That midsummer thing where distributors start throwing out movies they picked up over the last year of festivals? Well, we’re still in the thick of it, with films from Cannes, Toronto and Sundance popping up everywhere … as well as the usual hard-to-market studio stuff. Shall we get to it?
“The Beaches of Agnes“: In which director Agnes Varda flips through her life and career and modestly decides she’s had a good run. This is a lovely little memoir, and if you don’t go to see it you will be the smaller for it. There, I said it.
“G-Force”: People of the world, I ask you: How can any movie where Tracy Morgan voices a talking guinea pig be bad? How? Well, Rad has a theory.
“The Girl from Monaco”: Anne Fontaine’s latest trifle tracks the love triangle that develops between a lawyer (Fabrice Luchini), a pretty young thing (Louise Bourgoin) and the lawyer’s bodyguard (Roschdy Zem). But as Adam and Susan both observe, Fontaine’s not that great at keeping all her balls in the air.
“Humpday“: Two straight guys decide to have sex with each other in order to affirm the strength of their heterosexual bond. “It’s beyond gay.” It’s also a very funny comedy of manners (and mores) from Seattle director Lynn Shelton. Do check it out.
“Orphan”: Poor Vera Farmiga — first she and Sam Rockwell got stuck with “Joshua”, and now she and Peter Sarsgaard have to deal with a creepy little girl who may or may not be eeeeevil. (My money’s on “may”.) Andrew liked it, with reservations.
“Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae”: It has the misfortune to open against one of the year’s best music movies (see below), but Stascha Bader’s exploration of the evolution of the reggae movement has its own merits, as Jason and Rad explain. Sadly, the film ends before it gets to the Lonely Island’s hotstepping “Ras Trent“.
“Soul Power“: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte brings Don King’s 1974 soul festival back to raucous, thrilling life in this amazing documentary. Throw down for James Brown! Get the shivers for Bill Withers! Um … take the elevata for Miriam Makeba! (Oh, just see the movie.)
“Surveillance“: David Lynch must love his daughter Jennifer very, very much if he’s still willing to let her steal shamelessly from his body of work after “Boxing Helena” … but all the love in the world can’t turn a hack into a visionary. Nice supporting work from French Stewart, though. He opens his eyes and everything!
“The Ugly Truth”: Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler square off in this rom-com that dares to suggest that men and women view relationships from vastly different perspectives. Take a look at Todd McCarthy’s Variety review, which somehow manages to hold Heigl in absolute contempt without ever coming right out and saying it. Now, that’s a brilliant piece of writing.