Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Minor Update

2:37 (Murali K. Thalluri) 45 - Uncomfortably close to Gus Van Sant's Elephant, this debut makes major missteps, but is still fairly decent. Thalluri includes all of the Afterschool Special subplots that Van Sant left out of his film, encouraging the audience to guess which of the young cast will be the ones to commit suicide. The opening clearly sets the film up as a whodunit, with the “it” being suicide. That treatment might be offensive to some, but it didn’t much bother me. More galling was the director’s attempt to copy Van Sant’s style in total. With the same overlapping time structure, similar behind-the-back tracking shots, and an ethereal score, 2:37 feels like the work of Van Sant phoning it in. The most enlightening moment was when one character, meant to be utterly reprehensible, describes the risqué story he’s written by saying, “I wanted it to be controversial and different so I could win.” I suppose that was Thalluri’s aim here, but Van Sant doesn’t have to start sweating any time soon.

Nouvelle Chance (Anne Fontaine) 39 – One day we might look back and realize that Fontaine’s series of seemingly minor, understated, classy little films has added up into a major career… but I kind of doubt it. This time, she’s creating a knowing comedy (all of her films, no matter how shallow, present themselves as “knowing”) that follows as an aged actress (Madame de… herself, Danielle Darrieux) is pulled out of her rest home and is asked to perform in a small play. The script mostly examines aging and friendship that grows in spite of age. Fontaine treats Darrieux reverentially, making the film feel like an encore performance from a French national treasure. There are scattered moments that justify everything (e.g. when the three principals listen to an old recording together and Fontaine lets her actors’ eyes do all of the acting), but this is slim stuff indeed.

Summer '04 - 63
Rescue Dawn - 61
10 Items or Less - 58
Fay Grim
- 67
Reprise - 38

No comments: