Movie Diary 11/2/2009

Catching up on a weekend of movies.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (Grant Heslov, 2009). George Clooney in a few hilarious wigs, Jeff Bridges Dude-ing out, the movie not quite hitting its Strangelovian possibilities. (full review 11/6)

The Messenger (Oren Moverman, 2009). Ben Foster, heretofore a somewhat spastically ornate actor, must play it straight as an Iraq War vet now stateside and forced into serving as a deliverer of death notifications to next-of-kin. It generates a hothouse mood; Moverman’s had his name on a bunch of interesting projects. (full review 11/20)

The Children (Max Kalmanowicz, 1980). Godawful thing about a nuclear accident turning kids into glassy-eyed killers. Happily, the audience at the Rotten party last Thursday night was well-lubricated and into the spirit of participation.

We Live in Public (Ondi Timoner, 2009). Thorough enough portrait of super-creepy Internet pioneer Josh Harris, who turned his technical skills on an exhibitionistic wallow in his own life. (full review 11/13)

The Hills Run Red (Dave Parker, 2009). Straight-to-DVD job sent for review by Amazon, about a batch of young cineastes hunting for an elusive lost horror picture. Clever set-up, though it falls into some awfully familiar patterns.

Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968). Brilliant. Ever notice how quickly this thing moves along, even though it doesn’t seem to rush?

Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958). Tati executing gags mostly in a clean modern house and its front yard; nice flow of jokes from one faulty gizmo to the next.

35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008). I’m not entirely sure what this movie is about, but it sure shimmies along in memorable fashion – and what a collection of faces. (full review 11/6)

A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemeckis, 2009). Incredible digital dazzle from Zemeckis, and Jim Carrey isn’t about to let the technology get him down – he (or whatever is left of him in the motion-capture process) is terrific. I think Zemeckis likes terror more than redemption. (full review 11/6)