Monday, March 15, 2010

Screening Log: February 2010

Note: This one is late and anemic, but March's should be a doozy.

The Damned United (Tom Hooper, 2009) (v) * - Sheen, Broadbent, Spall, and Meaney are all very fine. The movie itself, though, is the kind where every beat is played exactly as you'd expect.

Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008) (v) ***

13 Rue Madeleine (Henry Hathaway, 1947) (v) **

Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) (v) *** - A surprise.

Killshot (John Madden, 2008) (v) **

Lorna's Silence (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2008) (v) ** -

24 City (Jia Zhangke, 2008) (v) **

Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008) (v) ***

The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009) (v) ***

Frontier of Dawn (Philippe Garrel, 2008) (v) ***

An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009) (v) - A few really strong performances (although not from Carey Mulligan, who's much better in the Bleak House miniseries) trapped inside a preposterous movie.

Whip It (Drew Barrymore, 2009) (v) *** - I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. Lots of nice, low-key touches and a true generosity of spirit.

Key:

(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

2 comments:

Lin Swimmer said...

Glad to hear you liked Bad Lieutenant.

It's a really difficult movie to evaluate, especially for those that hold firm to an auteurist analytical approach.

I tried to follow it up with a few contemporary movies featuring Val Kilmer, and.... just wasn't able to. In a period when it feels as if there're no longer B-movies, Val Kilmer is proving single-handedly that they're alive and (not very) well.

It's frustrating. If someone handed the guy a decent script, I have full confidence that he would be capable of ripping it to shreds. I like him. It hurts to see him relegated to the doghouse with Sharon Stone. (He wasn't really utilized in Bad Lieutenant.)

It seems to be a much better career move for descending actors to slum it in television. Although I'm not sure if, once you do, you can ever get pulled out. But it can't be any worse than what he's been up to lately.

Mr. K said...

Lin: Val Kilmer has dabbled a little in TV. He showed up for what was little more than an extended cameo as a one-shot villain in an episode of NUMB3RS, and he was the voice for KITT in the short-lived Knight Rider re-make.

Of course, these don't argue for his taste in picking good work.