It’s Everything Day!

... and then, his sense of smell kicked back inYou know those weeks where a jillion movies open and I manage to miss out on covering anything, just because of the way the schedule falls? Well, this is not one of those weeks. Let us begin.

“The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins”: Okay, I haven’t actually seen this one. But Susan loved it enough at last year’s Hot Docs to put it on her Top Ten of 2008, and she continues to champion it now.

Duplicity“: In which Tony Gilroy does for megastar caper flicks what he did for 1970s moral thrillers in “Michael Clayton”, which is to say he throws a lot of money at the production and offers a couple of plot reversals that will be unexpected if you went out for popcorn at just the wrong moment, and then sits back and waits to be called a genius. But aren’t these movies supposed to be entertaining?

I Love You, Man“: Paul Rudd and Jason Segel turn their brief comedic sparks in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” into a feature-length goof on romantic comedies — and yeah, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost did the man-crush thing two years ago in “Hot Fuzz”, but that was in the context of the buddy-cop genre, so this is different. My review should be online any minute now. (UPDATE: There it is!)

“Knowing”: Thanks to the prophecies on a fifty-year-old scrap of paper, Nicolas Cage knows things! Scary things! Things that man was not meant to know! Okay, I haven’t seen this one, either, but I really want to … even if Adam thinks I shouldn’t.

The Magic Flute“: In which Kenneth Branagh once again demonstrates the dangers of critics throwing around words like “genius” and “wunderkind” at emerging actor-filmmakers. Because twenty years later, they make us want to eat them. The words, I mean.

Polytechnique“: After almost a decade’s absence, Denis Villeneuve comes roaring back to features with this harrowing meditation on survivor guilt, viewed through the horrific prism of the Montreal massacre. Gus Van Sant only wishes Elephant was this powerful. (Also, check out my interview with producer-star Karine Vanasse.)

12“: Nikita Mikhalkov moves “Twelve Angry Men” to modern-day Moscow. (The accused is Chechnyan.) It works better than you’d think, though there’s no reason it needed to clock in at 159 minutes.

24 City“: Jia Zhang-ke’s documentary fiction about the death and resurrection of the Chinese factory town of Chengdu wowed ’em at Cannes. No reason it shouldn’t wow you now, right?

Also of note today: Cinematheque Ontario screens a restored print of Max Ophuls’ “Lola Montes“, and “Battlestar Galactica” fraks off forever with a two-hour finale.

No spoilers, please; it might take a day or two to catch up to it. I’m awfully busy right now.

2 thoughts on “It’s Everything Day!”

  1. Okay, now I’m confused. The Variety, A.O. Scott, Scott Foundas, Mike D’Angelo and other critics I respect have said it’s brilliant and that it’s not empty at all. Then again, its Rotten Tomato rating isn’t very high.

    Is it possible you missed something, or are they overreading it, or… what?

  2. If we’re talking about “Duplicity”, I think the divide comes from some critics responding to the movie as a kind of high-toned comfort food; these critics likely had the same response to “Michael Clayton”.

    Both of Gilroy’s films have been described as genre pictures for grown-ups, but they’re not; they’re really just luxe replications of Hollywood entertainments from decades past, filled with empty games to make them seem more complex than they actually are. They’re certainly watchable enough, but there’s nothing inside the package.

    Or, in other words, the critics who are calling “Duplicity” the second coming of Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” are missing the point: McTiernan’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” was the second coming of Jewison’s “The Thomas Crown Affair”. “Duplicity” is the second coming of Brett Ratner’s “After the Sunset”.

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