Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Quickies

My Afternoons with Margueritte  (2010) ✭✭✭✭

A sunny, uplifting film and well worth an evening’s viewing. Depardieu looked freakishly fat in the publicity stills, but the added avoirdupois seems perfect for his character here. Relaxed and enjoyable, the movie doesn’t scream at us and serves as a vivid reminder of Depardieu’s comedic charisma.

The Beautiful Person (2008) ✭✭✭ 1/2

The gray winter light of Paris perfectly frames this tale of free love at a Parisian high school. Director Christophe Honoré has put out some iffy stuff over the years, but this time he balances the dynamics into a nicely restrained tension. Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel spark an intriguing romantic chemistry, and the film exploits dark, bittersweet moments of confused romance to the fullest.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) ✭✭✭

Mike Nichols’ first film, and considering the assemblage of scenery chewers in his cast, it’s amazing he came out alive. Stagebound and excessively acted, it’s a testament to Edward Albee’s writing skills that the damn thing is even remotely watchable. Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and George Segal all take their turns on the grandstand, while Sandy Dennis runs off to vomit whenever the momentum lags. Some folks think it’s one of the greatest films ever made. I won’t go that far, but I’ll concede it’s a magnificent piece of classic American trash. However it’s clearly at least 30 minutes too long.

Somewhere (2010) ✭✭✭✭✭

Sofia Coppola’s cinematic poem amuses, disturbs and mesmerizes. All about the lonely, decadent life of a Hollywood movie star, the film emits a basic honesty and objectiveness that makes it seems much greater than its simple individual parts. If you liked Lost in Translation, you’ll find this thematically similar gem equally effective.

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