Movie Diary 3/9/2010

Green Zone (Paul Greengrass, 2010). The camera shakes, and so does national integrity, in an Iraq War thriller that does a disconcerting amount of fictional telescoping. (full review 3/12)

Greenberg (Noah Baumbach, 2010). I wonder whether Baumbach works backward from his endings, because he sure knows how to put the pieces in order at the fade-out. Ben Stiller as a burnout staying in his brother’s empty house for six weeks, a situation that could serve as an Eric Rohmer premise; Stiller has an especially good moment surveying a crowd of 20-year-olds in his shell-shocked vicinity. (full review 3/26)

She’s Out of My League (Jim Field Smith, 2010). Junior would-be Apatow action, with Jay Baruchel graduating to lead nerd. Not entirely without yoks. (full review 3/12)

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (Judith Erlich and Rick Goldsmith, 2009). An Oscar loser, but cogent in laying out Ellsberg’s history; some choice excerpts from the Nixon tapes, which astonish even when you’ve heard them before. (full review 3/12)

The Jazz Baronness (Hannah Rothschild, 2009). Totally absorbing account of the woman who tended Thelonious Monk in the last couple of decades of his life, told by her great-niece (or something); both ladies are of the Rothschild clan. Not sure why, but Monk is a fine subject for film – see Straight, No Chaser. (shows in Seattle Jewish Film Festival 3/15)

Human Failure (Michael Verhoeven, 2008). Holocaust documentary with a specific angle: what exactly happened to all the stuff – just the sheer ocean of stuff – that belonged to the Europeans Jews who were murdered, driven away, or simply ripped off. Some remarkable stories, and (like the accounting in Shoah), a sickening litany of efficient German records-keeping of these crimes. (shows in SJFF 3/18)

Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story (Scott Goldstein, 2008). Tribute to Las Vegas Sun publisher Greenspun, who was hanging around for all kinds of interesting moments: Joe McCarthy, Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, even a slice of Watergate. (shows in SJFF, 3/14)