Monday, October 10, 2011

LFF: updated guidance


Current tally: 40

360 (DHammerhead thesis — sex compromises! — woven into by-the-numbers anomie quilt. Whole cast might as well be in bad wig and raincoat

50/50 (C+) Overproud of its cancercom "bravery", esp when all diagnosis/treatment played for schtick. Central pairing does tickle and touch

LAS ACACIAS (B) Simple and strong, in rich tradition of Argentinian road movies. A lovely debut

ALPS (B+) Might have been hallucinating, but nervy and suggestive in all the ways I'd hoped. Can't wait for a second go-round

AMERICANO (C+Suffers TTAC (total third act collapse) after decent first hour. Plenty good to look at, and I've never liked Hayek more

THE ARTIST (B+Pure pleasure, luminously charming, and melancholy about its ever-shifting medium. Not wild about the music

THE AWAKENING (C–) Love old-school spookery but this snoozes on job. Stiffer than it is elegant, succumbing to coy hysteria and batty reveals

BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (B+Hard to fail with footage this great, and fail they don't. A sequential scrapbook: more fury than filth

CARNAGE (C) Brittle and dwindling, a crabbiness convention hitting oddly flat highs. Play already a relic, like out-of-print art catalogue

A CAT IN PARIS (C+) Perfectly diverting, even if undercooked design and ho-hum story elements cap your enthusiasm

CORIOLANUS (B–A jaggedly functional read on the play; contemporising hits and misses, but Redgrave is awesome

CORPO CELESTE (B+Faith at a low ebb, a priest who's given up, and a young girl choosing her own rites of passage. Hums with unruly life

DARK HORSE (D+Listless schlubcom, unredeemed by half-ironic empathy, and this from someone who usually has time for Solondz

DARWIN (BNot quite BOMBAY BEACH, but dustily eccentric community doc with the flavour of mad home brew. Pop 35 Nevada shantytowns FTW

THE DEEP BLUE SEA (BVelvety, classical staging, terrific Weisz performance, a slight air of Davies falling back on old devices

THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD (B–) Marston's story of Albanian blood-feud feels a little dutiful and box-ticking, but it's certainly not bad

THE FUTURE (C+Hemlock for many, and often exasperating, but some ideas do stick

HERE (C–) Cartography-as-metaphor comes off as studenty as it sounds; experimental inserts feel, well, inserted. And loooong

THE HOUSE (CComposed with skill, but ruthlessly on-the-nose in its symbols and conflicts

HUT IN THE WOODS (B–) Didn't need such a dungeon-dim look, but brave & quite affecting, like Andrew Kötting with a gentler hair shirt 

LAST WINTER (B–) Shivery lensing plunges you into the Hardy-esque setting, but protag and his plight remain frustratingly opaque 

LIKE CRAZY (C+Tender, plausible, but no lift-off: it's too hung up on the glum practicalities of across-the-pond dating. Jones good

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (B+Sculpted in shards, unnerving in both timeframes. A brittle thing, but woozily accomplished. Olsen rivets

NATURAL SELECTION (CMatt O'Leary scores, but Rachael Harris' biological stepmom is a tiresome main character. All a bit rotely Sundancey

NOBODY ELSE BUT YOU (POUPOUPIDOU) (CShaggy-dog neige noir needs brighter lead 'tec, more pulse, point. Quizzical tone gets tiresome

OSLO, AUGUST 31st (B+Day-out-of-rehab thinkfest earns despair with clear eyes; it's about craving oblivion when all the wrong people care

PARIAH (BOvercomes hurdles of cliché with vigour and fresh feeling. Nicely tentative, and doesn't grope too hard for gift-wrapped closure

SARAH PALIN: YOU BETCHA! (C) Too little too late, failing to marshal obstacles to access into any kind of revealing narrative

SHAME (B+) Questionable material, especially at the climax, but bracing, bruising stuff in every area of style and performance

SHE MONKEYS (B–Familiar but supple debut about girl-on-girl teen desire, with side order of equestrian acrobatics

SHOCK HEAD SOUL (C+) Egghead psychiatry curio will win fans, but leaves us little the wiser about fin-de-siècle madness. Preferred BODYSONG

SLEEPING SICKNESS (A–My pick of the Berlinale: a spellbinding Conradian drama about going native in Cameroon

SNOWTOWN (A–Not for gran, unless she's Rose West. Sordidly devastating, and puts the "bleak" in "oblique", while digging its way into you

THE SUN-BEATEN PATH (D+Cookies for anyone who keeps their eyelids open through the whole of this "New Tibetan" road-trip non-event

TALES OF THE NIGHT (B–A portmanteau grab bag with lovely sections for Ocelot fans, though it's middling for him

VOLCANO (BIcelandic retirement drama, keenly shot, judged and acted, with vivid relationships

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (A–) Coolly shattering, a jigsaw of grief and self-recrimination, with peak Tilda

WEEKEND (A) Modestly breathtaking, gorgeously real. Pillow talk so searching and intimate it left me floating on a cloud

WITHOUT (B+A sideswipe building from nowhere; ploughs into alarming, depressive territory after lullingly affectless start

WUTHERING HEIGHTS (B–Wholly admirable formally, even if it's intractable and laboured in the retelling