A Decent Friday

WIZARD HANDSIt makes me a little sad to realize that a five-movie week is “light” these days. But it still beats ten openings, right? Diving in, then:

“Good Neighbours”: After the squalid drama of “Twist” and the broad comedy of “The Trotsky”, Jacob Tierney feints towards the thriller genre for this strangely charming study of three people in a Montreal apartment building who start wondering whether there’s a serial killer amongst them. Rad liked the mood more than the script, and I can see where he’s coming from, but it worked for me.

“Midnight in Paris”: Susan sees Allen’s latest — in which Owen Wilson finds himself shifting between present-day Paris and its much more exciting 1920s version — as a sweet trifle. I see it as, “Hey, Woody Allen finally caught up to ‘The Moderns’ on cable!” Remember when Allen’s movies were genuine cultural events? Yeah, it’s been a while.

The Princess of Montpensier“: Hey, here’s Bertrand Tavernier with that two-and-a-half-hour French bodice ripper you’ve all been clamoring for. What’s that? You want a story that justifies the running time? Sorry, he’s all out.

Le Quattro Volte“: Michelangelo Frammartino’s philosophical dramedy contains one of the greatest long takes you’ll see this decade, involving some goats, a truck and a dog possessed of expert comic timing. The rest of the movie is pretty good, too.

X-Men: First Class“: No, Matthew Vaughn’s prequel to the Bryan Singer canon doesn’t do anything especially new or challenging with Marvel’s mutants. And yeah, the backstory on Charles Xavier and Erik “Magneto” Lensherr didn’t really need to be fleshed out at feature length. And sure, the subplot about young Mystique’s self-loathing and inability to find love is kind of exactly the same as Rogue’s. But you know what? All that stuff works, thematically, within the larger world of the X-Men. And Matthew Vaughn makes it work as entertainment, which is more than the last couple of movies have managed.

Right, then! Off to do more things!