Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Film’

Atlantic City – Minute Movie Review

Montag, August 23rd, 2010

Review:

Burt Lancaster is an ageing petty criminal with delusions of grandeur. He takes care of his dead friend’s widow, works as a small time bookie and dreams of the golden days when Atlantic City was run by the mob. Susan Sarandon works as a waitress in one of the casinos and dreams of being a blackjack dealer. When her husband and sister, who ran away together, arrive in town hoping to sell some drugs, all their lives will be changed. Louis Malle’s film is a harsh and bitter look at small time life in the once great city. There is no room here for greatness, just for everyday hopes and dreams, most of which are ultimately squashed. The plot or rather some behaviour of the characters is not quite consistent, but it detracts little from the otherwise very good film. Surprisingly sweet and funny, this 1980 film is a forerunner for the crime revival of the 1990s – just without the delusion of grandeur.

Random Observations:

Atlantic City at the IMDb

“I never wear a seatbelt. I don’t believe in gravity.” How’s that for a great line?

In the great tradition of themed weeks at Fabricated Truth, I have deemed this Louis Malle Week.

The film is a French-Canadian co-production, but was shot on location in Atlantic City, USA. (Which, incidentally, is the German title of the film.)

The great Wallace Shawn has one of his earliest roles in the film as a waiter. It’s always interesting to see such “big name actors” in their humble beginnings. And yes, I am aware that only one of regular readers has any idea who Wallace Shawn is.

Snow Cake – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 30th, 2010

Review:

Recently released from prison after killing a man, an Englishman drives across Canada and picks up a young hitch-hiker. When the car is hit by a truck and the girl dies, he feels both guilty and lost and thus decides to visit her mother, who turns out to be autistic. Help- and directionless, he decides to stay for a few days, getting to know the mother and falling for her neighbour. The film is a slow drama told with humour and a human touch. There is no happy ending here, but a lot of chances for all characters to grow. Lead Alan Rickman perfectly underplays the depression, guilt and aimlessness of the lead, while Sigourney Weaver makes the autistic woman come to life.

Random Observations:

Snow Cake at the IMDb

Sigourney Weaver is no Dustin Hoffman (who played an autistic man in the incredible Rain Man), but she truly shows her acting chops her, delivering a realistic and engaging performance.

The film was written by Angela Pell, who based many of the mother’s idiosyncrasies on the behaviour of her autistic son. Weaver also spend time with an autistic woman to learn about their behaviour.

One of the best scenes of the film comes at the wake after the funeral, where Rickman convinced Weaver to have people come to her house, only for her to despair at the situation and start to dance. Her mother then stops a social worker from interfering, thus bluntly spelling out the message of the film.

Silk – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, April 2nd, 2010

Review:

In 1862, a young French man returns to his village, falls in love and gets a job as a trader, buying silk worm eggs, that help to sustain the village’s economy. He travels repeatedly to Japan and is torn between the love for his wife and a Japanese woman. The story does sound kind of promising, but it does not deliver on that promise at all. The best parts are the few travelling scenes, with truly beautiful pictures, but otherwise the film is boring, pointless and plodding. The revelation at the end is not bad, but since the film never developed any of the characters, ultimately pointless as well.

Random Observations:

Silk at the IMDb

I wanted to see the film because I wondered what Michael Pitt would do with a straight-up leading men role. Let’s just say he should better stick to genre fare and bit parts.

The story takes place (mostly) in France and Japan. The film is based on the novel by an Italian author (Alessandro Baricco). The non-Japanese lead actors are British and American. Since the director is Canadian, this makes the film a Canadian-French-Italian-British-Japanese Production. How’s that for international movie making?

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Januar 21st, 2010

Review:

As much as I like the work of Terry Gilliam – and I do like almost everything he’s done, even some things that are not critically adored – the advance word on his newest film was so bad that I would have skipped it were it not for the fact that this is Heath Ledger’s final performance. Here, he plays a man who was hanged and has lost his memory, but is rescued by Doctor Parnassus and his crew, who entertain people by allowing them inside the Doctor’s mind. In there, he wages a battle with the devil that has been going on for a thousand years – and when Ledger enters the imagination, he is played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law or Colin Farrell. This works surprisingly well and the film is filled with the usual array of ideas sprung from Gilliam’s overactive imagination. Nevertheless, it doesn’t quite work. The story is a bit too rambling and many of the sequences rely to heavily on CGI to be believable, creating a film that might have been great, but is deeply flawed. It’s not bad, but from the talent involved one could expect more.

