Daily Archives: September 22, 2006

All The King’s Men

I’ve never entirely bought Robert Rossen’s celebrated 1949 movie adaptation of the Robert Penn Warren novel about a fictionalized Huey Long, but at least it has a coherent shape. This airless, scaled-down version by Steven Zaillian (Searching for Bobby Fischer) has a credible lead performance by Sean Penn and a handsome mannerist look that suggests an almost diagrammatic sense of dramatic abstraction. Yet the unfocused story is so bereft of any clear sense of period or location that the political melodrama sometimes seems to be taking place inside a cigar box. With Jude Law (adrift), Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, and Anthony Hopkins. PG-13, 120 min. (JR)… Read more »

Woman Is The Future Of Man

To quote the Argentinean film critic Quintin, the subject of South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo (The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well, Turning Gate) is the microphysics of relations, the deconstruction of love and sex, and though Hong lacks the usual fashionable cynicism, his work is infused with a bittersweet melancholy. This calmly shaped 2004 feature begins with the reunion of two college chums, a film director just returned from the U.S. and a university art professor, which leads to their looking up an attractive painter (Sung Hyun-ah) with whom they were both involved. The regrets of both men slowly accumulate, and the lack of any melodramatic revelation is more than compensated for by the naturalness of the three leads. In Korean with subtitles. 88 min. (JR)… Read more »

Haven

This interminable, poorly constructed drug thriller by writer-director Frank E. Flowers sat on the shelf for two years before winning a release. When the feds start closing in on a Miami dealer (Bill Paxton), he flees to the Cayman Islands with his innocent young daughter (Agnes Bruckner) and $1 million that he hopes to launder through a cynical British banker (Stephen Dillane). Once they’ve arrived the daughter hooks up with a boy (Victor Rasuk) who’s connected to the local drug trade, and Flowers keeps shifting to others in the same orbit while flashbacks supposedly explain what’s going on. With Orlando Bloom. R, 98 min. (JR)… Read more »

Confetti

Just when I’m ready to write off the mockumentary as an exhausted form, along comes this delightful and hilarious improv comedy from the UK in which a bridal magazine sets up a promotional contest for the best offbeat wedding. The three finalist couples are thematically committed to tennis, musical comedy, and nudism, and a gay couple is assigned to guide them through their elaborate nuptials. Director Debbie Isitt falters when she tries to shoot an elaborate production number but triumphs in her cast’s quirky characterizations and the ensuing complications and contradictions (e.g., “Please get it into your thick head how much I respect you”). With Vincent Franklin, Jason Watkins, Stephen Mangan, Meredith MacNeill, Martin Freeman, Jessica Stevenson, Robert Webb, and Olivia Colman. R, 94 min. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Landmark’s Century Centre, River East 21.… Read more »