Sideways

I can’t go along with my colleagues who regard Alexander Payne’s entertaining but familiar comedy as one of 2004’s best movies: it lacks the insolence of his Election and the freshness of his work with Kathy Bates in About Schmidt. A depressive, divorced unpublished novelist (American Splendor’s Paul Giamatti) and a cheerful, horny former TV star (Thomas Haden Church) who’s about to be married embark on a tour of the California wine country that includes sexual adventures. The performances of both leads (especially Church), Virginia Madsen, and Sandra Oh are effective, and Payne does know how to capture two kinds of male menopause. But I can’t say he ever surprised me. R, 123 min. (JR)

Published on 29 Oct 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Reconstruction

A photographer in Copenhagen (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) betrays his girlfriend (Maria Bonnevie) to pursue an adulterous fling with a Swedish woman (Bonnevie again) who’s visiting with her novelist husband. This arresting brain twister is narrated by the husband, and the shifting of certain particulars implies that either the whole tryst or some aspects of it may be occurring in his jealous imagination. The ambiguities suggest Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad and Providence, but the show-offy, high-tech visual style couldn’t be further from Resnais’ aesthetics and sensibility. Christoffer Boe makes his directing debut with this feature, and Bonnevie does a fine job of making her double role something more than a gimmick. In Danish and Swedish with subtitles. 90 min. (JR)

Published on 29 Oct 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Kiarostami at Work [10 on TEN]

Please go to http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/2004/10/kiarostami-at-work/

Published on 29 Oct 2004 in Featured Texts, Featured Texts, by jrosenbaum

No Comments >>

Proteus

Known for his work on gay subjects and for his neo-Brechtian strategies, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson teamed up with South African video activist Jack Lewis for this eclectic period narrative, based on a 1735 sodomy trial that led to the execution of a Dutch sailor (Neil Sandilands) and a Hottentot (Rouxnet Brown). The original trial transcript was translated from Middle Dutch to Afrikaans and then into English; the translation process is part of a distancing strategy that also includes deliberate anachronisms and, for better and for worse, periodically recalls some of the archness of Peter Greenaway. Greyson directed a script he cowrote with Lewis, who also produced. In Afrikaans and Nama with subtitles. 97 min. (JR)

Published on 22 Oct 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>

Dear Frankie

One should know as little as possible in advance about the plot of cinematographer Shona Auerbach’s subtle and graceful directorial debut, written by Andrea Gibb. So let’s just say that the main characters are a single mother (Emily Mortimer), her deaf nine-year-old son (Jack McElhone), his mysteriously absent father, a sailor hired by the mother to briefly impersonate the man, and the Scottish port setting. Considering this film and David Mackenzie’s Young Adam, an exciting new Scottish cinema may be taking shape. PG-13, 105 min. (JR)

Published on 15 Oct 2004 in Featured Texts, by admin

No Comments >>