Random Observations:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the IMDb

Depp and Ledger look eerily similar in this film, making this transition the smoothest. It also should be said that all of the three actors played the part of Ledger they were best suited to, but that it would have been even more interesting to see Ledger transform so much throughout the story.

The female lead, Lily Cole, was completely unknown to me and after her performance here, I very much hope that will be the case once again quite soon.

Minute Movie Review – Crash

Sonntag, Mai 17th, 2009

Review:

The film by David Cronenberg – not to be confused with the Oscar winning film of the same name – has been called the most controversial film ever and it is certainly extremely disturbing. After being injured in a car accident, James Ballard develops a car crash fetish and drifts into the circle of people similarly afflicted. The film combines car crashes with sex in an extremely disturbing way and I’m not entirely convinced that the deeper meaning that Cronenberg, novel author J.G. Ballard and the jury of the Cannes Film Festival (where the film won a special prize) see is actually there.

Random Observations:

Crash at imdb.com

The film has an odd tone in that it is impossible to connect with any of the characters, so that you always feel more like a voyeur. Cronenberg is a great filmmaker so I am sure it was entirely intentional to make the film even more disturbing (or controversial, if you like), but I’m also not sure whether that was accomplished.

Minute Movie Review – Les triplettes de Belleville

Samstag, April 25th, 2009

Review:

“The Triplets of Belleville” is a very strange film. It’s the animated story of a grandmother who would do anything for her melancholic grandson and trains with him to race in the Tour de France. But once there, he is abducted by gangster and she follows him across the ocean to Belleville to rescue him, enlisting the help of the aged vaudevillian triplets of Belleville. The animation is very unusual, often grotesque, and a throw-back to the style of the 1930s. The humour is dark and the film is packed with references to music and culture long gone as well as the consumerism of modern times. Almost dialogue free, the film relies on its pictures to tell the story. It’s not for everyone, but a film with a devoid cult following.

Random Observations:

Les triplettes de Belleville at imdb.com

Minute Movie Review – Juno

Dienstag, März 25th, 2008

Review:

Juno is a pretty typical American teenager – and also pregnant. She decides to deliver the baby and look for a family that will adopt it. The film tells the story of that year in her life, seldom moving into overly dramatic territory and instead focusing on the comedic aspects of it, yet without ever getting silly. Ellen Page in the lead role carries the movie (once more) and is helped along by a good supporting cast, set to the first soundtrack in this decade to sell independently well. An often funny and engaging film, Juno delivers what it promises: fun. And also a baby.

Random Observations:

Juno at imdb.com

Screenwriter Diablo Cody, a former exotic dancer (aka stripper), won an Oscar for the screenplay. I don’t really know for what, since in reality people occasionally use the normal words for things instead of just lining up metaphors; quirky dialogue alone is just lazy writing, not an accomplishment. If you want to really see a well-written film, watch “Lars and the Real Girl“.

Having “hip” and “independent” musicians do the soundtrack for a film is “the” thing right now, but in general it is preferable to actually use someone who can “sing”.

This is the 100th movie review published here – in just under 5 months.

Minute Movie Review – Away from Her

Montag, März 3rd, 2008

Review:

When Fiona’s Alzheimer’s gets too bad to handle at home, she is brought into a home. Her husband can visit her whenever he wants, but not for the first thirty days. But when he does, she can’t really remember who he is. A love story that for once doesn’t focus on young people and that is as unconventional as possible, this little film seems to be taken directly from life. Carried by the lead actors, the Oscar nominated Julie Christie and the inexplicably overlooked Gordon Pinsent, the movie is both touching and real.

Random Observations:

Away from Her at imdb.com

Gordon Pinsent may not be a household name like Julie Christie. But the way he displayed the emotions of the forgotten husband is a much greater accomplishment than Christie’s “forgetting”.

Adventskalender 4

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2007

Klick auf den Link, um das vierte Türchen zu öffnen. Click the link to open the fourth door.

(weiterlesen …)