Populaire - A very likeable bauble of a thing - a confectionery puff that pops along on pink and charisma. It's basically Rocky meets The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, if you can imagine such a thing, which you will be able to imagine once you see this movie. I make that Umbrellas reference knowing in my brain this movie is not a musical; it just feels like it's one anyway. The rat-a-tat of typewriters is its own sort of song, and Romain Duris moves like he's dancing no matter what he's doing. (Oh but he does dance.) It's not brain surgery or rocket science, it's not going to surprise you or shake you up, but it's totally pleasant enough.
The Man with the Iron Fists - Intermittent entertainment by way of gratuitous ridiculousness of all sorts - eyebrow and gore gags a must - wedged in between some of the most profound boredom ever put on screen. I suppose in its own way that's awfully true to the genre RZA's making sweet sweet love to here - the kung-fu movies he's emulating have for the most part always bored me to death as well. But I feel like this movie could be edited down to a five minute highlight reel and you wouldn't miss a damn thing. And RZA himself would have to be edited out of all of those five minutes, too.
Smashed - Playing drunk is really hard, y'all. You've got to be willing to go for it, to toss embarrassment (and your cookies, inevitably) by the wayside. But if you go too far you're a cartoon - WC Fields, hiccuping bubbles. Mary Elizabeth Winstead walks a fine line here but manages to keep this disaster of a girl recognizably human throughout. I just wish the movie had a little more to do, story-wise, though. It doesn't have a lot of oomph to it - it's observational to a fault. But I'm as grateful as any other Scott Pilgrim fan-boy to see MEW get the chance to stretch her chops like this, and she does a quite fine job - the scene with Mary Kay Place as her lout of a mother is especially well-tuned.
In the House - Movies about writers writing can be woefully tedious, but Ozon dazzles with this story of a teacher prodding (or is he being prodded by?) his gifted student into dangerous fits of voyeurism all for the sake of a juicy tale - it's Pasolini meets Choose Your Own Adventure! It's one of those movies that, once you realize where it's going you're all - why haven't I seen this before? It has the pleasure of discovery thrumming inside of it, and it yanks you along gladly. I got a little bit worried towards the end when it (and the characters inside of it) didn't seem to know how to find their ending, but then it goes and shushes you for your silly skepticism and sticks it note-perfect.
Sightseers - I'm not sure if it takes the movie a while to find its groove or if it took me awhile to slide into it, but for a movie playing right to my wheelhouse Sightseers and I didn't get friendly until at least halfway through. By the end we were old pals, though - speaking of good endings, this thing's last couple elevate the entire business ten-fold. Towards the start though I couldn't really get a handle on these folks - how much of a joke are they supposed to be? The movie seemed skittish about its own stance. Part of me thinks I just was having trouble keying into Ye Olde British Dry Humor. So... wobbly, for me, but filled with ace moments that steamroll towards greatness..
Re Man with the Iron Fists and this: "I feel like this movie could be edited down to a five minute highlight reel and you wouldn't miss a damn thing. And RZA himself would have to be edited out of all of those five minutes, too."
God Yes! All of that. In retrospect that movie should've just been about Lucy Lui and her brothel of bad-asses being bad-ass.The rest of it was a throw away. And confidential to RZA, please don't start the RZA monologues any time soon because you are monotone as all get out.
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