Saturday, December 26, 2009

20 for 2009

It's been a rough year for the big boys in Hollywood. DVD sales are weak, downloading is still a cause for fear and strangely audiences refuse to reliably go see pre-manufactured pablum like Land of the Lost. 2009 was the year when big stars couldn't guarantee a film's performance (Julia Roberts in Duplicity, Russel Crowe in State of Play to name a few..) and when
other stars came back with a bang (Hello Sandra Bullock).

Still, look long and hard and you'll see signs of hope. From Fantastic Mr. Fox to Paranormal Activity and yes even Avatar, filmmakers proved that all audiences really want are artists with vision. Someone who knows how to move the camera and has something to say.

As for the industry, both blu-ray and 3D are here to stay, which means more money for people to play with. Expect more spectacles and pray for some smarts.

From 2009 here are 20 films that stood out.

It's hard to describe a film which stars a toy Cowboy, Indian and a Horse. The stop-motion animation style is primitive, the voices are just above the level of Pingu and it's freakin hilarious.
I watched this at TIFF, truly it hasn't come out in theatres in Canada yet but I couldn't leave it off my list. A Town Called Panic is one of the funniest and most inspiring films I saw this year. Silly and absurd, a blast of play-doh coloured craziness.

An Inuit hunter. A case of tuberculosis. What starts as a mission of mercy becomes an act of cruelty. There are many pleasures in this moving film from Quebec. Set in the early fifties it's a bracing look at what was done to aboriginal populations in the name of good. It's also a movie about survival, even in the most unlikely places.

If I had to pick a single film from this year people will still be talking about two decades from now, this would be that film.
Set in a small German town on the eve of the first world war this is a movie about power, about fear and the folly of fascism. Stunning work by the director who also brought us Cache.

I loved this movie perhaps more than I should have for a simple, girl-gains an-attitude-and-puts-on-some-skates, kinda film. But perhaps it was about all the things that Whip It wasn't. Whip It didn't make the heroine into some type of patsy. She didn't moon over her man (hello Bella) and it contained a nice grungy mix of gals. Good actors, great soundtrack and some body blows to cap it off. No princess in this teen wonderland. Rock on Drew.

16. Tetro

Two brothers, a woman and Buenos Aires. As I said when I first wrote about Tetro, this is a time capsule of a film. A rich sip from the pre-AVID age of cinema. It's not that Coppola has made something dated, but like The White Ribbon there's a timeless feel here, which makes up for many of the great director's indulgences.

The second best documentary of the year works on many levels. As an activist film opening your eyes to a horrible crime. As a personal journey, watching a man tied to the image of the domesticated dolphin trying to make amends. And finally, as a caper, a mad mission-impossible type scheme involving high tech gizmos and daring feats. Watch the film to the end and you'll see how the director never rests on his laurels. Always finding new ways to stimulate our senses.

14. District 9

Let us now sing the song of Wikus. The regular Joe. To be honest a bit of a jerk really, with his easy smile and that late seventies mustache. Played with verve by Sharlto Copley, it's just one of the many differences that helped set District 9 apart. A heck of a first film for Neill Blomkamp. So glad Halo fell apart.

13. The Damned United

The story of a soccer coach makes it here for two reasons: 1) The amazing performance of Michael Sheen as the swaggering Brian Clough. You would think the arrogance would cancel out the charisma but instead it almost has a multiplying effect. 2) The beautiful structure of Peter Morgan's script, almost Shakespearean in the way he dissects and displays Clough's fatal flaw.

Another movie on the list mainly because of one performance. Somewhere around the 20 minute mark I lost sight of Jeff Bridges. He slipped entirely from view, replaced by "Bad Blake" the tarnished country star at the centre of this tale. And I aint what you'd call a country music fan, but I sure as heck was humming some of those tunes by the end. (more on the music here)

Not much to add about this film except that I think it's interesting that the occasional excesses of Wes Anderson's style work perfectly in this children's tale. Although what put this on my list over Up, over Coraline, were the very adult themes Anderson managed to smuggle into this film. Something about that dance in the supermarket at the end really stuck with me. There's a subversive quality there, and the fact that Anderson cribbed it from Roald Dahl's notes makes it all the better.

