12:08 East of Bucharest

Not rated yet!
Director
Corneliu Porumboiu
Runtime
1 h 29 min
Release Date
29 September 2006
Genres
Comedy, Drama
Overview
It's the 22nd of December. Sixteen years have passed since the revolution, and in a small town Christmas is about to come. Piscoci, an old retired man is preparing for another Christmas alone. Manescu, the history teacher, tries to keep up with his debts. Jderescu, the owner of a local television post, seems not to be so interested in the upcoming holidays. For him, the time to face history has come. Along with Manescu and Piscoci, he is trying to answer for himself a question which for 16 years has not had an answer: "Was it or wasn't it a revolution in their town?"
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  • Toronto – Day 2 – capsules

    Toronto – Day 2 – capsules

    12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 6)

    This comedy, in the blackly cynical vein of the Soviet-era East European political satires (early Forman, Munk, etc.), doesn’t really get cooking until the three principal characters all have finally gathered at the TV station for the talk show on whether there was a revolution post-Ceaucescu in their small town. The title refers to the moment when Ceaucescu abdicated, and where everybody was when the defining event of present-day Romania occurred (I type this on September 11). And the first 40-50 minutes or so of 12:08 are fairly routine semi-comic miserabilism as everybody goes through their pre-show day, which I found only intermittently funny. But then the show begins, and it’s a total hoot. The visual poverty and monotony of a low-budget small-market TV show causes the eyes to wander and thus alight on the gags as they happen (the best and most perfectly-timed one … I will be vague … involves origami). The show’s host babbles about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and watching him is like watching Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge try to keep face on KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU as the wheels come off around him and his self-importance is ground into the dust; the professor’s account of his revolutionary heroism is stripped bare (curiously, he never abandons it); the old man is the character who survives the glare of TV best, but he’s the one with the fewest pretentions, saying he wanted the $100 Ceaucescu had promised. The film’s moral: “enjoy the snow today; tomorrow it’ll be mud.”

    REQUIEM (Hans-Christian Schmid, Germany, 4)

    My friend J. Robert Parks told me that this movie, which I already knew told the same story as THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, was more like one of Werner Herzog’s “madmen” movies. Certainly “you can’t choose what God has in store for you” is a theme I’d groove on, and it’s certainly got a simple and powerful last shot, making it clear that the film is not about exorcism per se, but a Pilgrim’s Progress of lead character Michaela’s soul toward accepting martyrdom. The problem is that I didn’t find Michaela’s “touchedness” to be remotely interesting. Maybe she should have tried to conquer the Amazon or drag a boat over a mountain, instead of just living the life of an ordinary first-semester college student. She’s also a bit of an ugly duckling, and an epileptic who stops taking her meds. With fairly predictable results. She’s a religious woman, so she takes this be possession, but I don’t think REQUIEM is nearly as ambiguous as Robert does about whether she really is possessed. Its style is naturalistic, which tends to privilege natural explanations, and simply taking it as I did leaves no “gaps,” no “inexplicables.” I’m not asking for the EXORCIST “would you like some pea soup” scene, but couldn’t there be at least one scene that involves something a little supernatural, a little strange? Particularly when the film pointedly shows her pouring her pills down the sink and “times” most of her worst bouts of insanity with perfectly mundane causes for stress like having a college paper deadline.

    CLIMATES (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, 9)

    This movie had me from the pre-credits scene. It takes place among some ancient ruins. There’s a man and a woman (played by the film’s director and his real-life wife, Ebru). They talk a little, but mostly seem bored, with themselves and with each other. The woman appears in a lengthy closeup in which her facial expression changes over about a minute from indifference to sadness to tears. And then a fly buzzes in her hair. CLIMATES has the feel of a Bergman movie — one of the first post-credits scenes is of the central couple and a pair of married friends, and it rivals the dinner-foursome scenes from THE PASSION OF ANNA or SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE for how whole universes of anger in swallowed in a glass of red wine. When an insect hits its cue, you know you’re in a the hands of a genius director. Although sometimes he is just showing off (the cigarette, e.g.), there can be no questioning Ceylan’s formal chops. There isn’t much drama, in the narrative-arc sense, in CLIMATES because these are two people who are what they are. Here, “character is destiny.” They’re made for each other, and not in a good way — each knows the other well enough to know when he’s lying, but also not to push the issue; each is as emotionally careless as the other. They’re apart for the middle half of the movie, but not to any great revelations or changes. Character is destiny. But see this movie in a theater, where you can really appreciate how careful and how deeply subjective is the film’s sound mix, and what an eye Ceylan has for using composition, depth of field and focal length to tell a psychological story, one of two people who, like the couples in LA NOTTE or 5×2, can neither be together or apart happily.

    A GRAVE-KEEPER’S TALE (Chitra Palekar, India, 3)

    Though I really like the Hindi pop cinema of “Bollywood,” I’ve not been a great fan of what I’ve seen of India’s “parallel” or art cinema, and it finally occurred to me why when watching this movie. For one thing, they cover a lot of thematic ground that can’t help but look outdated to this Western firangi. In TALE, DAY OF WRATH becomes a stock feminist morality tale and a screed against “superstitious religion,” by way of THE CRUCIBLE (there’s some Cassandra myth, too). For another, the acting styles tend to be just as artificial, albeit in a different way, as Bollywood’s song-and-dance extravaganzas. In TALE, the gorgeous Nandita Das acts the title role as if she’s on stage — strident, “gesturey” and obvious (if not exactly “loud”). But while “Bollywood” movies are about as unrealistic as it gets, much of the parallel cinema makes a neorealist show of being about important matters. In this declamatory, voicey acting style. Oil. Water. TALE is also not well-structured and kinda illogical, with about half the movie being a flashback to the origin of this “ghoul,” which is a “she’s your mom” tale, told by a character (dad) who has no reason at that moment to tell it (to son).

