I’m Not Here

Smile, you son of a ... whatever it is that spawned you… I’m off at a screening of “Grindhouse” this morning, and then there’s this funeral that will, unfortunately, take up most of the afternoon. But oh, am I looking forward to “Grindhouse”.

Yeah, the Tarantino thing’s gonna be all kinds of self-referential fun and Edgar Wright made one of the fake trailers, but Robert Rodriguez has finally made a zombie picture, and that is going to rock, I just know it.

Anyway, that’s not a topic for discussion until next week, so let’s turn the focus back to what you can see right now. Not all reviews were online at press time, but I’ll fill in the links as they go up. UPDATE: Done!

Blades of Glory“: Will Ferrell does another of his arrogant idiots, but pairing him with Jon Heder in a figure-skating movie is a stroke of genius; ditto for casting Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as their evil rivals. If “Dreams are when you’re asleep” doesn’t become a catch-phrase in my lifetime, well, I will have failed this movie.

Congorama“: I was a huge fan of Philippe Falardeau’s first feature, “La Moitie Gauche du Frigo”, but he really missed the mark with this comedy-drama about two men — one Belgian, and one Canadian — who share a life-changing encounter in rural Quebec. Yes, it’s ambitious and convoluted, but it’s ambitious and convoluted in a way that does nothing but serve its own ambition and convolution. Plus, it’s kind of boring.

The Host“: Giant monster terrorizes Seoul, and Bong Joon-ho makes the best movie of the year. It was pretty much the best movie of last year, with the possible exception of “Children of Men” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”. I’ve written about it plenty — and I write plenty more in today’s Sympatico/MSN movie column — but it all amounts to the same thing: You need to see this one as quickly as you can, with the largest crowd possible. This must have been what it felt like to see “Jaws” in the early summer of 1975.

The Lookout“: Scott Frank’s directorial debut (after writing “Dead Again”, “Get Shorty”, “Out of Sight” and some of “Minority Report”) is an intelligent reworking of “After Dark, My Sweet” with a dash of “Memento”, and wouldn’t feel out of place alongside either one of those terrific neo-noir exercises. And this Joseph Gordon-Levitt kid? He’s the real deal.

Meet the Robinsons“: About a third of this Disney CG adventure is a triumph of production design and character work — specifically, anything with chrome on it, and anything involving the Bowler Hat Guy. The rest of the picture is a frenetic jumble of ideas and images, some of which look like they’d be really interesting if the movie could slow down long enough to explore them. On the other hand, if it slowed down too much, we’d all realize it’s just “Back to the Future” told from Doc’s point of view. Anyway. Bowler Hat Guy is awesome.

Radiant City“: Gary Burns and Jim Brown look at the problem of urban sprawl in this fascinating work of cinema, which I think I would have totally enjoyed even if I wasn’t inclined to agree with every one of their conclusions. (Yeah, I know, lawns are fine, but I really like living within walking distance of fourteen coffee shops.)

Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey“: Wanna watch my video of my fantasy baseball league’s trip to Cuba with the legendary Bill Lee? Okay, this documentary about the pitcher-philosopher is a little more polished than that — they interviewed some of his contemporaries, and got a couple of journalists to provide additional context — but not by much. Lee’s going to be at the Bloor tonight for the premiere screening, if you’re a fan.

Well, that was my week, anyway. And now is the time for the zombies.

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