It’s All About Relationships

Oh, yeah, this one's a keeperThe weekend before the announcement of the Oscar nominations is always a little weird — you’ve got a few strategic releases designed to capitalize on potential glory, a couple of movies squeaking into release because someone found a fortuitous window, and … Ivan Reitman’s new comedy? Um, okay …

Attenberg“: The Royal is hosting a micro-festival of Greek cinema this week and next, starting with this mordantly funny tale of a young woman (Ariane Labed) struggling to understand basic human interaction, from hand-holding to the sexytime. Hmm, maybe Athina Rachel Tsangari should have directed “No Strings Attached”, too.

“The Company Men”: In fairness, John Wells’ corporate-layoff drama played Sundance just weeks after “Up in the Air” started its commercial run, so it’s not like this is the quickie knock-off the trailer makes it out to be. Also in fairness, this is a pretty tepid drama, made watchable by the earnest work of Kevin Costner, Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones … but only just. Glenn explains.

The Illusionist“: If he’d only ever made “The Triplets of Belleville”, Sylvain Chomet would be hailed as a god of animation. Luckily for us, he’s kept on working, so we get to see his quietly wonderful, mostly handmade interpretation of an unproduced Jacques Tati script. Please don’t wait for the DVD.

“Incendies”: Denis Villeneuve follows “Polytechnique” with a very different take on post-traumatic stress, adapting Wajdi Mouawad’s “Scorched” into a Lean-scale epic about family, tragedy and the scars of war. I’m not quite as high on it as Glenn — I think it takes a very long time to get going — but I certainly admire the skill involved in making a David Lean-scale film on a David Cronenberg-scale budget.

No Strings Attached“: Can Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher become “sex friends” without developing feelings for one another? More importantly, can Ivan Reitman claw his way out of the hole he dug for himself after “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”? Amazingly enough, the answer to both questions is “kinda”. Add a star if you’re a huge fan of Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline and/or Lake Bell.

“The Way Back”: Peter Weir’s first film since “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” — and that’s kind of amazing in itself — tells the true story of a group of Russian political prisoners who escaped the gulag, and then had to walk 4,000 miles from Siberia through the Gobi Desert to reach freedom. So … not a musical, then? I couldn’t make the press screening, but Susan was unimpressed.

There, that’s everything. Now to finish that NOW Daily post about my Oscar wish list; I’ll link to that when it goes up later today. UPDATE: Here you go!

2 thoughts on “It’s All About Relationships”

  1. Who has Canadian distribution rights for Phillip Morris? I’d pretty much given up hope of seeing it play theatrically here.

  2. Alliance has the Canadian rights; barring any last-minute Oscar action, it’ll probably be dumped to disc in April, day and date with the U.S. release.

    Phooey, I says.

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