Sunday, April 08, 2007
The Lives of Others is nothing short of classic, populist cinema. Engaging, exacting, meticulously paced, and genuinely affecting, von Donnersmarck's Cold War tale of surveillance and the surveilled is more accessible, and ultimately more successful, than Melville's recently rediscovered (and much celebrated) Army of Shadows, which treads much the same psychological ground.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Down in the Valley, David Jacobson, 2005
Writer-Director Jacobson loses his way in the clumsy final act, but his urban malaise driven reimagining of Malick's Kit Carruthers and Holly Sargis (via Ed Norton and Evan Rachel Wood as star crossed lost souls in the present day San Fernando Valley) is nonetheless refreshing and, for its first hour or so, nearly sublime.
La Demoiselle d'honneur (The Bridesmaid), Claude Chabrol, 2004
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Efter brylluppet (After the Wedding), Susanne Bier, 2006
Bier, who deftly avoided the traps of melodrama with 2004's Brodre, is considerably less sucessful with After the Wedding, an overwrought mess of tears, twists, and tantrums. Reminiscent of Vinterberg's Festen in its best moments, Bier's domestic saga ultimately fails to generate the requisite emotional momentum for her characters' many breakdowns.