Howards End (James Ivory, 1992). A pleasing adaptation, and what a cast – the scenes with Emma Thompson and Vanessa Redgrave constitute a master class. Even Ivory’s usual sober attitude is knocked into the occasional swoon (the boat drifting off course into a thicket as two people grope for a long-deferred kiss). Yes, it is possible to miss Merchant Ivory.
The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, 2015). It’s a strange and headline-making subject for a documentary, that’s for sure – a brood of teenagers raised without experiencing the outside world. But there’s also something stirring about the subtext: That art (in this case, movies) can be a way of learning how to live, even if the circumstances are utterly bizarre. (full review 6/19)
Links to my reviews published in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.
At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I ponder the age-old charge that books allow the consumer to use the imagination more than movies do. To which we say, pah. Listen here..
The Film Critic (Hernán Guerschuny, 2013). From Argentina: A film critic for a Buenos Aires newspaper finds his life turning into the kind of rom-com he hates – which means the movie we’re watching also becomes that kind of movie. It’s a decent joke, played out in an enjoyable if nondescript fashion. The critic narrates the movie, but in French, not Spanish. Nice touch. (full review 6/12)
Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.
La Sapienza (Eugène Green, 2014). Journeying to Italy and Switzerland, and talking of architecture and life. The filmmaker’s deliberately stilted style mitigates the fairly simple ideas at play, and that’s probably a good thing. The Belly of an Architect seems to loom in the background. (full review 6/5)
The Connection (Cédric Jimenez, 2014). Marseille, 1975, in the wake of The French Connection: an investigator tries to clean up the dirty town with cowboy tactics. He’s played by Jean Dujardin, which makes a big difference in this film’s watchability; the star of The Artist and OSS 117 is right in gear with the period furnishings. The movie’s more Scorsese than Friedkin in style, and pretty corny at the core. (full review 6/5)
The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq (Guillaume Nicloux, 2014). The author plays himself in this fantasia about a very laid-back abduction. An amusing movie if you can accept Houellebecq as a grouchy Man Who Came to Dinner type. (full review 6/5)