Sure it's slick. It's stylish as all hell. From the second the opening credits begin you know you're in the hands of someone with something to say. But there's also some courage there. From Reitman, willing to make a movie about the collateral damage of the Great Recession. (That empty office with the receptionist crying should be the image of the year.) And credit too, for George Clooney on taking a role that plays with his own image. Or maybe he just did it to share scenes with Vera Farmiga. Yowza!

I.B. is one of those films that has gotten better as time passed. Immediately I was disappointed with the lack of battle scenes. Sorry but you say WW2, I have certain expectations. Now I appreciate it for everything else. The glorious dialogue. The slow burn of the set pieces. The farmer's table. The German bistro. And the sheer balls of Tarantino who plays tribute to his idols while smashing them to pieces.

The best movie about the Iraq War wasn't about the war. It was a comedy about the run up to the war. And it was made by a bunch of Brits. If Col. Hans Landa is this year's villain, Malcolm Tucker is a close second. The crown prince of cursing. A master of vigorous vulgarity. No amount of alliteration can prepare you for his foul-tongued fury. (Check out my interview with him here.) Lovely stuff.

7. Moon

We long suffering Sam Rockwell fans finally got the movie we were waiting for. A movie to showcase Rockwell's jittery genius, in all his manic glory. Moon is a future classic with little flourishes that cement its place in the sci-fi canon. The vibrating soundtrack. A kindly robot. (Kevin Spacey!) Flawless mise en scene. And a plot that swallows it's own tail. Plus those final shots.... Such economy in storytelling. Perfect.

It's beginning to look like the next couple years will belong to Michael Fassbender. But this is the film that got him there. An amazing performance, I don't want to say much more since this was my number one last year. Well now it's actually out and in your video store so I'm putting it on my list again. It's that good.

The best doc of the year is about a man in a meat locker explaining the way the world ends. Whether as character study or a warning, it's fascinating stuff. Suddenly the X-files feel like fairy tales. (More here and TIFF coverage here.)

Let us all now pause and give thanks that we live in a world where a movie as bleak and as twisted and funny, yes funny, as A Serious Man could be created. And give thanks to the Coens who aren't afraid to make movies with questions but no answers. Also, ending of the year.

Two of the most beautiful films of the year, each in their own way of course. (What? You don't find exploding starships beautiful? Well then you're reading the wrong blog.)
Also two films where the director is in total command. Each are rewriting history in a way. One a revisionist version of Star Trek, the other a famous poet wooing his neighbour (or was that the other way around?) Each succeeds entirely. These movies took me away and I want to go back.

You take the energy of Snatch, the drama of The Departed and add the epic quality of The Godfather and you have Il Divo. A movie about the mob. About politics. About a man, who believes above all in himself. Watch the trailer here. Then go rent it on DVD. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 - 7 Minutes

I'm aiming to get around to my best of list but in the meantime this is one masterful montage.
I recommend watching it in HD and full screen.

(Well done keesvdijkhuizen whoever you are...)

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 on film


Act of God
Angels & Demons
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Astro Boy
Away We Go
Bride Wars
Bright Star
Broken Embraces
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Couples Retreat
The Cove
Crazy Heart
The Damned United
Disney’s A Christmas Carole
District 9
Il Divo
Easy Virtue
An Education
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fast & Furious
Fifty Dead Men Walking
Fired Up!
(500) Days of Summer
Flame and Citron
Food, Inc.
Funny People
Good Hair
The Hangover
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
He’s Just Not That Into You
The Hurt Locker
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
I Killed My Mother
I Love You, Man
The Informant!
Inglourious Basterds
The International
In the Loop
Julie & Julia
Land of the Lost
The Last Station
The Limits of Control
The Lovely Bones
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Monsters vs. Aliens
The Necessities of Life
New in Town
New Moon
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Nurse. Fighter. Boy.
One Week
Paper Heart
Paranormal Activity
Pirate Radio
Precious: Based on the Novel « PUSH » by Sapphire
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
The Proposal
Public Enemies
The Road
A Serious Man
Sherlock Holmes
A Single Man
The Soloist
Star Trek
State of Play
Summer Hours
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Taking Woodstock
Terminator Salvation
This is It
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The Ugly Truth
Under the Sea 3D
Up in the Air
Whatever Works
Where the Wild Things Are
Whip It
The White Ribbon
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Year One
The Young Victoria


Cooking With Stella
The Trotsky
Max Manus
My Year Without Sex
Youth in Revolt
The Art of the Steal
Google Baby
How to Fold a Flag
Bunny and the Bull
The Frontline
The Good Heart
Vahlallah Rising
The Wild Grass

Something like 130 so far. Many missed, much loved.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blue Man Group (AVATAR)

There's a battle going on right now as film critics who went to see Avatar struggle not to spill. Most reviewers such as myself saw the film under an embargo. Reviews are supposed to be held until the 18th. But the big papers are pushing the studio hard and the damn is breaking.

