Movie Diary 2/22/2010

A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009). A movie as patient and competent as its protagonist, in which all the pieces come gradually together to form a satisfying whole, right up to the final notes on the soundtrack. Sort of a companion piece to Audiard’s The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and like that film featuring a large supporting performance by the debauched Niels Arestrup. (full review 3/19)

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009). Just when you think you’ve seen every possible variation on a movie set in a British housing project. Not as revelatory as Arnold’s Red Road, but more evidence of her talent. (full review 2/26)

Pitfall (Andre de Toth, 1948). Re-seeing after 25 years or so, and thus “new.” The lively dialogue and a classic noir situation carry this through, along with de Toth’s eye for startlingly just-there real locations.

Assassins (Richard Donner, 1995). Not quite the sleeper I remembered, but something’s going on in it. Antonio Banderas’s antic performance is a reminder of his promise at the time; one wants Stallone’s sincere attempt at intelligent underplaying to work – it doesn’t quite.

Kids of Survival (Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, 1996). Quite a powerful account of Tim Rollins and his South Bronx teen artists, from the makers of Ballets Russes. Also has some classic noodle-headed comments from academics. (It’ll be shown again soon: see “Upcoming Events” tab.)

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