Savour the Flavour

I contain multitudes ... of trumpetfrogs!We’ve got a very odd assortment of movies opening this week — the usual studio product, some holdovers from two TIFFs, and an eye-popping anime entry.

Incidentally, if “Paprika” is sold out on Saturday night, try the sneak preview of “Ratatouille”: It’s Brad Bird’s new Pixar movie. You can’t go wrong.

And as far as this week’s stuff:

Il Caimano“: Nanni Moretti’s “Berlusconi satire” is only peripherally about Silvio Berlusconi; mostly, it’s a disappointing comedy about the domestic life of a movie producer (Vincenzo Amato) trying to make a movie about a Berlusconi-like titan. Which would be fine, if it was funny or even amusing, but this just isn’t.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer“: Everybody’s back for another attempt to make a perpetually potentially great movie version out of Marvel Comics’ oddest icons. And once again, due to Tim Story’s unswerving commitment to delivering a profitable product rather than an actual motion picture, they just miss the mark. Also, what the hell did those cosmic rays do to Jessica Alba?

Golden Door“: Emanuele Crialese’s quasi-allegorical tale of Italian emigrants to the magical land of America is only opening in Toronto and Vancouver, but for some reason Metro ran my review in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa as well. Maybe they’re trying to stop it from ever getting there. Which is understandable; this was easily the dullest film I saw at Palm Springs earlier this year … and believe me, I saw lots of dull films at Palm Springs.

Paprika“: Now, this one’s anything but dull. Satoshi Kon’s latest head trip revolves around a stolen dream-invading device and a group of eccentric scientists racing to get it back before all of Tokyo is plunged into a state of waking insanity. Gorgeous, ambitious animation, and a storyline that never stops delivering on its premise. Very definitely a film for adults, though; kids will either be bored all the dialogue, or freaked out by the darker moments.

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman“: Timothy Spall is marvelous as Albert Pierrepoint, who executed more than 300 people in his twenty years as a piecework hangman for the British justice system; the movie built around him is a little less effective, streamlining his career for a cheap emotional climax and referencing key pieces of his story rather than addressing them directly. You might want to wait for the DVD on this one.

If you’re interested in the week’s other releases, “Nancy Drew” and “Sweet Mud”, you can find Chris and Rick’s reviews here.

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