Losers Through the Gift Shop

Banksy, or not, in Exit Through the Gift Shop

Reviews I wrote for the Herald this week:

The Back-Up Plan. “Lopez gets stuck in another subpar movie.”

The Losers. “A helicopter, a handful of bombs, and one really, really strong magnet.”

Exit Through the Gift Shop. “I don’t know what it is.”

Oceans. “Do NOT mess with a mantis shrimp.”

Ajami. “Battleground in their own back yard.”

Terribly Happy. “Surrounded by the kind of all-consuming marshland Anthony Perkins found so handy for hiding things in Psycho.”

The Square. “A downward spiral where men and women do the wrong things for the wrong reasons.” Plus an interview with director Nash Edgerton.

Also, I talked about the culture of the Confederate Pride movement with Steve Scher on KUOW’s “Weekday,” archived here. The conversation begins 14 minutes into the program.

Movie Diary 4/19/2010

The Losers (Sylvain White, 2010). Someone says, “Don’t start none, won’t be none,” but somebody always starts one, at least in this movie. You thought Kick-Ass was amoral? And this thing’s got a PG-13 rating. (full review 4/23)

Paisan (Roberto Rossellini, 1946). Decent version of this from Criterion, a raw multi-episode film that refuses to round off its stories into neat parables, even when they seem to do so. When Ingrid Bergman saw it she was moved to write a letter of admiration to the director, thus setting off Hollywood’s greatest scandal. Location shooting in bombed-out locations is always evocatively right, from the streets of Rome to a seaside hideout at night.

Mid-August Lunch (Gianni di Gregorio, 2008). Directed by and starring one of the writers of Gomorrah – and beyond that, I don’t know what to say about the provenance of this slim, completely charming, seemingly one-of-a-kind picture, except that it might have been made by Jim Jarmusch if Jim Jarmusch had been born in Rome. (full review 4/30)

Ajami (Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani, 2009). Criss-crossing storytelling about miserable situations in Jaffa, shot in the streets with all too much authenticity. (full review 4/23)

Stage Door (Gregory LaCava, 1937). Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers lead the show as two differing showbiz wannabes, although Lucille Ball steals her scenes and Andrea Leeds drags things down as the suffering serious actress who can’t buy a gig.