Daily Archives: October 21, 2005

Stay

Banking on the prestige of Monster’s Ball, director Marc Foster goes for broke in this hallucinatory free-for-all about a suicidal artist (Ryan Gosling), his psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor), and the psychiatrist’s lover (Naomi Watts), another suicidal artist who used to be his patient. Trying to solve various mysteries, the shrink soon becomes crazier than the other two. If this is a psychological thriller, I stopped being thrilled once I realized anything could happen; if it’s a mystery, the denouement raises more questions than it answers. With its flashy, pretentious visual effects, this is really a 98-minute dream sequencethough it’s worth recalling that the most effective dream sequences tend to be only a few minutes long. David Benioff (The 25th Hour) wrote the script; with Bob Hoskins and Janeane Garofalo. (JR)… Read more »

Good Night, And Good Luck

This claustrophobic drama about CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow facing down Joseph McCarthy in the early 50s delivers a timely lesson on cold-war hysteria, media politics, and journalistic courage, though the strong dichotomy between good and evil sometimes suggests a classic western. Director George Clooney shot the movie in black and white, combining actors (including David Strathairn as Murrow) with archival footage of McCarthy; the results are striking, though more theatrical than cinematic. The use of a jazz singer (Dianne Reeves) performing at the studio is especially effective, which helps one overlook the egregious anachronism of such a detail. With Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., and Frank Langella. PG, 90 min. (JR)… Read more »

Today And Tomorrow

This first feature by Argentinean Alejandro Chomski charts 24 hours in the increasingly desperate life of a young stage actress (Antonella Costa) in Buenos Aires. Faced with eviction after losing her job as a waitress, she reluctantly decides to turn some tricks, only to be dragged deeper into trouble. With a camera that dogs her steps and jump cuts that hurtle us from one moment to the next, Chomski displays a more expressive style than Costa, but the collaboration between the two is purposeful and effective. In Spanish with subtitles. 87 min. (JR)… Read more »

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman

I can’t say whether this 1971 feature is the best film by Brazilian master Nelson Pereira dos Santos, the father of Cinema Novo, but it’s the first one I saw, and it left the strongest impression. It describes the complex interactions between a French adventurer and a Tupinamba Indian tribe and charts a brilliantly comic and highly ironic ethnographic analysis of both; almost the entire cast is naked, and the overall message is that probably the only way the Frenchman can truly be absorbed by the tribe is nutritively. A must-see. In Portuguese with subtitles. 81 min. (JR)… Read more »

Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman does an impressive impersonation of Truman Capote in this biopic, directed with force and economy by Bennett Miller. Dan Futterman adapted a 1988 bio by Gerald Clarke, but the sharp script has a narrower, more polemical focus than the book, concentrating on the writing of In Cold Blood and arguing that Capote was destroyed by the project’s ethical and emotional conflicts. The depictions of novelist Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) and editor William Shawn (Bob Balaban) aren’t convincing, but Miller is mainly interested in Capote’s identification and duplicitous relationship with Perry Smith, one of the murderers he was writing about, and that story rings true. With Chris Cooper and Clifton Collins Jr. R, 98 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Esquire, Landmark’s Century Centre.… Read more »