Wednesday, August 26, 2009


After watching Luc Moullet's A Girl is a Gun last night, I started mulling over this question: exactly what kind of an actor is Jean-Pierre Léaud? I have someone's comment (was it a critic's, from one of my acting teachers, a film prof's?) to the effect that he isn't an actor stuck in my head. If I squint, I can see what that means - he's not a chameleon, he's not overtly theatrical, and he doesn't play off a star persona à la Belmondo - but obviously he's doing something: Billy le Kid is a different character than Tom in Last Tango in Paris who in turn is a different character than Alexandre in La maman et la putain.

Maybe it's because I'm still under the influence of the Moullet, but I want to say that what Léaud is doing is closer to what Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati do than it is to what Belmondo or Michel Piccoli do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Screening Log for July and part of August: Short Version

I've been too busy to keep up with this properly, so not much in the way of notes this time around - just ratings. However, I'm always happy to chat about movies, so questions and/or comments about the ratings are welcome. As always, anything that I've starred is recommended. Anything not starred I couldn't, in good faith, ask that anyone else sit through.

Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955) (v) ***** - Glad I saved this one for the proverbial rainy day, rather than rushing to check it off a list back when I was seeing movies just to say I had seen them.

The Inglorious Bastards (Enzo Castellari, 1978) (v) **

Kings and Queens (Arnaud Desplechin, 2004) (v) **** - I know: I'm a rube and a philistine for preferring this to Esther Kahn. (Or myabe I don't put such a high value on severity and perversity?)

Beeswax (Andrew Bujalski, 2009) ***

The Power of Kangwon Province (Hong Sang-soo, 1998) (v) ****

Momma's Man (Azazel Jacobs, 2007) (v) *

Hannah Takes the Stairs (Joe Swanberg, 2007) (v) **

Sleeping Dogs Lie (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2006) (v) ***

Brigham City (Richard Dutcher, 2001) (v) ***

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009) (v) **

You, the Living (Roy Andersson, 2007) ***

La deuxieme souffle (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1966) (v) *****

World's Greatest Dad (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2009) (v) **

Esther Kahn (Arnaud Desplechin, 2000) (v) ***

Two Lovers (James Gray, 2009) (v) **** - My favorite movie of the year, so far.

The Number 23 (Joel Schumacher, 2007) (v)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Scott Derrickson, 2008) (v)

12 Rounds (Renny Harlin, 2009) (v)

Eagle Eye (D.J. Caruso, 2008) (v) - It's rare that I ever want to use the word "turgid", but this film did it for me.

Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009) ***


(v) = Seen on home video (dvd, dvr, etc.).
(r) = Not my first viewing.
(s) = Short film.

Star system ("borrowed" from the Chicago Reader)

No stars = Not recommended
* = Redeeming feature(s)
** = Recommended
*** = Highly recommended
**** = "Masterpiece"
***** = A place in my personal pantheon