Saturday, September 08, 2007

Day 2 Roundup

One Hundred Nails (Ermanno Olmi) 43 [Purportedly Olmi's final film, this conflicted saga is a less than stellar note to end on. Bipolar in the extreme, this attempts to be both a philosophical discourse about the role of acquired knowledge in our pursuit of happiness and a crowd-pleasing feelgood comedy in which a professor abandons his title, money, and home in order to shack up with a group of lovable squatters. As the former, it works well enough, but the latter is a constant distraction. It's pretty clear that Olmi has acquired some knowledge from middlebrow crud like Waking Ned Devine, much to the detriment of my pursuit of happiness.]

Disengagement (Amos Gitai) 49 [For about an hour, this is an unmitigated disaster. Its extended first act features Juliet Binoche as a slightly unhinged Parisenne who has recently lost her father. When the film later relocates to the Gaza strip, taking her character on a quest to find her estranged daughter, it improves considerably, even if Binoche seems to be suddenly playing an altogether different person. No longer a chamber drama, it becomes more recognizably Gitai's work, presenting the Israeli political situation as a barely navigable morass of checkpoints. The long takes that show scenes of mob near-violence dominate the movie's second half and redeem the enterprise.]

The Visitor (Thomas McCarthy) 28 [As Good As It Gets for Post-9/11 America, with mediocre performances.]

Frontiere(s) (Xavier Gens) 34 [This Gallic gorefest is not half as inventive or gruesome as most of this year's homegrown torture porn, to be honest. For all of the intimations of cross-breeding, for example, nothing here comes close to the truly horrific opening of The Hills Have Eyes Part 2. Not an entirely bad time at the movies, though. Though they might be sporadic, there are highlights, such as the bits with the crazy Nazi.]

1 comment:

RBurton said...

What the fuck is this? Where are the Oscar contender?