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Capsule reviews #3

Time once again for another bunch of short reviews. I considered doing these as a podcast, but since I haven’t written much lately I thought I’d go that route instead. Quite a variety this time: art house, spy, action, drama, period, horror, and more. Something for everyone, I hope. Enjoy!

A Dangerous Method (2011) – A very, very talky film about Freud and Jung. I thought the acting was pretty much impeccable (Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley). I just found the movie itself to be a bit of a slog. I liked David Cronenberg’s last couple of outings (A History Of Violence and Eastern Promises), but this one left me a little cold. It’s just a very non-cinematic subject, as evidenced by several scenes showing the main characters writing snotty letters back and forth to each other (read to us in voice over). Perhaps the original stage play might’ve been more my speed.

Certified Copy (2010) – Quite an unusual film that left me wondering what I’d just seen. I don’t want to say too much about it, but simply put it’s a more philosophical/arty version of Before Sunrise/Before Sunset. Although that’s perhaps a poor comparison, since I loved those movies and only generally liked this one. Like A Dangerous Method, this movie is extremely talky. In fact, the whole thing is basically one long conversation. But the conversation takes some really interesting turns, and I found myself engrossed in it in a way that I wasn’t with Cronenberg’s movie. Juliette Binoche is characteristically excellent, and William Shimell holds his own opposite her in his film debut.

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2011: The Best Of The Rest

The summer blockbuster season was a pretty big disappointment to me, and this year’s crop of movies feels pretty underwhelming in general. So far I’ve only seen one film I consider particularly memorable (Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris). (EDIT: Make it two! Add Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life to my list of memorable films. Oct. 7) Looking back at last year, I count at least six or seven films I really loved. With two thirds of the year gone, it’s starting to feel like time is running out.

But the good news is there are still plenty of movies to come in the next four months or so. In all, I count around 40 more films I’m at least somewhat interested in seeing. So as we head toward Oscar season, now’s a good time to separate the wheat from the chaff and count down my top 10 most anticipated films for the rest of 2011.

10. Tyrannosaur
The story: Olivia Colman stars as Pam, a woman stuck in an abusive relationship. Peter Mullan plays Joe, a man struggling with his own personal demons who finds himself drawn into the conflict.

Why I’m interested: This is actor Paddy Considine’s first feature as a director, and I’m curious to see what he can do. He walked away with the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance, so the signs are good. The cast looks promising too. I loved Peter Mullan in Boy A. Eddie Marsan was great in Red Riding, and looks positively frightening in the trailer. I haven’t seen Olivia Colman in a serious role before (though I remember liking her in Hot Fuzz) so I’m looking forward to seeing a different side of her.

Effusive early praise from a random critic: “A powerful film you can’t shake and won’t want to revisit anytime soon.” – Matt Singer (IFC.com)

Release date: I couldn’t find a North American release date so it could be awhile, but the UK release is October 7. (trailer)

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