This 2003 erotic thriller, the first feature by writer-director Matthew Parkhill, coasts along pretty well on the strength of its attractive Latino leads, Gael Garcia Bernal and Natalia Verbeke, until it gets around to showing its hand with a repulsive plot twist that bends the characters out of shape. Its trickery might seem cute or clever to viewers who don’t take either movies or people very seriously, but to me it recalled cynical puzzle films like Memento and Irreversible, with no reason to exist apart from its gimmick. With James D’Arcy. R, 92 min. (JR)… Read more »
Daily Archives: April 15, 2005
Jean-Luc Godard’s edgy, moribund reflection on the “children of Marx and Coca-Cola” had an exemplary vitality when it came out in 1966, with its currency, its mainly nonprofessional cast, and its determination to address anything and everything. It’s still a lively and interesting artifact, limited by its sexual politics, which are manifested in Godard’s attraction toward and contempt for women. Jean-Pierre Léaud, in one of his most touching roles, and his communist sidekick are the children of Marx, while Léaud’s girlfriend (rock singer Chantal Goya) and her pals are the children of Coca-Cola (few of the females are asked or even allowed to think). The jagged form should keep you on your toes; as Dave Kehr has noted, “Godard is very strict in his sloppiness.” In French with subtitles. 103 min.
Twenty years after its release, Albert Brooks’s third feature is still such a hilarious send-up of yuppie mentality that it might have been made yesterday. Brooks plays an obnoxious west-coast ad executive who’s so enraged when he fails to get an expected promotion that he quits his job, persuades his wife (Julie Hagerty) to do the same, and, spurred by fond memories of Easy Rider, takes off with her in a newly purchased Winnebago. As they travel cross-country with their $200,000 nest egg, an unforeseen disaster sends them deeper into the heart of the heartland than they’d counted on. All of Brooks’s comedies are good, but he hasn’t yet surpassed the first threeReal Life (1979), Modern Romance (1981), and this one. Director Garry Marshall has a great cameo as a Las Vegas casino owner, and Monica Johnson collaborated with Brooks on the script. R, 91 min. (JR)… Read more »
Hal Hartley’s previous feature, No Such Thing (2001), had a clever philosophical premise, but its style was so theatrical that many of the best speeches withered into pontification. This futuristic follow-up, resourcefully shot in DV, is even wilder in its social satire, and its deadpan dialogue is hilarious. Suggested in part by Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, it imagines a “dictatorshp of the consumer” in which citizens carry bar codes on their wrists and are regarded as “investments with growth potential” (especially when they have sex). This has a frenetic visual and editing style all its own, and an appealing cast: Bill Sage, Sabrina Lloyd, Tatiana Abracos, and Leo Fitzpatrick. 84 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Gene Siskel Film Center.… Read more »