Posts Tagged ‘Film’

Uma Ovum

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Asked to write “500 words about what motherhood means to me,” Uma Thurman as Eliza, West Village hausfrau and former hipster, spins her stroller wheels. So writer-director Katherine Dieckmann puts that essay on film as Motherhood. This unusually personal movie is also a rare, heterosexual story from Christine Vachon’s Killer Films production company. Even rarer: [&hellip
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Kids’ Stuff

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A freeze-frame of lonely suburban kid Max dressed in wolf pajamas and scampering wildly, boyishly indoors with his puppy announces Spike Jonze’s innovation in Where the Wild Things Are. It’s a snapshot of youth in extremis—the unruly innocence that movies usually hide in saccharine artifice. Jonze, master of lo-fi surrealism, captures youth’s anarchic, destructive undercurrent [&hellip
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New York, I Love You

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Worse than a remake, New York, I Love You is a dreadful imitation of the terrific 2007 film Paris, Je t’aime, where over a dozen directors shot short-stories in Paris. More than a billet doux to the city itself, the shorts also conveyed distinctive aspects of international human experience. Each short was inspired, most of [&hellip
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Stunt Movie Swagger

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This era of stunt performances (putty-nosed Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s mack-truck subtlety in Capote, Charlize Theron’s monstrousness in Monster) has also fashioned the Stunt Movie. The newest example of this show-off’s genre is Bronson by Nicolas Winding Refn, the Danish director who previously perpetrated the overwrought Pusher trilogy. Rather than a [&hellip
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An Education

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Jenny (Carey Mulligan), the English schoolgirl whose piggy face reveals a gluttonous soul in the Anglophile drama An Education, is actually a stand-in for contemporary youth. The film’s 1961 setting is a pretense by which pop novelist Nick Hornby’s screenplay (from Lynn Barber’s memoir) panders to his usual hipster market. Jenny may represent the post-WWII [&hellip
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Screwball Sabotage

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“Lying” in the title of The Invention of Lying refers to mankind’s major systems of belief. Ricky Gervais, the film’s star and co-writer/co-director, doesn’t do philosophical scrutiny or hermeneutic analysis; he merely undermines religion using the glib condescension of Hollywood leftists who assume the only people who still believe in God live in fly-over America. [&hellip
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The Humor in Gloom

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“We’re Jews. We have that well of tradition to draw on,” Larry Gopnik’s cousin consoles him in A Serious Man. Larry (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Minnesota physics teacher, endures a progression of miseries in the Coen Brothers’ ironic new comedy. Disaster affects Larry’s sense of identity as teacher, husband, father, brother, tribesman. A student blackmails him, [&hellip
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Moore of the Same

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“Smart” and “cynical” are not the same but, lately, film culture has confused the two—as proved by Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! and Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story. Both films pretend to critique greed and corporate insensitivity through the filmmakers’ liberal-leaning scrutinies of the American way of life. Soderbergh dramatizes how an Archer Daniels Midland [&hellip
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Irene in Time

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If Henry Jaglom was a trust-funded neophyte, he’d be acclaimed the King of Mumblecore—a genre that, it turns out, he pioneered several decades ago. Jaglom’s latest film (his 17th) is titled Irene In Time, the christened name of a sloop won in a poker game. It’s also the name of a curly-haired young woman (Tanna [&hellip
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35 Shots of Rum

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Claire Denis must be the most exoticizing filmmaker Europe has ever produced. Barely telling conventional stories, her best films—Chocolat, Beau Travail and the new 35 Shots of Rum—are ruminations on the peculiarities of colonialism: How the white West interacts with the Dark cultures it has appropriated. Denis’ unique vision departs from traditional storytelling; she’s interested [&hellip
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