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Showing posts from September, 2010

Cairo Time

This slightly better than average East meets West love story is really more about Patricia Clarkson time than anything else.   Ms. Clarkson has been an ever more busy actress in television and films since the mid-80's.   Her natural beauty, sultry-ish voice and deceptive range have often made her the most interesting thing happening on screen, especially in otherwise disappointing projects like Pieces of April and Shutter Island (the edgier roles in both of those films demonstrating some of that range, in contrast to the kindly souls she often plays, as with her character in Cairo Time).

Here she plays Juliette Grant, a writer arriving in Cairo for a rendezvous with her husband.  Unfortunately, his UN job has him detained with refugee camp crisis in Gaza, so his long-time co-worker, Tareq (Alexander Siddig) collects her from the airport.  As days pass and the husband can't get away - there are only brief, increasingly frustrating phone conversations, occuring usually at odd h…

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Hey, look!  It's Michael Cera starring in a film version of a graphic and/or young adult novel!  What are the odds?  Well, yes, quite good, actually.   Roughly equal, it would seem, to finding Ellen Page in a coming of age film in recent years in which she plays the spunky protagonist.   While Ms. Page has made perhaps not so much a great leap as a small step from her roles in Juno, Whip It, etc., to Christopher Nolan's dreamscaping extravanganza, Inception, the mild-mannered Mr. Cera is called upon to don the hoodie once more in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.   The good news in this case, as opposed to Cera's last such outing, the insufferable Youth in Revolt, is that he finds himself in the hands of Edgar Wright, the promising director of both Sean of the Dead and Hott Fuzz.  Faint praise though it may be, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is easily one of the year's best comedies. 
It seems wearily appropriate that "Scott Pilgrim" begins with its 22-year-old…

The American

It's definitely not based on the Henry James novel of the same name, much as Anton  Corbijn's second feature does offer a creaky dialog between old and new world representatives, American assassin Jack, a.k.a., Edward Clark (George Clooney) and the priest (Paolo Bonacelli) of the small Italian village where the killer is hiding out.   

Despite the fact that there are a few picturesque locations announced by on-screen titles, The American is in some ways a James Bond film without the geographic and plot line ADHD.   Most of the action, or deliberate lack thereof, takes place in one of those medieval Italian villages.  What it really does is convincingly show the psychological repercussions of a life devoted to killing,  something which the Bond franchise has at least touched upon since the arrival of Daniel Craig.   But as a compensation, both Jack and James operate in a world in which most all of the women are ridiculously gorgeous.    
Actually, given the Italian setting - our …

Get Low

At a certain juncture in Get Low, long-time hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) is made to look presentable for his funeral.  Not an unusual process you might think for any body readied for its last great ceremony, but  this particular old body is still alive.   Before the stalactite of beard is winnowed down to a wispy goatee, before the scraggly cascade of grey hair is cropped close at the back of the neck, funeral director Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) makes sure that he gets a photo of Felix in full-on hermit guise .   Since Felix wants to have as many people attend his funeral "party" as possible, the funeral dierctor wisely has a photo taken that will match both the scant memories folks in his Southern environs might have of him as well as the outsized legends that have sprung up around the man. 
When all of that barbering is complete, Felix is transformed from a prototypical old coot to someone who looks like he could pass for dashing senior Confederate officer of decades p…