I know, I’m still going on about Midnight in Paris (review), but it fairly well kicked ass this weekend in limited release averaging around $96K per each of its 6 locations in NY and LA. That’s what you call a terrific debut. (See the release schedule here.)

Also some good news for the other recent LiC favorite The Tree of Life which won the Palme d’Or this weekend. Tree was the odds on Vegas favorite before the festival started, but honestly I had my money on Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid with a Bike. Shows you what I know.

Not a lot new to report back on moviewise this weekend. I’m writing to you from a super-secret Seattle location where I’ve been on vacation from LA and from movies… which is a little ironic because the fantastic Seattle International Film Festival which runs nearly a month and shows an absurd number of films started on the 19th.

Anyway, I’m on a bit of a Woody kick so I streamed Manhattan Murder Mystery on Netflix. Great fun.

There it is. It’s your turn. Seen anything good lately?

13 Responses to “Midnight Watecooler in Paris – Live from Seattle”

  1. Craig, I can’t wait to see the Woodman’s new film, and hope to do so over the next few days. Same goes for THE TREE OF LIFE, the expected Palme d’Or winner. As far as the Dardennes, I’d say their two previous wins would strongly mitigate against another top prize. Same goes for Von Trier, who won for DANCER a decade ago.

    This week represents one of those rare instances where I didn’t manage any new releases in the theatres, (I was especially disappointed to miss the new Woody Allen film, but this coming week I will rectify this) though my wife and kids saw the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Lucille and I saw a local professional company’s staging of Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Sunday afternoon by the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan company. This world-known opera company, based locally, has been staging operettas from the beloved dup since 1937, and their PINAFORE is pure musical bliss. Not even a Broadway production can eclipse the work they do, with first-rate singing, staging and costuming. Just to hear and watch the famed number “I Am An Englishman” is enough to give you goose bumps, but I really need to do a full review on this. This was one of the most delightful Sunday afternoons Lucille and I enjoyed in a very long time. I also made three screenings of classic films at the Film Forum and the Jersey City Loews:

    The Makioka Sisters **** 1/2 (Monday night) Film Forum

    Barry Lyndon ***** (Friday night) Jersey City Loews Landmark

    Sunrise ***** (Saturday night) Jersey City Loews Landmark

    Kon Ichikawa’s exquisitely beautiful THE MAKIOKA SISTERS represented for the veteran director a triumphant late-career return to the cinema with a film of emotional depth and sensual beauty. The pink cherry blossom montage at the start and glorious use of Handel’s “Ombra Mai Fu” from Xerxes set a mesmerizing and seductive tone for the remainder of this near-masterpiece, a film that will soon be released on a Criterion blu-ray.

    After Friday night’s screening of BARRY LYNDON on the gigantic Lowes Jersey City Landmark’s screen, I am now of the opinion that this ravishing opus is Stanley Kubrick’s greatest film. It’s a close call with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for me, but this visually intoxicating masterpiece is one of the cinema’s most impressively filmed period pieces. John Alcott’s cinematography is a model of its kind. But heck, who do I really have to convince at this site or anywhere else that BARRY LYNDON is a staggering masterpiece? Ha! But I’ll not soon or ever forget Friday night, and (impatiently) await the delivery of my Kubrick blu-ray set that includes the film.

    Then again at the Jersey City Loews on Saturday night, a true wonderment was offered up: F.W. Murnau’s 1927 SUNRISE, one of the greatest films in the history of the cinema, and for me one of the two supreme silent works (the other is Dreyer’s THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC) and a film of defining emotional resonance. Seeing it with spectacular organ accompaniment that was greeted with frenzied applause at the conclusion, one can only question whether they have truly seen this film as it was meant to be seen. I hope to get to a full report of this unforgettable weekend at the movie palace at some point.

  2. It’s too bad you didn’t have more time to take in a bit of the festival, Craig, but these things happen. I caught Tangled on DVD this weekend, which I enjoyed but I found the musical numbers a bit tedious at times. I think maybe perhaps possibly that this film wasn’t made for me, so I chalked it up to that.

    On Sunday I saw Incendies, which was quite good but the ending threw me for something of a loop. I knew nothing about the film going in and didn’t really know what to expect of it, so I was caught somewhat off-guard. Overall, the acting and the storytelling were excellent, but I think maybe the narrative was a bit much. I’m still mulling through it all.

    I also think NPR may have spoiled the plot point of Midnight in Paris that you tried to carefully avoid revealing in your review. If so, it’s disappointing but I guess I have only myself to blame for not turning off the radio the second they started blabbering about the film. I should know better by now.

  3. Sam, that’s quite a line up to make up for not seeing anything new.

    Barry Lyndon has slowly and quietly become my favorite Kubrick film and of course Sunrise is a classic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Makioka Sisters before.

    I think BECAUSE the Daredennes had struck twice before is what made me think they’d be a surprise winner this time around. Their film was well received, but wasn’t as buzzy as either Tree of Life or Le Havre or The Artist.

    Joel, don’t worry too much about Midnight in Paris. I haven’t read a single review that doesn’t unapologetically storm across the film’s little narrative conceit. I wrote around it in my review because both the trailer and the press notes are coy about what happens and it was kind of nice not knowing, but it’s really better if you don’t focus on it and just kind of enjoy the movie as it is.

    As for Incendies, you know I was almost prepared to reject the whole movie for about 2 seconds there at the end. It just became too much to believe, but the fact that the whole thing was kind of an impressionistic what-if scenario and the fact that ultimately it was very movie, it won me over. I haven’t read a lot of reviews, but I have a feeling the negative ones will focus on just how nearly ridiculous and melodramatic some of the plot developments are, but it had me in its bubble the whole way through and it worked.