If you're looking for an early taste two good places to get a sense of the film are David Poland's excellent blog and Jeffery Wells' website. There's a boyish enthusiasm emanating from both of those reports and I say that in the most positive way possible.

I'll hold off on my full review for now. But let me say this. It is an experience. It will do quite well. It will become (or already is) an event movie that you have to see to be part of the conversation. The difference between Avatar and James Cameron's Titanic is that we didn't see Titanic coming. The movie disappointed critics and was being compared to Waterworld.

Already I can feel the industry getting on side with this one. It's going to change the business. How, is hard to say.

Friday, December 4, 2009

All Fall Down

Finally rolling out across Canada, Collapse is the documentary of the year and here's why.

Collapse is story about how the world ends, as told by "independent journalist" Michael Ruppert.

In an empty room (an old meat-packing plant) Ruppert sits and smokes and describes the shape of doomsday.

This is a warning, a rant about peak oil, climate change, the economic crisis and literally end of civilization as we know it.

Marshaling facts and figures, aided by campy newsreel footage Ruppert explains why this generation will be the last to enjoy SUVs and long drives to the mall. And according to Ruppert we don't have long, so start stocking away those canned goods and organic seeds now.

It may sound paranoid, but the film is surprisingly persuasive. Director Chris Smith helps by staying out of the way. It's just Ruppert, a dark room, and enough smoke to kill the Marlboro Man. Occasionally Smith challenges Ruppert from off camera but it's not much of a debate.

Smith wisely leaves Ruppert's personal details until the end of the film. That and what Smith leaves out would undercut the impact of the tale. But in the end the movie works on two levels; either as a warning or an examination of the storyteller.

Forget 2012, here's your real disaster. Don't miss it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Recommended Reading (The Fox & The Road)

Variety is the name of the game this week as I take on The Road and Fantastic Mr Fox.

Both are based on beloved books. Of the two I think Fantastic Mr. Fox is more successful.
From the beginning to the end this is a movie brimming with life. Even though the characters are animated, the little fur-covered marionettes dance and sing, laugh and smirk. Like the best kind of kids film Mr. Fox doesn't condescend to his audience. Director Wes Anderson treats all his characters with respect and that gives them a depth we don't often see in the genre.

You may remember there was a bit of ruckus a while ago about the production. Some folks in the animation studio were annoyed about the auteur directing the action "via email." While that may be true the fact is much of what makes Fox so charming is due to Anderson's insistence; His directing style, his focus on old-school animation techniques, even down to the way they recorded the voice actors. If you want to see more watch this clip from

As far as The Road goes, let me say this. Viggo Mortensen is amazing as the Father. One of the great actors of his generation I think. The movie is as stark as the source material but seems to lack a little of the poetry of the novel. Part of the problem may be the power of the images. How can author Cormac McCarthy's dialogue compete with those pictures of the crumpled hydro towers and ash-covered highways?

Before you go see The Road may I recommend you read this fantastic interview with author Cormac McCarthy and director John Hillcoat. You'll learn where the relationship between the father and son began and that not even the McCarthy knows why the world ends.

Also, before John Hillcoat took on The Road he gave us one of the decade's best westerns: The Proposition. An Aussie tale of rough justice set in the outback. Highly recommended.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yay for Yuri (2012)

So I liked 2012. (mild spoilers follow)

I know it's disaster porn of the highest order, the characters are as paper-thin as the buildings appear to be and the dialogue is atrocious. But come on... no one's going to this one for memorable moments. We're going to watch big things fall down and go boom.

And measuring 2012 on the boom-a-meter it gets an 9.5 out of 10. Until someone makes the movie where Earth goes kablooey Emmerich takes the prize for mind-numbing spectacle.

And as is the disaster-film tradition there are a couple campy performances to savor.
Yes there's John Cusack, who does the usual Cusack. It was kind of the producers to allow him to play a writer who wears black the entire time, thereby allowing us to believe in someway he's still the guy from High Fidelity/Say Anything.