    VINCE VAUGHN’S WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW (Ari Sandel, USA, 5)

    For the first 15 minutes or so, I thought this was going to be a real dog. For example, there was a scene of Vaughn, Jon Favreau and the whipping boy from DODGEBALL, and they’re improvizing a scene on stage in Hollywood. Only the director keeps cutting away from the scene to interviews and voiceovers of Vaughn and Favreau explaining what was happening (which was perfectly clear, BTW). But the film recovers some as it finds its shape — it’s really more an account of the tour than a film of the four performers’ standup comedy acts, which we never see for more than a minute or so of clips at a time. The comparison to Spike Lee’s ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY — which gave each performer about an uninterrupted 20-25 minutes with some intercalary material between each man’s whole set — is really not favorable. A standup comedian needs to build and get the audience in his hands. Still, I understand Vaughn’s motives for making this film this way. There WAS some drama on the tour — e.g., Katrina and Rita forced some changes in the schedule and one of the biggest laughs comes at a visit to a refugee shelter where the comics visit, along with the painter guy from THE WEDDING CRASHERS. Also, Vaughn’s comics — Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst and Sebastian Mansicalco — are all relative unknowns (one even still has a day job), while Spike had performers who were all superstars, at least among black audiences. So Vaughn introduces us to them in the usual ways — giving bio stories, interviews with the four, meeting the family on tour, and cutting to relevant parts of that man’s routine. In fact, had the film-makers gone the Spike route and filmed a pure concert film, this film would have made a kick-ass “Making Of” supplement on that film’s DVD release. As a movie on its own … not so good.

    THE HOST (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 8 )

    Just about as much exhilirating pure fun as you can have with a monster movie, with THE HOST showing that it’s still possible to make a monster movie like they did in the 50s and 60s, the film the JURASSIC PARK series should have been. It’s funny without being intentionally campy. While being scary and gripping, with a well-designed monster. And being visually inventive and knowing exactly how to frame a shot for maximum shock (or laugh) value. The lengthy scene of the monster’s first attack on the beach is hereby given a “For Your Consideration” plug for year-end award polls (hint, hint). There’s also a quarrelsome family that makes the film, kinda like SHAUN OF THE DEAD only not quite as tongue-in-cheek, largely a comedy for long stretches … my favorite such scene being the exchange in the car, where someone notices he’s not mentioned in news reports. My only real complaint is that THE HOST gets kinda flabby in the third act, largely forgetting the comedy and becoming semi-serious. And it’s not clear from the coda who has (else may have) survived. But generally, this is Midnight Movie catnip.

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    Toronto -- Day 2 GradesIn "TIFF 2006"

    Toronto capsules -- day 10With 2 comments

    TIFF Capsules -- Day 5In "Cristian Mungiu"

    September 11, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

    1 Comment »

    1. […] WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW was released Friday and I’ve added a link at the right to my review from then. I didn’t really recommend it back then, but I must acknowledge that the memory of it plays […]

      Pingback by Enough about Romania « Rightwing Film Geek | February 9, 2008 | Reply


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  • TIFF 10 capsules — Day 10
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFF 10 capsules — Day 10


    OUTBOUND (Bogdan George Apetri, Romania, 9)

    OK … I’m tired of being embarrassed by my apparent-fanboy record on new Romanian movies. I’ve seen 13 features; 12 unified films and 1 planned omnibus collection of shorts; average grade 7.74, with none lower than a still-recommended “6” (one of the two of which I’m really unsatisfied by). I’ll just embrace it, by saying right now and staking whatever critical reputation I have on it. Romania is the late-00s is Italy in the late-40s or France in the late-50s — the country with the most exciting, groundbreaking and aesthetically satisfying cinema in the world, with identifiable traits in common by a variety of directors, that truly deserves to be called a “wave.” The 17 films or shorts are credited to 14 directors, but everyone seems to have their fingers in everyone else’s pie.¹

    It’s the simplest of formulas — film artists in Romania simply don’t know classicism and realism have been done to death, like we in the rich countries that have great cinematic traditions already behind us know they have been. But by not knowing that and going ahead with stories about real people without special effects, usually following classical story structures and sometimes even the Aristotelian unities, the Romanians prove every time that classicism and realism not only will always be vibrant but are the answers to aesthetic decadence. If I’m gonna compare the current Romanians to the Italian neorealists², then I’ll add that the Belgian team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne play the same inspiring-fountainhead role that Jean Renoir did back then. The Romanians prefer the same naturalistic look, the same accretion of lived-in detail, the same lengthy takes and restless camera, the same natural sound mix with little or no score, and the same interest in working-class protagonists and stories in contemporary settings — all Dardennes hallmarks.

    Of all the recent Romanian films, OUTBOUND is the one that wears the Dardennes influence nearest to the surface. In fact, though Dardennes comparisons are high compliments, the only significant criticism I would make of OUTBOUND is that Ana Ularu, in the lead role of a Matilda, a woman on a 24-hour furlough from jail, reminded me a bit much physically of Arta Dobroshi in LORNA’S SILENCE and had a determined-ferile quality that put me in mind of Emilie Dequenne in ROSETTA. Ularu gives a brilliant performance, mind you. Dobroshi and Dequenne are fast company — it just seemed a bit familiar. What specifically reminded me of the Belgian masters in OUTBOUND in a good way is the story structure, and the way that, even though OUTBOUND is segmented into three parts, each named for a different male character who plays a significant role, almost all the exposition was indirect or occurs en passant. It only comes out after several minutes, for example, the precise relationship between Matilda and Andrei in the first section. But then, why should they say the first minute they’re together “hello, sister” or the like for our benefit; they know their relationship. It also comes out slowly who “Paul” is, and the precise nature of their pre-prison relationship. It’s never not-thrilling to be in the hands of such story-telling confidence and respect for your ability to think, to remember and to connect, without shoving stuff in your face or reverting to willful obscurantism.

    While at the same time, the film is absolutely confident in its rootedness, in knowing its environment, Bucharest as the Dardennes’ Liege/Seraing. We see somebody burning leaves in the background, we see a motorcyclist slow down to observe a scene, and we just expect these to have significance based on Chekhov’s gun maxim. But they don’t, it’s just an accretion of environmental detail. I keep using the word “lived-in” to describe these Romanian films, but there’s no better term. We know that Matilda and Andrei are somehow closely related; we just feel right away that the first shot is a prison, though there’s no metal bars or black stripes or uniformed guards or obvious signifiers. There’s also the utter realism of the psychology in OUTBOUND. While Andrei³ tolerates Matilda, his wife doesn’t, and as a result he gets pulled between the two in a way that’s perfectly convincing in terms of the anger, the keeping up appearances, the manner of speech, the back-and-forth. When Matilda, in part 2, speaks to a prostitute (Skandie Scene Plug if this film ever gets seen), we can believe she wants to impart her hard-won wisdom and warn her against certain things we’ve just been unlucky enough to see about the pimp (there’s no man around, so it’s “girl talk” time). But we also, tragically, realize that there is no reason the prostitute should pay attention to her, and that Romanian contempt and prickliness produces a great exchange without anyone leaving a seat as it goes through the car wash — an image of external cleansing that leaves the inside exactly as it found it. Later, we see Matilda with another person who enables her to fill that kind of elder role, and Ularu successfully creates almost a different woman for that context that is somehow recognizably the same one we’ve been watching for the first hour.

