Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
Modern writer time-travels to Jazz Age Paris in funny, fabulous 'Midnight In Paris'
From the fabulous poster art to a sweet little epiphany in the last frame, there is nothing not to love in Woody Allen's latest, Midnight In Paris. In the poster, star Owen Wilson is sauntering alongside the River Seine at night, while the extravagant blues and blazing, swirling lights of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" explode across the sky above the ancient buildings lining the bank. This single image says everything about the art, history, enduring fantasy, and cultural allure of Paris, issues Allen addresses with such savvy brio in this marvelously inventive film.
Wilson is all light, easygoing charm as American in Paris, Gil Pender. A typical Allen surrogate (garbed in Woody's traditional light blue shirt and khaki pants), Gil is a successful Hollywood screenwriter who longs to chuck it all and write serious fiction—preferably in a romantic garret in Paris.
'Incendies' an epic tragedy of love, war, and forgiveness
s one character observes late in the film, Incendies, "One spark sets everything off." And so it does, in this searing family drama from French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, an epic Greek tragedy of a film that's not for the fainthearted. Adapted from the internationally acclaimed stage play by Lebanese-born writer-actor-director Wajdi Mouawad, it examines the relentless cycles of violence and reprisals in the Middle East (and everywhere else) from a uniquely personal viewpoint that's both powerful and horrifying. This is a film one admires after the fact for the strength of its vision, but it's a harrowing thing to sit through.
Stunning prehistoric art highlights 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'
Werner Herzog explores two of his favorite themes in his stunning new documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams: human obsessions, and the forbidding grandeur of Nature. Understand, the film itself is not all that exceptional; some crucial factual details apparently don't interest Herzog enough to include them, and we are treated to some of the director's offbeat ruminations that prove more bewildering than profound. However, the subject of the film is stunning, a recently discovered, 30,000-year-old cave buried under a massive rockslide in rural France that contains the earliest known wall paintings made by human hands.
Cheeky Spurlock doc not quite 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold'
Morgan Spurlock had an interesting concept for the movie that has become POM Wonderful Presents; The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The documentary filmmaker whose popular Super Size Me established both Spurlock himself and his particular genre of stunt-activist films as a brand unto itself decided this time to explore the shadow world of what was once called "product placement"—the system by which corporations pay to have their products displayed onscreen in films and TV shows.
Pioneers head for nowhere in undeveloped 'Meek's Cutoff'
How far can you blame an artist for trying to do something artistic? Even if the resulting work doesn't play out the way one hopes, an artist deserves some grudging respect for pursuing a particular vision. Take Kelly Reichardt, who makes small, personal films set in Oregon, in which nothing much happens. In Old Joy, two former buddies find they have little to talk about any more on a weekend hiking trip into the Cascades. In Wendy and Lucy, a young woman adrift between jobs loses her dog.
Like these films, Reichardt's latest, Meek's Cutoff, is scrupulously composed, full of respect for the natural world, and concerned with minute, almost non-verbal relationships. It, too, is set in the Pacific Northwest, but unlike Reichardt's previous films, this is a historical drama in the Oregon Territory of 150 years ago.