of the pleasures of watching a David Cronenberg film is the guarantee that
something nasty will happen. The violence in his films lurks beneath the
surface, hinted at in the cold, clinical dialogue uttered by his characters.
As Shame presents it, sex addiction prevents the addict from having meaningful contact with another person. All conversations are perfunctory. In fact, all human contact is superficial. All business success is meaningless because everything comes down to this: How will I get laid next? How will that act keep everything at arm’s length? Sounds great, right?
Serge Gainsbourg has no American equivalent. The homely and hard-living French singer-songwriter’s astoundingly wide-ranging output was often overshadowed by his affairs with the world’s most beautiful women and obscene outbursts on talk shows.
Hard on the heels of Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s mash note to Georges Méliès and Harold Lloyd, comes the considerably less expensive—and considerably more charming—The Artist, a black-and-white, nearly wordless return to silent storytelling, made by Frenchmen and filmed in Hollywood. Set at the dawn of the talkies, its tale is as familiar as Singin’ in the Rain and A Star Is Born.
Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is a grand, sweeping, lush and magnificent movie. It’s filmmaking that self-consciously recalls a John Ford epic, such as The Searchers or The Quiet Man. If only it were as good.
Paris, 1962: Jean-Louis (Fabrice Luchini) and his wife, Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), have white-people problems, namely the family housekeeper. She’s a nasty old French bitch who won’t let Suzanne clear out her dead mother-in-law’s room.
Kirsten Dunst’s dimple-pointed smile lights up the opening scenes of
Melancholia. She exudes such happiness that we don’t suspect an
impending cosmic catastrophe, though we do begin to sense that she
feigns happiness for the benefit of others.
Here’s something you don’t often get at the movies: genuine surprise. Take Shelter,
however, offers plenty, not just in its story, but also in the idea
that a deliberately paced family drama can entertain while serving up
liberal doses of economic allegory and psychological thriller.
opens with a boating accident. It follows with a George Clooney, as the
character Matt King, voice-over: “My friends on the mainland think,
because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Are they nuts?”
Weekend pulls viewers in so deeply that I felt I needed a shower and a nap afterward. And I mean this in the best possible way: I will remember this film as one of the sweetest, most sincere love stories of the decade, as well as a revolutionary gay love story.