    The overall story concerns Matilda’s attempt to raise 1,500 euros in half-a-day to facilitate escape from not just jail but from Romania. But again, realism is everywhere — despite the obvious comparison to RUN LOLA RUN, Matilda doesn’t have elaborate scams or unrealistic capers in mind to raise the money, just two or three vague ideas, where she pushes until other things present themselves. Only because this is Romania, there will always be dark undercurrents in this urgent, life-defining, one-day quest, with the darkest current being other people. I once said the following about 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS:

    life in actually-existing-socialist Romania is portrayed as nothing but lies, where lying about things large and small, hiding things, maintaining appearances, getting around others is ubiquitous. Everybody does it. And everybody knows everybody else does it, making social life one long cynical day of pragmatic getting-by.

    Life in actually-existing-capitalist Romania is more prosperous but hasn’t otherwise changed too much, according to OUTBOUND. Indeed, and I will try to speak vaguely, the third act returns the movie to prison and shows how little distance separates an apple and a tree. Gawd … I love this country.


    NEDS (Peter Mullan, Britain, 6)

    When I posted my schedule for the festival, welshbud Dan Owen predicted that NEDS, about a boy growing up in 1970s Glasgow, “will be a fictionalised version of your youth… I expect a character called v-mort at the very least.” Well … the central character is named “John” (my middle name); he is a round-faced fair-skinned dirty blond (the boy who plays him around 10 is practically a dead ringer for me at that age; not so much Conor McCarron as the teenager, who gets most of the screen time); John starts out as a swot who takes it as a great personal offense when he’s only in second-top track; John has no difficulty expressing contempt for or showing up teachers when he feels like it or taking the strap as the cost therein; John is an altar boy at school Masses, though not at the parish; two characters (though not John; in fact, he attacks them) are dressed in the uniform of the Jesuit prep school I went to once I was old enough to take and pass the entrance exam (St. Aloysius, the best Catholic boys’ school in Scotland); there is even an early scene where an emigrant relative visits from America and tells John he should become a journalist over there; oh … and I prepared for this film in appropriate Glaswegian fashion by getting pished (actually, just one beer … but it’s the principle of the thing).

    I don’t know why I’ve written all that, since this film cannot be the Proustian madeleines experience for others that it was for me. And it doesn’t seem like something particularly brag-worthy since John grows up to be a juvenile delinquent (though as alternate history, who knows). Still, I do think NEDS (NED = Non-Educated Delinquent) has some objective virtues for other folks. As one-note kitchen-sink miserabilist downward spirals go, I think NEDS is absolutely first-rate, with some major reservations. Primarily, Mullan gets a series of great naturalistic performances from amateur actors, particularly McCarron in the key role. Though the defining event seems too small a ha’penny to turn a life on — being snubbed by the family when he visits a toff friend — McCarron knows how to exist on camera, as a working-class boy who grows into the role of hard-man without ever really planning to. In the film’s best scene, McCarron makes it clear, without actually tipping his hand onscreen, that he is just dicking around with the teacher and he knows perfectly well what the Latin word for “garden” is. The supporting roles are well-cast and naturalistically played, almost certainly by other non-pros. Indeed, at its best, NEDS reminds one of Ken Loach at his best.

    However, incredibly considering that Mullan gave one of era’s great naturalistic performances as a Glasgow drunk in Loach’s MY NAME IS JOE, Mullan is here his own worst actor, as John’s father. Or rather, he has no character to play, so he glowers menacingly and ineffectually (to us). Mullan also breaks the kitchen sink direction on two or three occasions and heads for far-flung expressionist flourishes, to spectacularly variable results, for example scoring a gang fight to “Cheek to Cheek” (not bad, gets across the fun element in a mass fight). He also has a high-on-glue John hallucinate Jesus coming down from the Cross, embrace John but then start kicking his ass until John shivs Him. The latter is a fine idea, to which I don’t object in principle as a hallucination / metaphor for spiritual struggle. But scoring the scene to the New Seekers’ “You’ll Never Find Another Fool Like Me” is not.


    NEVER LET ME GO (Mark Romanek, Britain, 7)

    On paper, I should think this film is great — a not-really-‘fiction’ science-fiction film about a society that euphemistically breeds stem cells clones for body parts, about the social construction of the self even unto death, about the complicity of “reform” and “regulation” in barbarity, about the terrible calmness and normality of legal human sacrifice and about Keira Knightley ballooning up to a blimpish 105 pounds.

    And I do think NEVER LET ME GO (the second festival film to take its title from a song referenced in the movie; the other being NORWEGIAN WOOD) *is* very good. It does deliver on the premises thematically and is well-executed in all the various ways. Knightley, Alex Garfield and Carey Mulligan give finely stifled performances in the principal roles of three embryos (“donors,” in the film and the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, which I haven’t read) allowed to reach the age when their parts are harvestable, managing the tricky task of tugging against their role without ever seeming to do so overtly (that would destroy the story’s integrity). Mark Romanek’s direction is crisp and understated, letting the revelations drift out at a leisurely pace. This is not a suspense film at all, as the trailer may have led you (well, it led me) to expect. Rather it’s a film about resignation, about fate and role not even being something you “accept” but your identity and reality per se (Ed Gonzalez at Slant demands the kids’ behavior be shown as “warped” — the whole point is that they’re not and that it’s appallingly normal). I thought several times about the PD James novel “Children of Men” (very much NOT the Alfonso Cuaron filmic travesty) — never in the history of euthanasia has death been sweeter.

