Daily Archives: February 14, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

A divorced New York adman (Ryan Reynolds) gives his insufferably precocious ten-year-old (Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine) a lengthy account of his early love life, conveyed in flashbacks that begin shortly before his leaving Madison, Wisconsin, to work on Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign as a political consultant. This highly uneven comedy by writer-director Adam Brooks (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) might be easier to take if it were less infatuated with its own cuteness. With Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, and Kevin Kline. PG-13, 111 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Band’s Visit

This debut feature by writer-director Eran Kolirin follows the confusions and minor comic adventures of the eight-piece Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, which sets off from Egypt to perform at an Arab cultural center in Israel and gets stranded in the wrong town on the edge of a desert. Not much of consequence happens, apart from the musicians communicating with the locals in English and getting housed and fed and entertained by a few of them. But Kolirin has a fine sense of where to place the camera and when to cut between shots for maximum comic effect, and his two lead actorsSasson Gabai as the band’s conductor and Ronit Elkabetz (Or) as one of the localsare terrific. (Incidentally, both are Israeli Jews.) In English and subtitled Arabic and Hebrew. PG-13, 87 min. (JR)… Read more »

Zegen

Shohei Imamura’s mordant, corrosive satire about Japanese imperialism (1987) is based on the autobiography of Iheiji Muraoka, a Japanese barber in Hong Kong who was ordered by the Japanese consulate to spy on Russians in Manchuria in the early 1900s. Played by Ken Ogata, the barber invests his earnings in a brothel and, anticipating the Japanese invasion of countries stretching from Manchuria to Malaysia, opens a string of such establishments across east Asia and defends his activity as a form of higher patriotism. (None of the action is set in Japan itself.) This being an Imamura film, the caricatures are laid on rather thick, but the high spirits carry the sarcasm. Also known as Pimp. In Japanese with subtitles. 124 min. (JR)… Read more »