Costume, Dramas

Well, here we are. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the boutique distributors are beginning to roll out their Oscar bait in earnest. Read on, and you’ll see …

Anna Karenina: Joe Wright imposes his artistic “vision” upon Tolstoy for an insistently  showy adaptation which botches its own high concept about 20 minutes in and never figures out how to reconcile Wright’s noxious self-importance with the actual heft of the text. Keira Knightley is nevertheless very good as the conflicted Anna, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s pissy take on Vronsky gives Jude Law the opportunity to refashion the cuckolded Karenin into the tragic hero of the piece. Glenn is a little more polite about it than I would have been.

Back to 1942: Sadly, this is not a sequel to Iron Sky in which the Moon Nazis attempt to put the Reich back on top with time-travel. Instead, it’s another megabudget period thing from Feng Xiaogang, this time with roles for Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins. Susan finds it … lacking.

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography: Following the documentarian principle of “write what you know”, Stacy Peralta returns his video archive for more awesome footage of himself and the  Z-Boys back in the day. Catherine Hardwicke’s insipid Lords of Dogtown put me off this story forever, but Rad liked it.

Killing Them Softly: I loved Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt’s previous collaboration, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, but I cannot endorse their new project, a subpar variation on Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead with a most ungainly allegory for America’s economic woes stitched on top. Pitt gets a couple of lovely moments with Richard Jenkins, though.

A Late Quartet: Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener play musicians facing the end of their collaboration. Susan likes it well enough, though she’s not sure all the actors manage to sell their musicianship. (Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, that other melodrama about classical performers going bravely into their senescence, has a similar problem.)

The Last Movie: Bruce Pittman’s found-footage mystery has screamed “unreleasable vanity project” louder and louder with each desperate press release. Except that it has, apparently, been released. Glenn suffers through it, gentleman that he is.

Lloyd the Conqueror: Michael Peterson’s generic LARPing comedy — and yes, it turns out there is such a thing as a generic LARPing comedy — is jazzed up by three very committed supporting performances. So if you’re a Brian Posehn fan, hie thee to the multiplex.

The Suicide Shop: Patrice Leconte’s 3D animated musical — and there’s a phrase I never thought I’d write — got lost amongst the bigger titles at TIFF,  but I’m hoping to catch up to it soon. Rad wasn’t totally thrilled, but he does say it makes the most of its curious concept.

And there you have it. Anybody know when Les Miserables is screening?

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