This week’s Watercooler Musical Interlude is Roy Budd’s moody/minimalist jazz theme from Mike Hodges’ Get Carter.

There’s a lot going on moviewise both in theaters and behind the scenes in critics’ screenings. For the former, I caught up with Ang Lee’s wonderful Life of Pi which I pretty much loved. Still putting my thoughts together on that one. For the latter, I saw Oscar hopeful Les Miserables yesterday and I’m off to see Zero Dark Thirty a few minutes after I post this. That leaves only Django Unchained as far as your Oscar movies go (is anyone seriously considering Hobbit? I’m not).

I’ll have more on the above later today. For now, that’s all from me. Now it’s your turn. Has anyone seen anything worth talking about since last week? Lay it on me.

13 Responses to “Carter Cooler”

  1. Nice! I haven’t heard that catchy minimalist interlude in some time, but much enjoyed the music this afternoon!

    Lucille and I (and Broadway Bob for a pair, and Sammy for the other two) managed four films this week, with three of those new releases:

    The Life of Pi **** 1/2 (Friday evening) Chelsea Cinemas

    Rust and Bone *** (Saturday night) Landmark Cinemas

    The Other Son (Sunday evening) Montclair Claridge Cinemas

    The Man in the White Suit (1951) ***** (Tuesday night) Film Forum

    I was seriously tempted to issue my sixth five-star rating of 2012 for Ang Lee’s THE LIFE OF PI, a film I must say I quite adore, but I will go with 4.5 and wait for further inspiration to elevate it down the line. It’s an amazing work that is sublime, exhilarating and deeply-moving, and it features some of the most ravsihing visuals seen in a film this year. The director of “Brokeback Mountain,” “Sense and Sensibility” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” adapted a well-known but only modestly-regarded novel about a young Indian, a zookeeper’s son (wonderfully played by a non-professional, Suraj Sharma) who is the sole survivor of an ocean wreck, and must live for months on a lifeboat and raft with a Bengal tiger. The pacific seascapes are stunning, and the use of 3D is astounding, especially in a flying fish showpieces, and one can only sit back and marvel at Claudio Miranda’s spellbindingly beautiful cinematography and 2012′s loveliest score by Mychael Danna, which rightly favors some awe-inspiring chorals. David Magee’s screenplay is mysterious and immersive and the great Irrfan Kahn is wonderful as the grown up main character-narrator.

    While I was rather disappointed by Jacques Audiard’s RUST AND BONE, which in any event does not remotely compare with the two masterful films by this talented French director that came before it (“The Prophet” and “The Beat That My Heart Skipped”) and the earlier gem “A Self-Made Hero”, I don’t deny the narrative in the last half-hour was moving and intense, and that it can’t be summarily dismissed. Yet, I am mystified at all the praise for Marion Cotillard, an excellent actress who here is immersed in mood swings in a story that’s incredibly ludicrous. It all comes down to her disability, and not in a good way. Audiard’s stylistics are again noteworthy, but there’s an unsual sentimental intrusion, that seems at odds with the more serious matters at hand here.

    Behind Ealing’s masterpiece “Kind Hearts and Coronets” the Alec Guiness/Joan Greenwood charmer THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, would be the most exceptional of the studio’s output, I am still scratching my head for not including this brilliant satiric work on my comedy countdown ballot! Douglas Slocombe’s luminous black and white was stunning negotiated in the DCP restoration on display for one week at the Film Forum.

    Note: As I will be seeing THE OTHER SON in three hours I will return with a brief follow-up rating and comment on this thread.

  2. Checked out Return on Netflix after reading about Linda Cardellini’s homegrown Oscar campaign. It’s a straight-forward character study that tells a pretty familiar story; but succeeds on the strength of Cardellini’s unaffected performance and the frank way the screenplay deals with its subject. A lot less precious or melodramatic than similar films (The Lucky Ones from a few years ago comes to mind). Cardellini’s performance isn’t showy so I don’t think Oscar is in the cards, but it’s a great performance/demo real that will serve her (and her career) well.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Lincoln last night. I was expecting a well-crafted film, but I wasn’t expecting one with this much humor and heart. Through the prism of history, the 13th amendment seems inevitable, but he film does a good job showing how convoluted the legislative process was and still is. Solid performances all around (even Sally Field’s histrionics seemed at home here); naturalistic dialogue from Kushner; lived-in sets and beautiful cinematography. My biggest criticism is that Spielberg still doesn’t know how to end his movies. The dissolve through the candle took me out of a movie I was already emotionally invested in.

  3. I agree on “Life of Pi”. A beautifully done film. Interesting how it changed aspect ratios for certain scenes too. Not sure I get why he did that exactly, but it definitely caught my attention.

    watched Umberto d last night. one of De Sica’s best films.

    cut a teaser trailer for a new short film I did which you guys should check out. :)

  4. Wow this teaser trailer for “Killing Mephisto” is terrific Ari!!!! I’d love to be able to watch the entire film when it is available. Deft editing and fascinating subject!

  5. thanks, sam. I’ll have it up on vimeo when it’s done.

    also, “Lincoln” holds up as one of the year’s best films. It’s an amazing work. Next week we finally get to see “Killing Them Softly”

  6. I’ve seen Lincoln twice now and have found it to be a masterpiece that holds up exceptionally well and indeed, actually improves and grows greater with additional scruity and viewing.