But a little-known Croatian actor steals the show. His name is Zlatko Buric and he plays Yuri, the Russian billionaire Cusack's character just happens to work for. Zlatko has a voice like a bass woofer with a vodka-soaked accent to match. Lots of fun.

Also hats off to Tom McCarthy. You know when you're playing the guy competing against John Cusack you're not long for this earth. But considering he's playing a plastic surgeon from Los Angeles he's surprising likable. (If you're trying to place Tom, think of The Wire and don't forget he directed The Visitor.)

Sympathy for the Devil

Antichrist by Lars von Trier opens today. It's obvious from the interviews that the director was in a disturbed state when he made this film. A nervous breakdown perhaps.
This is certainly a shocking film filled with moments of horrific violence and yes mutilation. Let me just say this poster is a good hint of things to come.

Antichrist may be a lot of things, but it isn't mindless. Instead of gore for gore's sake, there is a seed to the sickness. A monster driving the mutilation. I won't call Antichrist a masterpiece, but it is art. Art can be disturbing, unsettling and at times even repulsive. Although it can be difficult to watch, Lars von Trier deserves credit for seeing his demented vision through. This is story about sickness told by an auteur in full command of his medium. (And for the guy who gave us the Dogme movement this is filled with lush luxurious cinematography.)

I would never, never recommend this to a broad audience, and if you are the squeamish type stay far far away. But there are some rewards there for those who enjoy bold filmmaking. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

You Should See

I'm waiting for a study that shows the impact that twitter has on blogging. Needless to say things have been sparse at GOF central. But there's a bounty of beautiful, moving films out there for those who want them. Here's a rundown of some fine films in theatres.

* * *

A Christmas Carol: Jim Carrey is great as Scrooge and the animation is amazing. A surprising faithful and dark morality tale updated with spine-tingling visuals. A little overboard in the thrill-ride department, but worth it for the dose of Dickens.

A Serious Man: See it now so you wont be surprised when it cleans up at the Oscars. The Coen Brothers best film in years. A return to the absurdity of Barton Fink. A movie that takes no prisoners.

An Education: It's hard not to watch Carey Mulligan and not think of Audrey Hepburn. She has the grace and maturity of woman beyond her years. A great little time capsule of Britain before the Beatles.

The Damned United: Michael Sheen scores again as Britain's much loved footie coach Brian Clough. Script by Peter Morgan who gaves us The Queen and has another winner here. Don't be put off if you're not a soccer fan, this is more about buddies than sports. Clough is a classic character, brilliant, cocky and fatally flawed.

Good Hair: Chris Rock brings us a surprisingly honest conversation about being Black in America and it all starts with hair. Plus, why is Ice-T so funny?


(Not recommended would include Amelia & The Men Who Stare at Goats.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sorry Spike

I’m sorry Spike.
You see I really want to like Where the Wild Things Are.
The idea of matching skater-boy genius Spike Jonze to the beloved kid lit classic seemed the perfect collaboration. Those monsters were like the grubby teddy bears we all shared. And who better to direct then Spike Jonze? He who taught us to how to be John Malcovich. He who predicted the hipster moustache, when Mike D and the boys shot Sabotage.
So I really wanted to like it.

But, I can’t.
Yes it’s beautiful. The monsters loom large and lovely. It is exactly as I imagined it, well that is until the monsters open their mouths. Suddenly these mud-caked mascots sound like the cast of Felicity. Carol doesn’t like Bob and Ted. K.W. spends too much time with her friends. Judith is always picking on Ira and no one listens to Alexander.

Is this really the fantasy world we envisioned? Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak anointed Spike Jonze because he seemed so boyish himself. Certainly watching Spike and his young surrogate Max get along I can see there’s a part of the director that’s still hiding under the bed with his flashlight.

Childhood is a beautiful thing. But we’ve been living the past for so long Hollywood should be charged with smothering its inner child. You know before Jonze inflated the 20-page book into a blockbuster he’d been working on an adaptation of Harold and the Purple Crayon?.
And heck, why not?. The past couple years it feels like we’ve done nothing but playing in the past. GI JOE, Star Trek, Land of the Lost. How did we get here where nearly every piece of mainstream entertainment is a version of something else?

I remember a number of years ago when I was running a film club for a group of high school students. After watching a couple clips one of the students remarked how lucky I was to have grown up in the 80s when all the great movies were made.