    And yet … something was missing. While I have my doubts about whether one can truly love a work of art on human cannibalism whose drama is a stem-cell love triangle, I also think it might just be the nature of the movie medium. Film makes things literal. (Ironically though, the reason we accept the barbarity of embryonic cannibalism and aborted-tissue lampshades is that they happen to unseen persons in an unseen way.) But when characters, words on a page, are embodied in visible persons (“normals” like Knightley, Mulligan, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins), we want them to act more like persons. By, for example, not showing up for the three or four apparently-uncoerced “donations” (organ harvests) that will bring about their “completion” (death). Voluntarily showing up for a fatal operation without external force is the kind of premise that might work on the page and a premise you can intellectualize. But in a naturalistic film, it’s just too much: “have these people really had no outside contact with the world?” you think. In other words, NEVER LET ME GO is a Tradition of Quality version of DOGTOOTH, and maybe that’s the comparison. Though the Greek movie had an equally unbelievable premise, Lanthimos’ direction was so stylized and the performances so much at right-angles to reality that nobody could have thought they were looking at a facsimile of the real world.


    127 HOURS (Danny Boyle, Britain, 7)

    Now here is another unbelievable story — except that we know going in it really DID happen. Aron Ralston really go out rock-climbing one day, (um … I guess … SPOILER) slip down a crevice and have a falling rock trap his arm in a wedge, leaving him no choice but (um … I guess … SPOILER again) to cut off his right forearm. It’s a can’t-miss premise that had the potential to be great but, like NEVER LET ME GO, doesn’t do either. In 127 HOURS case, it’s a matter of the wrong director getting attached to the project. Danny Boyle is not a subtle film-maker and is one not given to understatement (and by putting it that way, I am showing that I *am* given to understatement). Boyle’s hyper-caffeinated, balls-out style — no angle is too eccentric, no track too elaborate, no color too fluorescent for him — works brilliantly in the hurly-burly-druggy world of TRAINSPOTTING or the kids-fantasy world of MILLIONS. But here in 127 HOURS, it feels inorganic, working against the material. As a result, what Boyle has made is more of a character study about a guy who happens to have been trapped and less a drama about being trapped itself. The fact Boyle has made as good a film as he has is largely due to James Franco in the central role. He’s arrogantly carefreet enough as Xtreme Dude at the start and pulls off the self-doubt, self-examination, self-ahem-mutilation later on, as his fate gets progressively more dire.

    In some ways, this film made me appreciate BURIED even more — both films are about men trapped into immobility, and both face the challenge of how to make that cinematically and dramatically alive. Cortes wrestles head-on with that one-set, one-character restriction but bakes the necessary “cheating” into his plot (the left-behind BlackBerry and all the people he tries to contact) so that it’s not really cheating. Boyle doesn’t embrace the one-set challenge at all, instead waiting about 20 minutes to trap Ralston. During which time, we get a series of ironies in the set-up story, painting Ralston as an Xtreme-sports enthusiast who, like Icarus, flies too close to the sun he wants to touch. To that end, we see him leave his apartment (and forget his Swiss Army knife … ooops), exit just as his parents call (I’ll let the machine get it, I don’t want anyone to know where I’m going … ooops), see a couple of girls and show them the ropes and have a successful impromptu date (and score an invite to a party tomorrow … ooops), etc.

    Once Ralston is trapped, Boyle goes hog wild with the full cinematic fireworks and runs through the full panoply of story-telling tricks — flashbacks, fantasies, dreams — to keep the screen busy, busy, busy. He comes up with every angle — inside a water bottle, say — and excuse to hallucinate. Some of them pay off handsomely — the scene of Ralston imagining himself as a guest on a talk-show, with himself as the hectoring host is aces as psychology, and the miles-long super-speed track to a bottle of Gatorade in his trunk is mordantly funny. On the other hand, I love AR Rahman’s music, but there’s too damn much of it, it’s not the right kind, and it’s mixed overloud. I also do not care either for the “blend back into the world at start/emd” shot (see also LOVE ACTUALLY) as though this story was representative of anything. Nor is a real-life person getting a cameo at the end of his story or biopic anything but an insult to the actor (see also, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT).
    ——————————————
    ¹ OUTBOUND is Apetri’s first feature, but the story is by Christian Mungiu of 4 MONTHS fame and the screenplay co-written by Apetri and Tudor Voican who wrote MEDAL OF HONOR and CALIFORNIA DREAMIN. Apetri also has cinematographer Marius Pandaru, who lensed both of Poromboiu’s features, 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST and POLICE, ADJECTIVE, and THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.
    ² The Romanians also exciting the same “why make depressing movies that make us look bad”-type criticism from some folks at home as the Italians did.)

    ³ Played by Andy Vasluianu, who also was the protagonist in THE OTHER IRENE and one of the film crew in THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD

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    October 1, 2010 - Posted by | Bogdan George Apetri, Danny Boyle, Mark Romanek, Peter Mullan, TIFF 2010

    1 Comment »

    1. Why are u not reviewing the Wavelengths, man? Are they some sort of second class citizen to you, man? Unfair. Either way. Show some love. And mercy, dude.

      Give a rating.

      Show you care.

      -cs

      Comment by kristobol schults | October 1, 2010 | Reply


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  • Toronto — Day 2 Grades
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Toronto — Day 2 Grades

    12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania) — 6
    Requiem (Hand-Christian Schmid, Germany) — 4
    Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey) — 9
    A Grave-Keeper’s Tale (Chitra Palekar, India) — 3
    Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (Ari Sandel, USA) — 5
    The Host (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea) — 8

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    Toronto - Day 7 - capsulesIn "Barbara Kopple (w & w/o Cecilia Peck)"

    Toronto -- Day 1 capsulesIn "Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck"

    Toronto - Day 2 - capsulesIn "Ari Sandel"

    September 9, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

    No comments yet.

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  • Filmfest DC — day 4 capsules
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Filmfest DC — day 4 capsules

    NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (Bahman Ghobadi, Iran) — 4

    This material about the underground pop-music scene in Tehran, though certainly better than MY TEHRAN FOR SALE, probably would have worked better as a reality-TV show (which it kinda is anyway; most of the actors are musicians playing probably some version of themselves). If this were THE REAL WORLD: TEHRAN. it would then become possible to overlook this film inadequacies as a drama, most basically that nobody in the film, with one delirious exception, can act worth excrement, particularly the central couple Negar and Ashkan. I mean the reality TV comparison literally — the “acting” is of the style you’d expect on a reality-TV show (which is to say, when viewed as drama, awful). The plot is thin and mostly winds up just a picaresque excuse to move from band to band and play what ultimately become like videos of their song (ditto the “we accept such conventions in reality TV” caveat). CATS also lacks in some of the most-basic elements of film craftsmanship — I was particularly aggravated at a early scene, in an apartment being used for disc-bootlegging, that never managed to be in proper focus, and not because shooting was hurried or threatened or Ghobadi was deliberately moving objects into or out of focus for expressive purposes.

