Kelly Reichardt’s films have probably been called “boring” before. Her brand of slow-burning restraint and subtlety is far from mainstream.
But “boring” was never a fair description. Until now.
“Night Moves,” which screened at the Venice Film Festival, and is now at TIFF, is skimpy in character and dead-eyed in acting. Continue Reading
There are two ways to look at Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s latest controversial and critically-acclaimed post-9/11 drama.
As a movie, it’s a searing thriller.
As an account of real-life events, it’s pretty dangerous. Continue Reading
The Impossible will probably make you cry. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a miscalculated and disconnected look at one of the most devastating natural disasters in our history.
The immense talents of Naomi Watts notwithstanding, there is absolutely no reason for making this an English-language film. The real family it is based on are Spanish. As is the director, Juan Antonio Bayona, and most of the film’s crew. They all made an amazing Spanish film five years ago called The Orphanage. Continue Reading
Some biopics shroud politics in tepid character study. The Iron Lady opted for a speculative ageing drama instead of focusing on Margaret Thatcher’s fascinating politics—it was a huge mistake. Luckily for American history buffs, Lincoln knows it’s all about the backroom rhetoric, to a fault or not.
What’s for certain is that both have huge performances at their centre. Where Meryl Streep’s was a talented impersonation, I’m inclined to herald Daniel Day-Lewis’s Abraham Lincoln for the fact that he had no YouTube clips to study, only 150-year-old notes on the President’s character. He does a stunningly good job of inventing a man out of the notes and portraits we’ve all seen before. The praise is not out of left field; the acting—excuse me, Acting—is the film’s biggest strength.
The performances are grand, often operatic. I expect this was a conscious direction on the part of Steven Spielberg, as one dramatic verbal bout is literally followed by an opera. Luckily, both Day-Lewis and Sally Field, playing the First Lady, are up for the task and it works well.
The political story, though rightfully at the centre, is a bit of a challenge. Continue Reading
Rust and Bone is not an easy film to watch.
Some will find its the-worst-gets-worse indie tendencies somewhat grating, but the film’s style and the leads’ powerful performances make it a certain Oscar contender.
In brief, Rust and Bone, based on a series of short stories by Canadian writer Craig Davidson, follows the complicated attraction between a killer whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) and an unemployed boxer (Matthias Schoenaerts). But to reduce the film to a sentimental romance isn’t fair—it’s anything but. Rust and Bone is a complex story of the scars that shape us. Continue Reading
Known for his intensely disturbing films (Funny Games, anyone?), Amour explores Michael Haneke’s softer side. There are no golf club beatings or hidden cameras in this one. The intensity comes all from the incredible performances and profound sadness of an ageing relationship.
Starring Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant as the stroke-ridden wife and her saddened husband, the legendary French actors give stirring performances in what may be one of the greatest movies about ageing ever put to film. Continue Reading
There are a lot of things about Rihanna that shouldn’t be acceptable.
She gave away bottle after gold-plated bottle of champagne to lucky fans on her 777 binge-tour airplane. She’s entirely naked in pretty much every photo these days, with the exception of a perfectly-placed leaf or two. She has a giant tattoo under her breasts dedicated to her grandmother. She wanted a tattoo on her face. And most of all, she likes to duet from time to time with her former abuser, Chris Brown.
But hey, she’s Unapologetic apparently.
Now that her latest duet with Brown has leaked and it’s actually pretty good, the question must be asked: is it acceptable to enjoy the Rihanna-Chris Brown duet?
Well, sure it is. If you can completely separate music from reality. In some cases, it’s easier to do that than others, and this duet is not one of them. Continue Reading
Washington watches his movie crash
Denzel Washington gives a great performance in Robert Zemeckis’s Flight, but he can’t save the film from crashing harder than the plane he saves so thrillingly in the first 20 minutes.
Flight is a miscalculated mess about an alcoholic pilot under scrutiny after a terrifying crash landing (no, you won’t see this on your next in-flight movie menu). But Flight doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, hopping from awkwardly placed John Goodman sketches to candid explorations of addiction. Continue Reading
Okay, summer is officially over. But there are plenty of things that you and I forgot to do this summer, and one of those things was probably reading. Or at least, more reading. Or maybe better reading. Some of us read John Grishams and James Pattersons. Some of us read Steig Larssons and Suzanne Collinses. And some of us probably read some she-who-must-not-be-named.
There’s nothing wrong with that, everyone wants a breezy summer read (but maybe those who read the latter should hold a little guilt). So in the spirit of wishing summer was still on so that you could do those things you forgot to do like reading better books, here are a few recently published gems you could grab for your extended summer.
These boys are breezy, but they’re smart. A perfect balance for an extended summer. Continue Reading