Movie Diary 5/16/2011

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011). Owen Wilson, a writer who dreams of 1920s Paris, gets magically taken back there. Even if Allen’s scenes still show a distressing tendency to dribble away, at least this one has some amusing references and a romantic city at night. (full review 6/3)

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011). The wha’? (full review 6/17)

13 Assassins (Takashi Miike, 2010). Count ’em, 13. And a pretty good bunch of samurai they are, too. (full review 5/20)

A Screaming Man (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2010). A somewhat different feel from Haroun’s excellent Daratt, but both films are the work of an old-school arthouse director. Here, a former swimming champion tries to hold on to his job as the country of Chad crumbles around him. (Screens at Seattle International Film Festival)

Black Venus (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010). Speaking as someone very impressed by Kechiche’s Secret of the Grain, I have to say this horrible true story (about the real-life African woman who was exhibited as the “Hottentot Venus” in 19th century Europe) makes for a grueling experience, for a variety of reasons. Devastating at times – but grueling. (Screens at SIFF)

At my other website, What a Feeling!, we hear about sex, lies, and videotape from its original release.