    There are two things worth seeing in this film, which make it almost worth a recommendation — one is the de-facto music videos. Not because the music is especially great but because it’s at least OK (and some of it good) and such a novelty to hear at all that you can hardly really mind. And if that judgment commit the crimes of patronizing Orientalism and tourist exoticism, then let me be guilty. I mean … who knew there were Persian rappers and heavy-metal bands? The singer for the hard-rock group (I didn’t catch its name) explicitly says his act has nothing to do with politics or religion, but their song (heavy on “King of Pain” type repetitive imagery about who’s awake all night) is as apolitical as the women’s tales in SCHEHEREZADE, TELL ME A STORY. And did you imagine you could ever hear rappers, however amusing it might be (is) to see them strut about representin’ like Public Enemy or House of Pain, complain about how, in their society, money is first and God is second?

    The other thing worth seeing is the crazy, manic performance — the only one in the film that belong in any kind of dramatic movie — of Hamed Behdad as Nader, who dubs film and music disks, listens to Negar and Ashkan’s record and promises to make it a hit and get them abroad. He is only prominent in two or three scenes, but he is a clownish comic delight as the hyper-helpful, motor-mouthed, big-talking little guy who’ll make things happen. And then in one scene — let’s just say it involves a trial — we see the same persona in another context and the laughter sticks in the craw.

    THE OTHER IRENE (Andrei Gruzsniczki, Romania) — 7

    I’m at the point now where I want to see a bad Romanian movie, just to convince myself that my grades for the eight or so Romanian films I’ve seen in the past few years — every one at least a 6, most better, and one a “best of decade” favorite — aren’t simply a fanboy’s reflex. But across a wide variety of subject matters, they all have the same combination of urgent realism and existential gloom and an utter lack of snark or Generation-Whatevuh — a mix I’m just a sucker for. In the case of THE OTHER IRENE, it’s hard to say exactly what it’s about and how it’s about it without spoilers, so I’ll discuss more after the jump. For the front page, let me say that it makes a nod to virtually every recent Romanian festival hit and most resembles POLICE, ADJECTIVE (Dragos Bucur even has a small role, as does Vlad Ivanov), though it’s less stylistically radical — another structural exercise in a character trying to spin a narrative for the sake of his sanity and (in this case) his memories, only to be … well, what happens here (WARNING: link to a recent French classic that obviously is a giveaway too).

    THE OTHER IRENE centers on mall-security guard Aurel (apparently a more-respected post in Romania than Seth Rogen in OBSERVE & REPORT, though it’s still a working-class job) whose wife Irina dies while on a visit to Egypt while working at a lucrative overseas temporary job. Aurel is told it was a suicide, but he notices discrepancies and refuses to believe The Official Story saying his wife was happy and would never do that.

    Festival blurbs around the world have called THE OTHER IRENE a thriller and compared it to THE VANISHING rather than UNDER THE SAND — both of which strike me as utterly wrong-headed. Yes, this movie has the plot-points and skeleton of a thriller — Aurel as hero uncovering the truth about his wife’s death. Yes, he runs into obstinate officialdom, both in the Egyptian Embassy and the Romanian Foreign Office. Yes, there’s unexplained details and discrepancies. But the last thing in the world you could say about THE OTHER IRENE is that it’s thrilling. While it’s not quite as “boring” as POLICE, ADJECTIVE (an undermining of the “policier” thriller), this film is an exercise in narrative and finally existential denial and an undermining of the “innocent man investigates” thriller that it seems to take the form of.

    And the film is definitely goosing us, and showing how Aurel gooses himself. For example, the casting of Vlad Ivanov (THE symbol of corrupt officialdom) in the Romanian Foreign Office and his saying “we will get the autopsy documents and police reports, but be patient, the Arabs work on a different time scale than us” makes us expect something nefarious. But the documents do show up. Aurel then notices that they’re all in Arabic and so takes them to an official translator. She is as petty and truculent as every Romanian government bureaucrat, but the Romanian translations get done — and boy does Aurel not like what they say. He notices that his wife’s luggage was missing several key items, including a diary — aha!, I smell a crime afoot. But the items were removed from Irina’s room as material evidence (and so not packed as luggage) to be returned to Romania when the inquest was over. And they were. But but but … the coffin is sealed, that must not be Irina in there. It’s unsealed — and it’s NOT HER!!! (at least Aurel thinks so; his wife’s family disagrees). By the time we get to the end, it’s become clear (though some of the details, in particular the developed photos of her Egyptian sojourn, are of the “if you blink you miss it” category) that Irina was lying about a job but was conducting an affair in Egypt, was pregnant by her Egyptian lover, planned to divorce Aurel, and died as a party girl from one night’s drug-alcohol combination. And at the end, he’s alone with his drinking buddies, crushed, as the camera pulls back to the same God’s-eye view it began with.

    And in the end, would it matter if Aurel’s face-saving hypotheses turned out to be true? His wife, whom he obviously loved after his fashion however much she may not have, is dead one way or another. And now he doesn’t even have his illusions and he’s alienated his in-laws.¹ But the sparkling mall is still there. In THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, the titular character spends an allegorical night spinning around Bucharest hospitals and only in the film’s last hour does he get somebody who cares enough and is dogged enough and is connected enough to do the right thing by him. But he still is a dying old man, as the title suggests. “Enjoy the snow today; tomorrow it’ll be mud” is the explicitly stated moral of 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST (a film I’m becoming more and more convinced I underrated at the time). Even the temporary victories are sullied or evaporate in the face of larger things, including human frailties, the ultimate of which is this too, too solid flesh.
    ———————————–
    ¹ That’s really the point of an unjustly denounced David Brooks column about success and marriage, willfully misread by ignorami, feminist and otherwise.

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    FilmfestDC -- day 4 grades

    I blame SonnyIn "Ben Shapiro"

    Here's patIn "Alex Kendrick"

    April 22, 2010 - Posted by | Andrei Gruzsniczki, Bahman Ghobadi, DC 2010

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    (Review Source)
  • It’s Toronto Time
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    It’s Toronto Time

    I make my annual pilgrimage to the Toronto Film Festival starting tomorrow, and one person at work already has asked me specifically whether I’ll be seeing the Bush assassination movie.

