Awards screeners are starting to come in hard & fast now, so here’s a hectic (and almost certainly incomplete) roundup of movies I’ve watched these last few weeks. In order of preference!
My Mother, My Bride, and I/Die Zweite Frau
Another cross-cultural love story from Europe, this time bridging Bavaria and Romania. Erwin Kobarek (Matthias Brandt) picks Irina (Maria Popistasu) out of a catalog, but his mother (Monica Bleibtreu) disapproves. One of my favorites at the Hamptons Film Fest. Hans Steinbichler, 2008. ****
I’m still kicking myself for missing this in the theater. Delirious, demented, delicious. Andy & Larry Wachowski, 2008. ****
Black Ice/Musta jää
I liked this twisted Finnish thriller in Berlin, and it got even better on second viewing in the Hamptons. Let’s hope it doesn’t just get remade, but also released in the U.S. Petri Kotwica, 2007. ****
This punk rock adaptation of Goethe’s classic is either a pretentious disaster or wildly romantic triumph. Possibly both. Either way, Hannah Herzsprung is out of this world. HIFF. Uwe Janson, 2008. ***
Dunya & Desie
Movie version of a long-running Dutch TV show about two teenage friends. Dunya (Maryam Hassouni), the daughter of Muslim immigrants, returns to Marocco, and her bubbly friend Desie follows. Thoroughly sweet & enjoyable. HIFF. Dana Nechushtan, 2008. ***
Bogdan’s on vacation with his wife and child when he runs into his old buddies who still call him Boogie and insist to take him out on a wild night. Perceptive and unassumingly real, Boogie snuck up on me. More from Danny Kasman. HIFF. Radu Muntean, 2008. ***
This gripping redemption story starring Trine Dyrholm won Best Narrative Feature and the audience award at the Hampton’s Film Fest. Marcy reviews. Erik Poppe, 2008. ***
Nothing But the Truth
Reasonably amusing fun-house mirror version of the Miller/Plame case. Could’ve used more Vera Farmiga — but that’s true of every movie. Rod Lurie, 2008. ***
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
I love the man as much as anyone, but the only HST movie I really need to see at this point is The Rum Diaries. Alex Gibney, 2008. ***
The Bad and the Beautiful
Kirk Douglas as selfish Hollywood producer who screws over Lana Turner. Highly entertaining until the wimp-out ending. Vincente Minnelli, 1952. ***
Curiously surreal crime/love story starring Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu in two roles. Andre Techine, 1976. ***
Ornella Muti! Mike Hodges, 1980. ***
Quantum of Solace
Seems like I was entertained. The editing blew. That’s all I remember. Marc Foster, 2008. **
Annika (Trine Dyrholm) falls in love with a rapist. Dyrholm is terrific but the movie pales compared to Der Freie Wille. HIFF. Pernille Fischer Christensen, 2008. **
As a major Star Wars geek, I tried my best to like this sci-fi coming-of-age story. But you know what the man says: there is no try. More from Karina Longworth. HIFF. Patrick Read Johnson, 2007. **
So lurid and godawful, we couldn’t stop. Cuba Gooding Jr. bonks Helen Mirren — with a gun! Lee Daniels, 2005. **
The Andromeda Strain
A long time ago, I was sent to bed after the first 15 minutes. Finally finished it. Dull science procedural was not worth the wait. More from Glenn Erickson. Robert Wise, 1971. **
What Just Happend
Rough going, but we held out until Bruce Willis shows up in wooly beard. Barry Levinson, 2008. N/R.
A guy walks into un bar a pute and tells a beautiful prostitute that he just won the lottery. Would she live with him for a hundred thousand a month? Of course she would. Problem is, the guy (Bernard Campan) has a weak heart, and Daniela, the hooker, is played by Monica Belluci. His doctor warns him: “How many times a day will your heart rate climb to 140? I cannot condone it!” Another problem comes in the hulking shape of Gerard Depardieu — he’s Daniela’s James Lipton. How Much Do You Love Me?, now available on DVD from Strand Releasing, is a sexy, silly romp that, like much of Blier’s work, straddles the line between affecting and absurd, often to hilarious effect.
Combien tu m’aimes? Bertrand Blier, 2005. ***
…and moi non plus. If there’s a kind of movie I hate to review more than any other, it’s the one that sounds too good to be true. Like a jilted lover obsessively reliving every painful moment, it requires rehashing your embarrassing anticipation and then laying out every deflating pinprick of disappointment. Besides, readers really hate the bearer of bad news. It can sap the joie de vivre right out of you.
So here we go again. Paris, je t’aime sounds like a connoisseur’s delight: two hours of short films celebrating the most romantic city in the world, directed by an impressive roster of international auteurs and starring a legion of favorite actors: Olivier Assayas, the Coen Brothers, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Christopher Doyle, Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant; Natalie Portman, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gerard Depardieu, Juliette Binoche, Ludivine Sagnier, Steve Buscemi, Bob Hoskins, Nick Nolte, Ben Gazzara, Marianne Faithfull, Miranda Richardson, Fanny Ardant, Gena Rowlands, Barbet Schroeder, Gaspard Ulliel. Surely, this could be nothing but a pleasure?
Paris, je t’aime. Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, and Gus Van Sant, 2006. **
Marcy thought this epic Edith Piaf biopic was torture, but I fell for it. Sure, all the cliches of the genre are in full effect, from Piaf’s childhood in brothels and circuses to discovery and rise in cabarets and music halls, with generous helpings of suffering, drug addiction, old age, loss, and death. But… non, je ne regrette rien… Unlike Ray, which covered similar stations of the artist’s passion with thudding predictability, director Olivier Dahan uses Marion Cotillard’s abrasive performance and Piaf’s fantastic music to good effect. La Môme just opened the Berlin Film Festival and is playing at the Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous with French Film festival. It’s scheduled to open in the US in June.
La Môme. Olivier Dahan, 2007. ***
[tags]music, film, 3 stars, edith piaf, la mome, olivier dahan, biopics, artists, drugs, booze, marion cotillard, youtube, gerard depardieu[/tags]