Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Squid and the Whale - I still hold against Noah Baumbach the fact that he made Mr. Jealousy, a film I hated, so maybe I'm not the fairest critic, but I found this film a little too one-track minded. And I can't really say I *enjoyed* it. That being said, it's a sharp, brutal, powerful little film. Imagine what could happen if Woody Allen created a clone of himself who was able to see everything that's annoying about Woody Allen and then made a movie about it. Or imagine the worst, snobbiest, college-educated poser you've ever met. That's what this is about, two such parents (though mostly the father) and the effect they have on their kids, esp. as they go through a nasty divorce. Incredibly effective, one of the key films of year.

The Interpreter - Very strong performances, good pacing, beautiful cinematography, packed with details and twists that make it an enjoyably challenging thriller to keep up with, but don't expect any real meat in terms of message. The U.N. is more controversial than ever in U.S. political life this year, but the film doesn't really have much to say about it. (Even the peacenik character seems to have trouble committing to the idea that peaceful negotiation is the best solution.) I'd guess that someone behind the film thought that just taking the place seriously enough as to make it the center of a sexy intrigue is a gesture of political support. It's not much, but I suppose it's something. Also, (spoiler alert) even though I hate it when films unconvincingly rush two characters into love, this was one case where I think they could have ended up dating at least, without being disrespected as a Hollywood entertainment.

Shopgirl - A disappointment. Fine performance from Claire Danes, and an excellent humorous turn from Jason Schwartzman, but that's about all I can say for this dull romance. The biggest problem I had is that while it's very sweet and well-meaning (though a bit depressing at times), it's fairly patronizing toward the title character. Poor little woman needs to be looked out for by the big paternal voice in the sky. Gag me.

Song: "T*t for Tat" by World Leader Pretend



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