    I had DOAP on my initial, broken-down-by-days short-list, and I have the scheduling notes to prove it. There are some plot resemblances to THE DAY OF THE JACKAL, so using an assassination (attempt) on a current named political figure as a fictional premise doesn’t per se trouble me (but more on that anon). And the style/premise — a muck-raking “documentary” set in the future tells the real story of what happened in the Bush Assassination — resembles the great ZELIG, which I think is one of Woody Allen’s two or three best films. In a different world, this is a movie I would, in principle, be interested in.

    Unless Noah Cowan’s description is completely bollixed (which would not be unprecedented … in fact in some cases, I’m downright hoping for it), I can’t imagine wanting to see this film at this festival. Most unconvincing line in Cowan’s description — “The film is never a personal attack on Bush; Range simply seeks to explore the potential consequences that might follow from the President’s policies and actions.” Reminds me of George Will’s description of how a negative-campaigning candidate defends his ads: “I am not being negative, I am merely alerting the public to my loathesome opponent’s squalid voting record.”

    I won’t relate the specific examples until Bilge puts up my Worst Moviegoing Experiences on the Nerve Screengrab blog, but I have had enough “lone Celtic supporter at the Rangers end” moments to know how art-house and film-festival audiences will consume DOAP which will inevitably color my reaction. At Toronto, “Fidelista” is a term of praise (just read this and weep) and Bush Derangement Syndrome and Christophobia are normal. First example to pop into my head from this year, go to the listing for AMAZING GRACE and ask yourself how you would know, other than a vague and unspecified reference to “man of the cloth,” whether religion might be involved and (more specifically) how, and what the title might refer to (you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a reference to how hot the chick in the picture is).

    In this time, at that context, DOAP will be consumed as a masturbatory fantasy and I wouldn’t put a round of applause or cheering. Maybe someday, alone, after the film has died its death and nobody remembers how Karl Rove tried to turn Valerie Plame over to Osama bin Laden in exchange for campaign contributions to pay off Katharine Harris (that IS what he did, right?), I’ll see DOAP Not now.

    I dunno why this film hasn’t gotten as much flak. But if DOAP is inherently and a priori distasteful, it’s hard to see why a film called HOW I PLANNED TO KILL TONY BLAIR wouldn’t be. Still, while I’m pretty much past the point of interest in anything the artist/bohemian class thinks it has to say about politics, I will be going to see at least one political doc. THE DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING has the potential to be a HARLAN COUNTY USA (director Barbara Kopple, plus my unfamiliarity with the Chicks’s music, is why I’m interested) or the few minutes of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 that I managed to endure when I finally broke down a few months ago and it was playing on a free channel (Sundance). When I know the personages involved, I try to pay as little attention to the descriptions in the Festival Guidebook, so I’ll approach DIXIE CHICKS with the guarded optimism that is obligatory.

    As for my schedule, this year was one of the worst for not getting my first choices — I must have drawn a bad box. For the couple of days, i.e., opening weekend, I mostly got second-choice films (though mostly pretty good ones) and overall missed more than a half-dozen of my first choices.

    I didn’t get the single to-the-general-public morning screenings of Gala presentations and likely fall awards-bait VOLVER by Almodovar and Inarritu’s BABEL, the former of which I’m more bummed about and will consider going into the rush line to see if I can get a ticket. After all, Almodovar has reportedly managed to get a tolerable performance from Penelope Cruz, acting in Spanish again and who, like Sophia Loren (a previous generation’s favorite Latin sexpot), is much better in her native language.

    Some of the other not-gotten 1st choices, all of which I’m considering rushing:
    ● There is much anger in me when I not getting much ticket to important Kazakhstani cinema. Will start and joining with campaign against racist film making many funs of great country Kazakhstan.
    ● I should have known that the title THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO CINEMA would just be too attractive to too many, even (especially) to those with no knowledge of Slavoj Zizek (apparently playing a Michael Palin-like guide). I hope they choke on the Lacanisms.
    ● Why the heck would a Kore-eda film (HANA) be a big buzz item? I thought NOBODY KNOWS was a masterpiece, but it was not a crowd-please at all. And while it did win a general release, it flopped.
    No Maddin 06. Like with the Kore-eda I hope it’s because a great filmmaker is finally winning an audience, but man, this would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience — seeing a silent film with an orchestra, which includes a sound-effects team, a singer and a narrator. The kind of screening a festival is made for.

    But I can’t complain too hard. Here is my schedule of the films I got ticket for, and it’s a good mix of foreign and English, my favorite auteurs and buzz titles, austere and popcorn, and a few blind stabs in the dark — exactly what a festival is about:

    7 Sept
    02:00pm The Magic Flute (Kenneth Branagh, Britain)
    09:00pm The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Germany)

    8 Sept
    09:00am 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)

    Dunno why I got both my 1st and 2nd choices for this time … will sort out later

    09:30am The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, Canada)
    11:45am Requiem (Hand-Christian Schmid, Germany)
    03:00pm Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey)
    06:15pm A Grave-Keeper’s Tale (Chitra Palekar, India)
    09:00pm Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show (Ari Sandel, USA)
    midnight The Host (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea)

    9 Sept
    09:15am La Tourneuse de Pages (Denis Dercourt, France)
    noon The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, Britain)
    03:00pm The Fall (Tarsem, Britain/India)
    06:30pm Half Moon (Bahman Ghobadi, Iran)
    09:15pm Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)

    10 Sept
    03:15pm Born and Bred (Pablo Trapero, Argentina)
    06:30pm Offside (Jafar Panahi, Iran)
    08:45pm Cashback (Sean Ellis, Britain)

    11 Sept
    09:30am All The King’s Men (Steve Zaillian, USA)
    noon For Your Consideration (Christopher Guest, USA)
    03:30pm 10 Items or Less (Brad Silberling, USA)
    06:00pm Fay Grim (Hal Hartley, USA)
    09:00pm I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan)

    12 Sept
    09:00am Takva – A Man’s Fear of God (Ozer Kiziltan, Turkey)
    11:45am The Pleasure of Your Company (Michael Ian Black, USA)
    03:00pm Coeurs (Alain Resnais, France)
    05:30pm Outsourced (John Jeffcoat, USA)
    midnight Trapped Ashes (Joe Dante, Ken Russell, Sean Cunningham, Monte Hellman, John Gaeta, USA)