It’s hard to look at the decade that brought us Police Academy 1 to 6 as a renaissance, but then again as least the good filmmakers were making something out of nothing. E.T. Back to the Future. Ghostbusters. All classic, entertaining films with inspiration to spare. What can we look forward to now? Ghostbusters 3 . Fantastic. Flabby phantom versions of the original.

Time to stop looking backwards.
I think I can survive without the next remake of Clash of the Titans, Thundercats and whatever else is in the pipe.
It’s time to see something new at the movies again.
As the boy king says, "Let the Wild Rumpus Start!"

Friday, October 9, 2009


My Couples Retreat review?


No it's not the worst comedy in the world.
But it certainly is lame.
Lame, predictable and with about as much bite as a Friends sitcom.

Surprised? I doubt it, but I was disappointed considering the talent available for this one.
As I've being talking about on air, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughan made a big splash with Swingers in '96. They put their heart on their sleeves, poured their own money into it and made something real, something funny and touching.

You may not have liked the guys hitting the clubs in Swingers but I think you believed them. Do you believe Vince Vaughan as the henpecked husband? Not for a second. It's because Swingers came from a place of truth. Couples Retreat? The place of "Wouldn't it be flash to shoot a film in Bora Bora?"

Alack and alas.

Although I do want to draw your attention to one of my particular hang ups. Trailers That Don't Match Their Movies. If you watch the trailer to Couples Retreat you'll see some shots making it incredibly obvious Jon Favreau and his wife Kristin Davis are cheating on each other.

Now, unless I dozed off it seems those two little moments of infidelity are missing from the movie. Gone. Deleted.

The not-so-happy-couple still act like a couple of cheaters, so why snip out the evidence?
My theory is that when they tested the film audiences didn't like the couple's behaviour. So, bam, it's gone. Although most of us saw it in the trailer anyway. Silly and gutless.

And what about Vince Vaughan? Remember when he first burst on the scene? Sure there was the swagger, but there's was also an edge there. An actor not afraid to push the audience.
So what happened? Well here's his buddy Jon Favreau with the answer. This is from the great show Dinner for 5. It starts with Tony Shalhoub talking about actors who take risks.
(Follow the link or skip ahead to 1.42 in the video below.)

There you go. "Protecting the franchise." Now, of course Favreau wasn't talking about Vaughan there, but it's perfectly applicable. And we all know what the Vince Vaughan franchise is: The smart-ass friend. The angry tall dude with a penchant for put downs. What kills me with something like this is I know Vaughan can be funny. I watched him joshing with the cast during the promotional interviews. He's a naturally charming guy. But not the best choice for a puffy comedy about husbands and wives.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Garden State + Slap Shot

Who knew they were such fun?

The past couple days I've been spending a serious amount of time reading up on the skater-gal subculture. I've been learning the lingo (fresh meat = new recruits) and making a list of my fav derby names. (Axles of Evil, Nutcracker, Mack Truck Mel & Vega Vendetta)

The new movie WHIP IT, starring Ellen Page, is the reason for my new-found obsession. I liked Whip It when I saw it and I'm liking it more as time passes.

Part of my hesitancy was when I first watched Whip It was I focusing perhaps a little to much on Drew Barrymore's directorial debut. Was the music mixed too low? Should she have gotten better coverage of the action scenes? Why did you bother to set this in Texas when the actors sound as Southern as Woody Allen? All true, but those are small quibbles.
As I've had some distance, I'm growing impressed with what Drew was able to do here. Here's an actress that is no Megan Fox. Her look is a little more off-kilter, and that's a good thing because it forced her to develop other talents. Comic chops. A unique voice.

Then Drew finds this screenplay based on a book about RollerDerby gals, written by someone who put on skates herself. Drew tells the screenwriter, keep it messy, keep it raw. The result, a grrl power movie with some guts. The mother character isn't a total caricature. The loose ends are left hanging.

In a world of crappy remakes like FAME and plastic preachy flicks ala HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Whip It is a rallying cry, filled with real gals who are strong, smart and happen to look fine in fishnets.

By the way, keep an eye out for Ellen Page's teammates in the Hurl Scouts. Seems Drew called in a lot of favours for this film.

