The Kid with No Theatrical Prospects

Sure, “Hugo” hits disc today, riding the momentum of five freshly minted Academy Awards  — all technical categories, sure, but an Oscar’s an Oscar — but I’ve chosen to use this week’s MSN DVD column for a loftier cause, heralding the arrival of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “The Kid with a Bike” … which is, rather disgracefully, going straight to video in Canada, not even six months after its TIFF 2011 playdates.

A Cannes Grand Prix winner from globally acclaimed filmmakers going directly to DVD, not even rating a Blu-ray release? That’s just par for the course on the current distribution landscape, which is something else I address in the column. (The landscape, not the par-for-the-course thing.)

Has your home theatre made staying home preferable to a night at the rep house? Or would you have sought the new Dardennes picture out theatrically if given the chance?

3 thoughts on “The Kid with No Theatrical Prospects”

  1. I saw Kid with a Bike at TIFF. I liked it, but wasn’t over the moon for it.

    A couple of quick comments about your NOW Oscar recap: Your description of Midnight in Paris as “warmed-over nostalgia” kind of makes me feel like you missed the whole point of the movie. In a year where practically the entire worldwide filmmaking community was doubled-over backwards with nostalgic looks at the past, the message of Midnight in Paris was, “Yeah, nostalgia is nice and all, but if you fixate on it you’ll miss all the good things in the here and now.” Of all people, who would have thought that Woody Allen would be more progressive than Martin Scorsese?

    That said, the complaints (from you and elsewhere) about The Artist being too “slight” to deserve a Best Picture Oscar don’t hold a lot of water with me. It just plays into the bias that comedies aren’t as important or deserving of attention as dramas, which is why the last comedy to win Best Picture happened 35 years ago.

    1. My problem with “The Artist” isn’t that it’s a comedy — it’s that the film is so incredibly lightweight, a pastiche assembled out of other, better movies aggressively marketed as a work of such bracing originality that the Academy must, MUST give shower it with awards. I actually like the film quite a bit; I just don’t think it should be anywhere near the Oscars. But Harvey Weinstein will not be thwarted.

      As for “Midnight in Paris”, I understand that Allen _thinks_ he’s commenting on the dangers of romanticizing the past — but the film is just as guilty of that as the characters. The movie can’t pull off the reversal organically; that’s why Owen Wilson has to spell it out for us with that mission statement at the end.

      I take your point about Scorsese, though …

  2. I’m going to compare “The Artist” winning Best Picture, which I was rooting for, it being my favorite movie of last year, to another Weinstein movie winning Best Picture…”Shakespeare in Love,” which was also not popular with quite a few people (the win, not the movie itself). A lot of the upset back then was that it beat out “Saving Private Ryan,” although Spielberg winning Best Director did split the honour between the two, but some of the upset seemed to be about how slight a movie “Shakespeare In Love” was. My take is that both “Shakespeare In Love” and “The Artist” were perfect confections rather than substantial, meaty fare. I wouldn’t change a thing about either movie, loved both of them, appreciate them as “confections,” and don’t penalize them for not being something they’re not. A perfect pastry and a perfect steak are both perfect and sometimes more Academy voters display their “sweet tooth.” The criticisms I’ve read about “The Artist,” in some ways, have reminded me of the criticisms of Jane Austen’s works…that she was a writer who wrote during the Napoleonic wars and if soldiers in uniform didn’t show up at the dances, you’d never know anything momentous was going on in the world at all. For all the social commentary in her novels, she wasn’t writing about “Her Times” but about the foibles and follies of people. I also never looked at “The Artist” as bracingly original, but as an homage. Just my two cents (okay, more like ten cents).

    By the way, hated “The Tree of Life.” I enjoy plenty of “artsy” and “deep-themed” movies. This one just left me cold. (That makes eleven cents.)

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