    13 Sept
    09:30am Dixie Chicks – Shut Up and Sing (Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck, USA)
    noon Mon Meilleur Ami (Patrice Leconte, France)
    02:30pm Little Children (Todd Field, USA)
    04:45pm Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul aka “Joe,” Thailand)
    09:00pm Grbavica (Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia)

    14 Sept
    noon Breaking and Entering (Anthony Minghella, Britain)
    03:00pm The Fountain (Darren Aronovsky, USA)
    06:00pm King and the Clown (Lee Jun-ik, South Korea)
    09:30pm Red Road (Andrea Arnold, Britain)
    midnight Severance (Christopher Smith, Britain)

    15 Sept
    09:45am A Few Days Later (Niki Karimi, Iran)
    12:45pm The Island (Pavel Lounguine, Russia)
    03:00pm Seraphim Falls (David von Ancken, USA)
    09:00pm Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira, France)

    16 Sept
    08:45am The Dog Problem (Scott Caan, USA)
    noon The Banquet (Feng Xiaogang, China)
    04:45pm Rescue Dawn (Werner Herzog, USA)
    09:00pm Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismaki, Finland)

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    September 4, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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    (Review Source)
  • Cannes winner controversy?
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Cannes winner controversy?

    Hopefully, there won’t be a big stink in conservative circles over the fact that 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS — a movie about a quest for an illegal abortion in Ceaucescu-era Romania — won the top prize at the world’s most prestigious and important film festival.

    I fear the worst though, if there’s much knee-jerking or the word about this film gets out the wrong way. Especially given the headlines from the US press — CNN: “Cannes’ top prize goes to film about abortion” (complete with a picture of Jane Fonda granting the top prize and kissing the director; how many buttons could they push if trying); ABC/Associated Press: “Romanian Abortion Film Wins Cannes Prize”; Drudge (from Agence France-Presse): “Top Cannes award for harrowing Romanian abortion film.”

    The film has been noted in the Catholic blogosphere — at American Papist, Catholic Fire and Creative Minority Report — and the common ground is sight-unseen suspicion without very good or even much-stated reasons, even of the kind that are justified sight-unseen. I certainly understand the suspicion to a degree, but VERA DRAKE a “rather mediocre” movie? I didn’t think so. Peter Chattaway didn’t. Jeffrey Overstreet didn’t. I asked Mike D’Angelo, who saw 4 MONTHS at Cannes, how he’d guess I’d react to the “abortion film.” Though Mike is, in his words, “a fairly devout atheist,” he knows my tastes and dispositions (including my religious beliefs) fairly well. This was his answer, cited with permission:

    I can’t say, but if you don’t like it I doubt it’ll be for political/moral reasons. It’s an “abortion film” the way SAFE is an “environmental illness” film.

    So I remain very optimistic that 4 MONTHS will be a good film in itself though, and it’s not simply because I had VERA DRAKE in my Top 5. I really liked THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, the last “harrowing” Romanian movie to come garlanded with Cannes prizes, and also dug 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST when I saw it last year.

    There is neutral-to-favorable comment at Lifesite; (some AFP versions of the story even labeled the Cannes prize-winners as “death-obsessed”); nobody from Cannes that I’m aware of was calling 4 MONTHS a great blow for women’s freedom or against the fascist godbag patriarchy or any of the rest of that. And the comments from the director Cristian Mungiu in this Australian ABC article are somewhat encouraging, given the audience and the fact that he was speaking in a language not his own:

    Because of the pressure of the regime, women and families were so much concerned about not being caught for making an illegal abortion that they didn’t give one minute of thought about the moral issue … [putting the baby onscreen] makes a point — people should be aware of the consequences of their decisions.

    OK, not Father Pavone, but certainly no reason to be suspicious of his movie, which is for most, still sight-unseen. Given the reports the Cannes lineup was unusually strong this year, I am psyched.

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    May 28, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

    1 Comment »

    1. […] Mungiu, Romania, 9 Mike generally has a generally good sense of my tastes, so I’m curious why he was unsure whether I would like this film, given that he (accurately) predicted that moral/religious reasons […]

      Pingback by TIFF Capsules — Day 5 « Rightwing Film Geek | October 25, 2007 | Reply


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    (Review Source)
  • More self-absorption
    (”12:08 East of Bucharest” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    More self-absorption

    Since I’m holding off revealing my Skandie ballot, I’ll reveal what I almost voted for but didn’t. My method is to put go through the list of all the films I’ve seen and write down everything that strikes me as memorable or a possibility. And then shuck back to 10. These are the leaves that got shucked. These were what did NOT make my ballot. And yes … I only could think of 12 lead female and 13 supporting female performances.¹

    Lead male
    Song Kang-ho, The Host
    Is that the funny Helper Guy from SECRET SUNSHINE?

    Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl
    Is that the Jewish Nazi from THE BELIEVER?

    Russell Crowe, American Gangster
    Went with him over Denzel cause his character had a bit more of an arc

    Brad Pitt, Jesse James
    He breathes his own legendness

    James McAvoy, Atonement
    Didn’t think he had it in him; actually least convincing when trying for Big Emotions

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
    Doesn’t know how to give a bad performance as a Gen-X everyman

    Chris Cooper, Breach
    Doesn’t overdo the religiosity, despite its obvious centrality in his character’s life. I actually met a couple of Robert Hanssen’s children (unknowingly) at a friend’s party

    Tony Leung, Lust, Caution
    Might have placed if he had run full-speed and dived into cars more often

    Slavoj Zizek, the Pervert’s Guide to Cinema
    Technically a documentary, but his onscreen “performance” is as central to his film as Algore’s was

    Woody Harrelson, the Walker
    Perfect casting helps, as you always get the sense that he’s still the dumb bartender

    Lee Kang-sheng, the Wayward Cloud
    More of a deadpan presence than a “performance,” at least in the dramatic scenes, but that’s what the role calls for

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the Savages
    Ditto above. And this project looked so DEADLY BAD on paper (or trailer, actually)

    Sebastian Koch, Lives of Others
    Turns 180 degrees without an exact “Eureka!” moment

    John C. Reilly, Walk Hard
    Deserved a better script than he got, but has ironic sincerity chops to spare

