Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

01 February 2007

Review Catch-up

So I've been catching up on films as best I can. Tonight I saw Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette at our free Student Life Cinema theatre. I enjoyed it very much. It's gorgeous, of course, and also very interesting. The cast is almost uniformly made up of comedians (American and otherwise), which made for a very strange film about the French aristocracy. But the film is clearly an homage to La Dolce Vita, while at the same time rooted firmly in Coppola's explorations of teenage girl restlessness, confusion and ennui. The film isn't a complete success as a portrait of privilege, but as I said, it is beautiful to look at (Milena Canonero's costumes are phenomenal) and very, very funny.

Christopher Nolan's The Prestige is excellent. It stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, and featuring appearances by all sort of folks (Bowie! Andy Serkis! Ricky Jay!). This is the magician movie that everyone should have seen this summer instead of The Illusionist (which is total crap). This is another film that has a stunning look. There are sequences in the mountains of Colorado Springs that took my breath away they're shot so beautifully. This is a movie with tricks up its sleeve, but has enough sense to let you in on all of its secrets. The title is terrible, but don't let that keep you away from this picture. It's a winner. Bale gives another great performance, and Jackman is great (I'm loving him lately--tell me everyone's gone out and seen The Fountain!) Michael Caine is also very good in the picture, and it was very nice to see Piper Perabo again. Keep giving that girl work, people! This movie is a thriller and a mystery, as well as a bit of a sci-fi flick. I liked it very much.

Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is tough to get through. No. I lie. It isn't that hard to get through, and it's never really boring, but it also never really goes anywhere either. I guess it's supposed to be funny and horrifying at the same time, but it really never is either of these things. It's frustrating to be sure, but I'm not sure I really like that in my fiction. This was one of the best-reviewed films of the year, but it wasn't my cup of tea and it probably won't be yours either, unless you really like Tsai Ming-Liang or Zhangke Jia. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu reminded me of those guys. I respected the film, but I either didn't get it or got it but didn't care.