Friday, June 1, 2012

June Quickies

God is on Air (2002)*** 

Some folks have compared this to Network, but it relies too much on the low hanging fruit of Reality TV skewering and never reaches the darkly profound levels of the 1976 classic. But on its own merits, God is on Air is fast paced and funny, even if the joke eventually gets a little tiresome. The brooding presence of Candela Pena adds a star.

Filme Socialiisme (2010)****

Godard, at age 80, is still baffling, impenetrable and brilliant. For some reason, this obtuse essay reminded me of Week End without the grotesque violence. The director delves into European history, generational accountability and familiar themes of obsessive materialism and class struggle. Beautifully shot on digital video, Filme Socialiisme contains visual allusions to earlier Godard pieces that seem to organically grow and expand on the original sources.

The Concert (2009)****1/2

An unashamed sentimental comedy that begins entertaining with the first frame and never lets up. All about a former conductor (Aleksy Guskov) - disgraced by Soviet authorities 30 years ago and now gone to seed - and his attempt to reform his once famous orchestra for a final concert in Paris. The story moves quickly and pursues a number of hilarious and bittersweet tributaries along the way. Occasionally relies too much on ethnic stereotypes for laughs, but all is forgiven in the rousing and wonderful finale. Think Rocky for classical musicians, and if tears aren’t streaming down your cheeks by the end, have someone check your pulse.

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