December 22, 2011

I drove over the the Carousel Grande in Greensboro to see In The Abyss braving the rain and insane traffic, and the film has closed even though I’m still seeing it listed online through today. I’m annoyed.

Worse than the waste of time and energy is the fact that I really want to see Werner Herzog’s new documentary.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.



December 21, 2011

I have no intention of seeing the new Mission Impossible movie:  (1) very little interest in the franchise, and (2) can’t bear to think of 2:12 with Tom Cruise.


December 18, 2011

You know the type of movie that you want to like more than you do because of certain themes (for me, in this case, feminist themes that recall Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own)?

Mozart’s Sister (Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart) is like that in the sense that it is based on some historical fact – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did have an older sister who performed as a child but was not allowed by her father to compose music – but there are important parts of the film that challenge willing suspension of disbelief and seem too spot on to make the film more nuanced and complex than it is.

The film I wanted Mozart’s Sister to be, a movie with similar themes but more sting and ache and beauty, is another French film Camille Claudel.  In this historical drama, yet another female artist struggles against the patriarchy, but the story is richer with indelible scenes and images and moments throughout.

Isabelle Adjani plays the title role in this 1988 film, and Gerard Depardieu plays her mentor and lover, Auguste Rodin.  I don’t own too many DVDs aside from those I use in teaching and research, but there are some films I want to know that I can always see at a moment’s notice if I have a need to revisit them, and Camille Claudel is one of those films.




December 18, 2011

If Love Crime didn’t have English subtitles from the original French, it would be a Lifetime movie.  I’d like that hour and 46 minutes back, please.


December 15, 2011

This film is not entertaining in a way that will appeal to mass audiences or, perhaps, in any conventional way we think about entertainment.  But, it may be brilliant.  Meek’s Cutoff is not the first revisionist Western – those have been the most engaging films in the genre for about two generations — but more than any other I’ve seen, this one pushes the generic envelope.

Plot does not matter because Meek’s Cutoff is all about perspective, and we learn all we need to know about time and place and gender and race from the way director Kelly Reichardt tells the simple story – who says what to whom, when and how it is said, and how the camera records the actions and interactions of daily life on the Oregon Trail in 1845.

The image dominates the narrative, but framing and mise-en-scene work to evoke a slow sort of tension that is breathtaking.  I felt the same way about Reichardt’s film Wendy and Lucy, another film I find remarkable.

I love Meek’s Cutoff in ways that have touched me deeply, but I don’t expect most of you to like it very much.  That’s okay.

(Available on DVD.)

The Parking Lot Movie

December 8, 2011

This coming Monday The Parking Lot Movie is the featured film at a/perture in the cineclub series, and director Meghan Eckman will be in attendance for a Q & A session following the film.

The Parking Lot Movie examines a quirky subculture inhabited by the attendants at Corner Parking Lot in Charlottesville across from the University of Virginia. Over the years, a lot of graduate students work there and bring an interesting set of perspectives to the job.

It’s a little film but an engaging one.  I do have a predilection for this type of documentary, and you have one night to check it out for yourself – December 12th at 8 p.m.