    Lead female
    Rose McGowan, Grindhouse
    Her legs alone made PLANET TERROR

    Nina Kervel-bey, Blame It on Fidel
    If she’s too precocious, the movie falls apart

    Supporting male
    Teodor Corban, 1208 East of Bucharest
    Like a lower-key, less overtly demonstrative version of Steve Coogan’s “Alan Partridge”

    Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, The Boss of It All
    I didn’t think an Icelander would ever work for Lars again

    Jeff Goldblum, Fay Grim
    Made Hartley’s bizarro-dialogue seem completely natural

    Josh Brolin, Grindhouse
    Everyman face makes the snarling ridiculousness of his zombie-movie performance

    Jim Broadbent, Hot Fuzz
    One great thing about British actors is that the greatest are not ashamed to do comedy

    Nick Frost, Hot Fuzz
    Every man’s idea of a best buddy — comic version

    Jason Bateman, Juno
    Every man’s idea of a best buddy — not-so-comic version

    Andre Dussolier, Private Fears in Public Places
    Look at how the contrast between his mouth and his eyes makes the tape-watching scene

    Chewitel Ejiofor, Talk to Me
    Yawn … another brilliant low-key, grounded performance from the best actor with a name you can’t pronounce

    Paul Dano, There Will Be Blood
    Actually able to share the screen with Daniel Day-Lewis (is that a spoiler for my Best Actor ballot?)

    Robert Downey Jr., Zodiac
    How he is able to get all these roles about people driven to drink and drugs by obsession is absolutely beyond me.

    Supporting female
    Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
    How often and in how many contexts can she play the White Witch (not that I’m complaining)

    Juliette Binoche, Breaking and Entering
    The proverbial actress so great she can stir you by reading the telephone book (which this script pretty much lets her prove)

    Kristin Scott Thomas, the Walker
    Playing “regal diva” opposite Lauren Bacall is hardly easy, but she has a contemporary quality too

    Director
    Philip Groening, Into Great Silence
    I’ll probably have to do penance for this one since his film was in the Top 5, required the patience of Job to get made and got no other points

    George Ratliff, Joshua
    I’ll probably have to do penance for this one since his film was in the Top 10, and I actually know him personally from our days at Texas (did the YMCA dance with his girlfriend at a mutual friend’s wedding)

    Vincent Parronaud and Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
    I’ll probably have to do penance for this one since this film was in the Honorable Mentions, required the patience of Job to get made and wound up with no points at all from me

    Joe Wright, Atonement
    Best moments as a director, in this film at least, are the ones he hands over to others; plus, the library scene

    Edgar Wright, Grindhouse
    I thought about giving him points for two films but then something told me … DON’T

    Francis Lawrence, I Am Legend
    Handles the summer super-spectacle genre with surprising restraint

    Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
    Would have found a place for him if he hadn’t cast his nonsinger wife in a role that has no place for a nonsinger to hide

    Script
    Lars von Trier, the Boss of It All
    It takes a great script to make a very good movie with Auto-Mat-O-Vision as director

    Sean Penn, Into the Wild
    I hated what looked like Catcher-in-the-Rye-wannabe twaddle before I realized the film had been playing me for a fool the whole time

    Scene
    The Fate of the Coward Robert Ford after the Assassination of Jesse James, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    I actually DID vote for this scene before Mike told me it was too long and too broad-in-scope to qualify as a scene

    The TV interview, Atonement
    No scene more moved me this year than this one, but I’m not sure it could work even a little if you hadn’t seen what preceded

    Reunited … at last, Gone Baby Gone
    See ATONEMENT scene … it’s a crushing rebuke to do-gooder idealism, but via a scene of banalities in which nothing really happens

    “Nannare/Barso Re Megha,” Guru
    I’ll probably have to do penance for all the impure thoughts (the video is here, and though this reproduction is crap, it is still AR Rahman and Aishwarya)

    Oil!, There Will Be Blood
    Great expressionist spectacle, great impressionistic subjectivity and darkness erupts into the world, in more sense than one

    Anton Ego tries the food, Ratatouille
    A Proustian moment, seen on Bastille Day, a few weeks after eating madeleines for the first time

    Opening terrorist attack, The Kingdom
    What an action scene should be — taut, quick, choreographed and brutal without ever seeming to be those things

    Hotel shootout (the old-style hotel with corridors; not the motel with adjoining rooms), No Country for Old Men
    The competition from this film was pretty stiff

    A midnight water run, No Country for Old Men
    The competition from this film was pretty stiff

    Interview at Greenhill Manor, the Savages
    Funny test, plus PSH’s best moment in the film, telling off appearances-over-all sister later

    “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” Zodiac
    Saw this again last week, and I realized it’s the only moment of real white-knuckle suspense in the movie

    Bart goes skateboarding, the Simpsons
    Showing the 8-year-old’s willie was a mistake though

    “All These Things That I’ve Done,” Southland Tales
    Boosted by being a moderately enjoyable scene in the middle of a train wreck of a movie

    Driving through the village, Syndromes and a Century
    Five minutes of unbroken pure Being, in which nothing else really happens

    Let us pray, Breach
    Stuck in Washington traffic and prayer combined — what more could I want
    ———————————————–
    ¹ There were a half-dozen films — THE WAYWARD CLOUD, LUST CAUTION, THE SAVAGES, ATONEMENT, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL — where I had a man and woman from the same film on my short list, but only the woman (women in one case) made the final cut. The competition was just so much less for the women, and I can think of only a few important female roles that I missed, either in terms of not seeing the film or forgetting about the actress until after I had submitted my ballot.

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    February 6, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

    4 Comments »

    1. “Ego tries the food,” “hotel shootout” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” all made my final list.

      Comment by Noel | February 6, 2008 | Reply

    2. I contend that showing Bart’s doodle was a brilliant masterstroke that elevated the scene into greatness — I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a bigger explosion of laughter in a theater.

      Comment by Donna | February 6, 2008 | Reply

    3. I’m with Donna on the issue of Nancy Cartwright’s penis.

      Comment by Adam Villani | February 7, 2008 | Reply

    4. […] was the scene from THE SIMPSONS MOVIE of Bart skateboarding nude (on a dare from Homer, natch). But I said there that “Showing the 8-year-old’s willie was a mistake though,” which has drawn two dissents […]

      Pingback by Nancy Cartwright’s penis « Rightwing Film Geek | February 7, 2008 | Reply


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