Movie Diary 3/30/2010

Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969). Some fragrant locations and period trappings, although Demy’s lack of “touch” with American speech and behavior paralyzes the movie. Can’t entirely dismiss a film that has many sequences of driving in a car with music playing, however, which this movie does, as Gary Lockwood drives his MG around the L.A. haze with classical tunes or Spirit (the band also appears in the film) on the soundtrack.

Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, 2010). Hate to say it, but better on most counts than the original (Harryhausen’s eerie Medusa sequence aside), with a truly bizarre cast; Worthington’s still a cipher, though. (full review 4/2)

The Exploding Girl (Bradley Rust Gray, 2009). Oblique artlessness a la Wendy and Lucy is one thing (and a lovely thing, in that case), but you gotta give us something more than this. Zoe Kazan stars, although “stars” is not a relevant word in this context. (full review 4/2)

Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suss (Felix Moeller, 2009). A curious approach on the director of the most notorious anti-Semitic film of the Third Reich: a smattering of history (but not so much that you’d know anything about the postwar legal cases against Veit Harlan), a but a lot about how Jew Suss has affected Harlan’s family, including his grandchildren – and his niece, who happened to be married to Stanley Kubrick. Interviews with them constitute the bulk of the picture; an intriguing take, though not the last word on the subject.

Mother and Child (Rodrigo Garcia, 2009). An awfully good cast doing awfully good things in one of those multiple-vectors-crossing movies; Garcia did the interesting Nine Lives. Strange sub-theme: actors from 1980s TV classics (Jimmy Smits, David Morse, Michael Warren).

Dancing Across Borders (Anne Bass, 2009). Straight-ahead dance documentary about a traditional Cambodian dancer uprooted in his teens to learn ballet in the U.S. (full review 4/9)

The Last Song (Julie Anne Robinson, 2010). Miley Cyrus, angry at the world, but saving sea turtle eggs. It’s a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, so one of the characters had better be putting his accounts in order. (full review 4/2)