Daily Archives: September 9, 2005

Memory Of A Killer

The original title of this Flemish police proceduralThe Alzheimer Caserefers to the fact that its vengeful hit man, like the hero of Memento, suffers from periodic bouts of amnesia and struggles to plan his moves in relation to them. This may sound gimmicky, but director Erik Van Looy skillfully profiles both the assassin (Jan Decleir, suggesting a tougher, over-the-hill version of Michel Piccoli) and the Antwerp detectives investigating his crimes. Van Looy and Carl Joos adapted a novel by Jef Geeraerts to produce this violent, sleazy story (2003). In Dutch and French with subtitles. R, 120 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Man

When in doubt, go for the fart jokes. Better yet, team the ultimate nerd (Eugene Levy, as a dental equipment salesman) with the ultimate hardass (Samuel L. Jackson, as a grouchy federal agent). Have them meet accidentally, take turns calling the other my bitch, and go after some killers. The only characters in this formulaic crime comedy that I halfway liked were a couple of barely glimpsed wives, but the two leads keep it going through sheer determination. Les Mayfield (Flubber) directed. PG-13, 84 min. (JR)… Read more »

Milwaukee, Minnesota

In more humanistic eras like the 1930s, movies sometimes wore their sentimentality on their sleeve, but today they’re more apt to announce their flakiness. This unpleasant 2003 feature by first-time indie director Allan Mindel concerns a naive young man (Troy Garity) who’s won some money as a champion ice fisherman. Left alone after the death of his bossy mother, he attracts various predators, including an oily salesman (Randy Quaid) and a flirtatious drifter (Alison Folland) with a kid brother. Not bad to look at, but consistently unedifying. With Bruce Dern. R, 95 min. (JR)… Read more »

Elevator To The Gallows

The debut feature of Louis Malle, this efficient but soulless 1957 thriller is often classified as part of the French New Wave, though that reputation seems unwarranted. The defining situationan adulterer who’s just committed a murder (Maurice Ronet) patiently tries to pry his way out of a stuck elevatorshows the influence of Robert Bresson, for whom Malle worked as an assistant. There’s also some of the youthful insolence of Roger Vadim (And God Created Woman) when two young lovers take the killer’s car for a joyride. But the incompatibility of these influences suggests how little Malle’s absorbed them, though he gives Jeanne Moreau a juicy early role as the murder victim’s wife and engages Miles Davis to play the score (used conventionally as mood music). Also known as Frantic. In French with subtitles. 88 min. (JR)… Read more »