pen a full review.

     Around the blogosphere I have some links again, although I have been ill all day and can’t be as comprehensive.  Still here we go:

    Our dear friend Tony d”Ambra has what appears to be fabulous piece up on The Maltese Falcon” at filmsnoir.net:

http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/the-maltese-falcon-the-beginning-of-noir.html

     At “Sayamshot” Kaleem Hasan has a piece up now titled “A Few Scattered Thoughts on Yeh Mera India (Hindi):

http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/a-few-scattered-thoughts-on-yeh-mera-india-hindi-2009/

     At the “Powerstrip” Jon Lanthier has a post up titled “Bromberg and Work”:

http://blog.aspiringsellout.com/2009/09/bromberg-and-work.html

     Ed Howard has a fascinating essay up on “In the Mirror With Maya Deren,” which examines the famed forerunner of avante garde cinema:

http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2009/09/in-mirror-of-maya-deren.html

     John Greco has a very fine piece up on The Clay Pigeon (1949) at “Twenty-Four Frames.”:

http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/the-clay-pigeon-1949-richard-fleischer/

Dave Hicks’s annual countdown will resume on October 1st.  His excellent Raging Bull essay is still top-lining:

http://goodfellamovies.blogspot.com/2009/09/1980-raging-bull-martin-scorsese.html

     David Schleicher has an absolutely essential piece on “The Greatest Living Composers” at his place:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/the-greatest-living-film-composers/

     Dee Dee continues with review by Andrew Katsis, with reviews of animated shorts at Darkness to Light: (more…)

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a nos amours 1 

piece amended ACF 220909 – comments prior to this relevant to earlier piece

(France 1983 102m) DVD1/2

Aka. To Our Loves

I don’t want to always hurt people

p  Micheline Pialat  d  Maurice Pialat  w  Arlette Langmann, Maurice Pialat  ph  Jacques Loiseleux  ed  Yann Dedet  art  Jean-Paul Camail, Arlette Langmann

Sandrine Bonnaire (Suzanne), Dominique Besnehard (Robert), Evelyne Ker (mother), Maurice Pialat (father), Anne-Sophie Maillé (Anne), Christophe Odent (Michel), Cyr Boitard (Luc), Cyril Collard (Jean-Pierre), Maite Maillé (Martine),

David Thomson never wrote a truer word than when he declared “has any actress made a debut of such force – and youth – as Sandrine Bonnaire managed in À Nos Amours, made when she was fifteen?excited, afraid, daring, sensual, and innocent.  Everything was there, without coyness or boasting.”  Yet that very unique quality has proved a double-edged sword.  American distributors were not used to such naturalism from one so young, but rather teen stars who were ex-film moppets slowly growing up before our eyes.  They were not fresh, startling, precocious lookers, who mix fragility with a truth that takes root not in the fantasy of the movies, but in the harsh light of reality.  Furthermore, Bonnaire was not afraid of the sexuality of the part, she owned that character of Suzanne.  Such maturity from young actresses is hardly uncommon in French, or indeed European, cinema.  Such modern stars as Delpy, Gainsbourg, Sagnier, Ledoyen and Morton all bared their souls at a period when American actresses are stuck in formulaic teen movies.  (more…)

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