Eleven movies opened in town last week; this week, thirteen. What have we done to bring this upon ourselves? And how can we turn the tide?
“Carmen in 3D“: Okay, technically it’s not a movie — it’s one of those taped HD presentations of live theatre — but Glenn is sufficiently impressed with the 3D and the performances to give it the full five out of five. So we make an exception, yes?
“Certified Copy”: Juliette Binoche and William Shimell are a flirty couple — or are they? — encapsulating an entire relationship in one Tuscan day in this meditation on identity and replication from director Abbas Kiarostami, who’s finally broken away from the fascination with DV experimentation that’s sidelined his career for most of the last decade. Sadly, Susan wasn’t as into it as I am.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”: I have even less interest in this series than I do in the “Twilight” saga, but if it provides Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris with steady work, I guess that’s okay. Having seen the first one, Rad caught the sequel for us; his review should be up later today.
“Hobo With a Shotgun“: Imagine a Canadian version of a mid-’80s Troma movie. Now put Rutger Hauer in it as a homeless man with a pump-action rifle, and you’ve got yourself a movie! It ain’t gonna set any records, but it’s exactly what it wants to be — gleefully, ludicrously offensive, with enough brightly lit gore to choke Lloyd Kaufman. It will find its audience.
“A Matter of Size“: A bunch of morbidly obese Israelis rediscover self-respect when they take up sumo wrestling. Not as pandery as it sounds, and kind of sweet, actually. It’s probably the best reworking of the “Full Monty” premise one could hope for.
“Music from the Big House“: Bruce McDonald’s documentary about the music program at Louisiana’s Angola penitentiary — where Rita Chiarelli arrives to sing with the inmates — starts slow but really clicks in its second half. And the music is pretty decent, too.
“Outside the Law“: Rachid Bouchareb’s “Days of Glory” examined the sacrifices of Algerian soldiers in WWII and the contempt in which they were held by France. Now, he reunites three of that film’s stars for a movie about the post-war Algerian resistance, which makes many of the same points in a different genre. For the third one, I hope he tries it as a musical. And the fourth can be in space, as is the tradition.
“Sucker Punch“: Zack Snyder — the director of “300” and “Watchmen” and that owl movie — finally embraces his inner psychotic, delivering a film so pointless, expensive and insane that it’s bound to be embraced as an ironic hipster classic by the time it hits Blu-ray. But really, it’s just crap. My NOW review should be online later today. UPDATE: It’s up.
“The Topp Twins”: If I had a nickel for every pitch that began with “If the Indigo Girls had been born in New Zealand …” But that’s pretty much who Jools and Lynda Topp turned out to be, as Leanne Pooley’s documentary will tell you. It won the People’s Choice Award for documentaries at TIFF; Susan thought it was just okay.
“Tornado Alley”: Hey, not every IMAX documentary can be a timeless classic. Some of them are just plus-sized versions of reality TV. My NOW review will be up later this afternoon.
“West is West”: Eleven years after “East is East”, screenwriter Ayub Khan-Din checks back in on the Khans to see how well they’re doing with the whole assimilation thing. Susan enjoyed it.
“White Irish Drinkers”: Rad is not impressed with John Gray’s Brooklyn family saga in which two adult brothers try to slip out from under their abusive dad. But Stephen Lang told me he was really proud of this when we hung out in New York last summer — okay, we were both at the same Fox event, but it sounds so much better the other way — so I’m hoping it improves with age.
“Win Win“: Tom McCarthy’s latest drama is right in line with “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor” — and that’s a good thing, because those movies are terrific little studies of character and environment, with strong performances and naturalistic settings. So you should see this one, too.
There, that’s all of them. Oh, and then there’s Cinefranco. Because even if it’s not spring by any measurable standard, it’s time for the spring festivals.