Zoe Bell stuntwoman/actress is there, as it SNL's Kristen Wiig, R&B star Eve and Andrew Wilson is their coach Razor. He's the bearded brother of Luke and Owen Wilson.

See you out on the rink!

Friday, September 25, 2009


This week one of my favourites from the Toronto International Film Festival comes out. Bright Star is directed by Jane Campion, who gave us The Piano and other fine films.

In the past Campion's films have had an edge to them, she's been described as a feminist filmmaker, whatever that means.

But it's been a number of years since we last heard from her and her tone, her approach has somewhat softened. Bright Star isn't a film with an agenda, other than to pay tribute to a luminous love story.

You'll see a lot of reviews with words like "luminous" for Bright Star. It' s not just because we're trying to be punny. It's because this is a film where light is spilling off the screen. Set in 19th-Century Britain, Campion contrasts the bleak English countryside with the colour-wild costumes the characters wear. It's a feast for the eyes and soul.

Bright Star tells the tale of the relationship between poet John Keats (a thing of beauty is a joy for ever) and his neighbour Fanny Brawne. Keep you eyes out for Paul Schneider as Charles Brown, Keat's partner-in-poetry who tries to keep his friend from Fanny's clutches.

Although the movie is filled with memorable images, (a hand pressing a note against glass) it's also a movie about words. You wouldn't think that a movie about writing poems could sustain itself for two hours, but it does. Consider it a love letter to language.

Once you do go see Bright Star may I recommend you listen to the podcast The Treatment. Elvis Mitchell recently interviewed Jane Campion and you can hear why Campion took a break from directing and how her fascination with needlework dovetails into Fannie's character.


Friday, September 11, 2009


Hi there. The blog's going to the dogs right now while I go crazy at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The festival is already underway and I'm spending most of my days in the dark.

If you're interested the best thing to do is to follow me on twitter for links to articles and instant reviews.

I wrote a cheat sheet to help get the fest started right. You can find a whole bunch of reviews at CBC Toronto's Metro Morning site.

Otherwise I'll be contributing to the CBC TIFFpage at

Some of the films I'm looking forward to include: A Serious Man, The Informant, Up in the Air, Colony, Google Baby, The Art of the Steal, The Damned United and The Wild Hunt.

See ya in the lineup.

(thanks to TIFF insider for the photo.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

1000% Cinema (Taking on Tetro)

There's a small film from a big director that might get lost in the shuffle of this weekend's flurry of new releases.

Tetro is filled with bold, brash and at times boisterous filmmaking, directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola. And once again the man who gave us The Godfather is bringing us back into the land of brothers. But this is no ordinary pair of siblings.

There is Ben, the sailor, well really a waiter from a cruise ship, who longs to reunite with his volatile older brother Tetro.

Actor Vincent Gallo does his thing, simmering through this movie. His sharp angular face is a good match for the playful cinematography, filled with light shimmering like a reflecting pool.

Coppola has not directed since 2007 and Youth Without Youth . He's said of Tetro, "Nothing in this movie ever really happened, but it's all true." And we are swimming in Coppola's passions here. There references to obscure films, operas and masquerades.

This is a rich film, perhaps too rich for some, but it's also refreshing, like discovering a time capsule, uninfected by the BPM editing style of the 2000s.
True it does go a little off the rails in the last act, Coppola throwing in jabs at critics while Gallo struts around like a greased up groupie for ShaNaNa.

But all in all, I say it's a worthy immersion into the land of pure cinema. A tale of family and art locked in combat set on the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires. Bravo Maestro, take a bow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Embracing Your Inner Child

I'll be on air today dishing the goods on the Julie & Julia. (Oh food-related puns, where would I be without you?)

10 second verdict. Disappointingly fluffy film, but worth seeing for Meryl Streep's performance as Julia Child. No surprise there, but Streep's Child is great fun, the most comedic character she's played in years. (Quiet down about Mama Mia, it doesn't count and I didn't believe her as the hotel-running hippie.)

In the process of boning up on all things Julia I've uncovered a couple links to compliment your viewing experience. Below you can watch Julia making eggs. A simple taste of the chef's charms.

Also in case you've seen the film, and you're wondering what the real Julie Powell thinks of her on screen incarnation, you can read it here on Julie's real blog.

And finally after watching Stanley Tucci hold his own with Streep I had to go find a photo of the real husband of Julia, Paul Child. So there he is up top on the right in case you're curious. Bon Appetit.