    Silver Linings Playbook was indeed roughly as disappointing as Sam, Craig and others have suggested. It’s not a bad film, but it’s most certainly highly overrated and rather inconsequential. Though I’ll admit that I thought Robert De Niro was quite good in it, and it was pleasing to see him impress once again. Cooper and Lawrence are very much all right, too, but the screenplay seemed compromised and unsure of itself.

    Killer teaser trailer, Ari. Made me really want to see your short film!

  7. I’ve still got a bunch of stuff to do tonight so I only have to second to check in to say that Lincoln now has competition in my affections with Zero Dark Thirty. It was wonderful.

  8. Craig, I’ll be very interested in reading any comments you have on Les Miserables, as that is one that I’m looking forward to.

    This weekend I saw Little Children with Kate Winslet on cable, which is an excellent movie, and in the theater I saw Lincoln. Count me in as one of the viewers impressed with Lincoln. DDL is fantastic and I agree with Pierre that his choice to raise the pitch of his voice for the character was truly inspired and it worked beautifully. The cast all around was terrific.

  9. thanks alex!

    I also watched “How to Steal a Million” again this weekend. Been a few years since I’ve seen it and it’s still a very entertaining classic movie.

  10. I’m now officially interested in Zero Dark Thirty — though I would’nt expect it to beat Lincoln at the Oscars simply because of the type of film it apparently is. Chastain, though, is an actress who’s better than appears because you don’t see her working at it.

    The surprise this weekend for me was Skyfall, which I think is a perfect film of its kind though I know Craig was less than awed by it.

    The trailer to Djano Unchained was quite fun — I’m hopeful to be audaciously entertained by the actual film.

    Alison, thanks for the mention — and I’m glad to learn your positive reactions to Lincoln, which I plan to see again sometime soon.

  11. Life of Pi was great. I have some minor quibbles with the bookends but it’s hard to complain about those in detail because of Irrfan Khan, who is excellent albeit it a small role. I really can’t stress enough how valuable the big screen experience is to this film and I’d even go so far as to suggest seeing it in 3D, something I rarely do. I felt the technology was exploited to its fullest extent, because depth and spatial distance heighten the tension between Pi and Richard Parker on the boat.

    The Academy really needs to figure out a way of rewarding fully animated performances. Richard Parker is an incredible creation and even some shots feature a real tiger, it’s extremely difficult to distinguish which those are.

  12. Sorry I’m so late getting back to this. I’ve been running off and doing one thing after another and I’m constantly feeling like I’m just getting caught up with stuff while more stuff gets piled on.

    Anyway…

    Sam, I’m with you 100% on Life of Pi. One of the more beautiful, moving and interesting pictures of 2012. I’m a little surprised though you didn’t go for Rust and Bone more strongly. I was a little bit in the middle on it too at first, but have since warmed up to it as an unconventional love story.

    WJ, I’d forgotten all about Cardellini in The Return. I’m a fan of hers and it’s great to see her doing good work like that. All in all an interesting movie, but yeah one that is unlikely to catch Oscar fire. The candle shot is the one moment in Lincoln I’m hesitant about, but I’m waiting for my return viewing to decide.

    Yes, Ari. Please keep me posted when you’re done, but please know your level of creative output is borderline depressing for me :)

    Alison, I’m sorry to report I didn’t think much of Les Miserables, though I have a strong feeling that fans of the various stage productions will love it. It was an interesting choice for Hooper to elevate the integrity of the singing by recording the songs live instead of overdubbing, but the problem for me is that so much of the music is pitched to 11 in order to reach a live audience removed from the stage, but in a film there are close-ups. You’re right up on stage with the performers and at times it almost feels like they’re shouting at you. Having said that, go ahead and give Hathaway her Oscar right now. It’s unfortunate there’s a whole hour and forty five minutes of movie left after Fantine checks out, but she’s great when she’s on screen. Hugh Jackman… I don’t know. He sings his ass off, but his character is kind of boring. Russell Crowe was an unfortunate choice for Javert. It’s not that his singing is bad (though it’s not great in my book), but he so much more intersting when he has a little bit of an edge and Javert is such a deadly square.

    I’ll be curious to hear what both you and Sam have to say as fans of the original production, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    Lincoln and DDL for the win!

    Pierre, I’m really high on Zero Dark Thirty. Not sure if it has the goods for Oscar and the fact that Bigelow has won very recently for Hurt Locker may count against it, but it’s great. A fascinating spy thriller capped off by an exciting action sequence. Great performances from Chastain and Jason Clarke. It unflinchingly looked at the whole process of tracking down Bin Laden without ever offering up judgment on our actions. Just showing us and letting hte audience decide for itself.

    Joel, I finally decided to see Life of Pi in 3D too simply because it’s Ang Lee. I hate wearing sunglasses in a movie theater and find the whole process mostly a tedious waste of time, but Lee gives you your money’s worth and he pulls off a lot of interesting effects that wouldn’t translate in 2D. I still have no idea what was real tiger and what was CGI, though I’m guessing most of it.

  13. My late addition to the film I saw late Sunday night:

    The Isreali drama THE OTHER SON by Lorraine Levy is a call for unity amidst the violent divisions that are always threatening co-existence in the world’s worst trouble spot. It’s a story about the accidental switching of a Palistian and Isreali baby that results in each being brought up in the opposite households. It’s about love, tolerance and how bonding will usually trump blood ties, but there are complications that include the search for identity and acceptance in long-standing traditions. The message may seem a bit too forced, and the border crossings are unrealistically lenient, but there is a surprising swath of feeling in the various meetings between two households that holds dramatic intrigue. The optimistic ending may be too much, but it matters little in this deeply affecting work.

    ****

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