  4. Aw, I was so looking forward to your snark-filled review of the 4th POTC movie. Well, okay, I wasn’t really.

    I was home with TCM again this weekend. Revisted Night of the Hunter. Damn, Robert Mitchum was a scary villain. Right after that I watched the original Cat People with Simone Simon and directed by Tourneur, the very same who directed Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past. See what they did there?

  5. haha Alison.

    I almost tuned in to Night of the Hunter over the weekend. I’m staying at a friend’s house who has cable. TCM is a rare treat for me since I refuse to submit to the tyranny of Time/Warner Cable. Love both Hunter and Cat People.

  6. While in Boston this past week, I managed to get away to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D at the big AMC Loew’s multiplex on Boston Common. It was fantastic, just getting to see inside those caves like that. It felt every bit the rare privilege it was, and really resonated with me. The filmmaking itself I don’t think is Herzog’s best, but the subject matter made that irrelevant for me. I thought the 3D made all the difference in this film–I’ve seen the paintings before, but I’ve never marveled at them like that. The complexities of the shading and the way it sensically and aesthetically made use of the contours of the walls just floored me. I’d never have been able to appreciate that without the 3D. The 3D doesn’t work in every scene, and there’s an almost nauseating problem with focus in a few as the camera pans to its real target. The characters were interesting and Herzogian, but the art was for once the real star. The other thing that got me was the red handprints throughout the cave by the cave-guy with the crooked pinkie. My siblings, Mom and I all have a hereditary trait of crooked pinkies. I’m not saying the dude is my great grandpappy to the nth power or anything, just that it was neat to have this one odd, specific thing in common with someone from so long ago.

    I was also on a bit of a Woody kick and watched Play It Again Sam for the first time. Funny stuff. Diane Keaton sure was pretty in it.

    Then yesterday I finally caught up with 127 Hours. It was intense. Good. Not Best Pic material, but certainly more interesting work from Boyle and especially Franco. Made me cry and fret and laugh and all kinds of good movie things. Glad I finally watched it.

  7. Is it odd to say I totally agree with you about Cave JB even if my response is colored a little different than yours. The subject made it a slam dunk for me, but at the same time it made me want so so so much more. I honestly am not convinced Herzog was quite the right guy for this, much as I love him, and yet, you can’t really be the wrong guy because, come on! there are cave man hand prints! that’s just amazing.

    As for the 3D, it had it’s good points (loved the sense of cavey depth) but it definitely had its drawbacks. I’d like to see it again ASAP sans 3D, but I admire the reasons for making it that way.

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed Cave of Forgotten Dreams, JB! I enjoyed it quite a bit too, and I agree that at times the 3D worked amazingly well and in a couple instances, it was stomach-turning. But it would not have been the same film without it.

  9. It felt like a double privilege for me, just because it’s not a film that will play anywhere near where I live, so it was especially heartening to be able to catch it while traveling to a major city. Lucky me. :)

  10. I was in the mood for some light entertainment and ended up seeing “Bridesmaids.” Being a fan of Ms. Wiig, I was thoroughly satisfied with the film. Funny, bawdy, silly, etc. Nothing to write home about but a fun night out at the movies.

    I also caught a very disturbing docu from 2004 about Henry Darger called “In the Realm of the Unreal.” I was very shaken by the story’s subject and haven’t managed to stop thinking about it. It’s the troubling yet at times awe-inducing story of a reclusive man who worked in menial jobs during the day, then escaped into a fantasy world of his own creation at night. He left behind a 15,000 page “novel,” hundreds of illustrations, an autobiography, and other paintings. Shortly before he passed away, his landlords discovered the materials. I believe they kept up his place as a museum of sorts until 2000 (he died in 1973). I’m fascinated by the idea of someone capable of creating an intricately complex parallel universe that is so undeniably grounded in the artist’s realities. The man was a tragic figure, his work fanciful but at times very disturbing to me personally. I can only compare the docu (and my visceral reaction to it) to Crumb.

    I’ll be watching “All Good Things” tonight (I’m on vacation, too, Craig, yay!) and “Blue Valentine” tomorrow to keep up with my mini Ryan Gosling fest :)

    Also, thrilled that Tree of Life took the big prize at Cannes, I cannot wait to see that film (and happy for Kiki Dunst, who I think is a very capable actress when given the right roles)

  11. Good call on Bridesmaids DP. I went in expecting nothing at all and I laughed a lot. I think you can nitpick it cinematically, the story was pretty sloppy etc., but who cares? Funny is funny.

    I heard about In The Realm of the Unreal and it sounds fascinating. I think I wrote it up in a Weekend Forecast at some point and I remember thinking it sounded good but then never got around to it. I shall have to take another crack at it.

    I had some issues with All Good Things, it tried to do too much, but Gosling and Dunst and some of the supporting cast were terrific. It wasn’t perfect but it deserved a bit more attention than it got.

  12. Craig, if you do end up seeing “Realm,” I’m very much looking forward to your reaction. It’s a very polarizing film, we’ll see if we fall on the same side ;)

  13. Well that’s an irresistible challenge. I looked for it streaming at Netflix or Amazon or Hulu but no luck so I’ll throw it in my Netflix queue and hopefully get to it this weekend.

    I just noticed (and you’d already said so) that it came out in 2004 so that doesn’t explain why I would’ve written about it or when, so I’m not sure why it sounds familiar. But oh well.

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