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The 2008 Venice Film Festival - Day 3

Barbet Schroeder - Friday 29th August 2008 at Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy

Barbet Schroeder
Barbet Schroeder
Barbet Schroeder
Barbet Schroeder

The Darjeeling Limited Trailer


Director Wes Anderson brings us, The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, is an emotional comedy about three brothers re-forging family bonds. The eldest, played by Wilson, hopes to reconnect with his two younger siblings by taking them on a train trip across the vibrant and sensual landscape of India. 

Continue: The Darjeeling Limited Trailer

Love In The Afternoon (1972) Review


Good
The finale of Eric Rohmer's "moral tales," a six-part filmed essay on modern morality. Unfortunately, Love is distinguished by little more than the tepid non-choice presented by its milquetoast hero (lovely Chloe (Zouzou) tries to seduce the otherwise happily married man) and some of the worst lighting ever to sour a film (though this has thankfully been repaired in Criterion's new DVD release). The self-obsessed running commentary of Frédéric (Bernard Verley) isn't so much a bore as it is simply conceited, but there's something deep here as he wrestles with whether he should give in toe Chloe's advances or return home to his loving (though boring) wife. At least as moral quandaries go, Love has one worth pondering. And if you feel otherwise, you can at least groove on the 1970s fashions.

For more discussion of the "six moral tales," see the review of My Night at Maud's.

Continue reading: Love In The Afternoon (1972) Review

Love In The Afternoon Review


Good
The finale of Eric Rohmer's "moral tales," a six-part filmed essay on modern morality. Unfortunately, Love is distinguished by little more than the tepid non-choice presented by its milquetoast hero (lovely Chloe (Zouzou) tries to seduce the otherwise happily married man) and some of the worst lighting ever to sour a film (though this has thankfully been repaired in Criterion's new DVD release). The self-obsessed running commentary of Frédéric (Bernard Verley) isn't so much a bore as it is simply conceited, but there's something deep here as he wrestles with whether he should give in toe Chloe's advances or return home to his loving (though boring) wife. At least as moral quandaries go, Love has one worth pondering. And if you feel otherwise, you can at least groove on the 1970s fashions.

For more discussion of the "six moral tales," see the review of My Night at Maud's.

Continue reading: Love In The Afternoon Review

Claire's Knee Review


Weak
Lechery in the guise of art, and what could be more fun? Eric Rohmer's fifth "moral tale" tells us of a man obsessed with nubile young girls, particularly a young blonde's... well, you guessed it. Our hero is about to get married, you see, and he just doesn't feel ready to go through with it. So he chats up a couple of young girls, including the titular Claire, who doesn't show up until 47 minutes into the film. Eventually he gets to touch her leg. This is the only flat-out repulsive moral tale and the only one that doesn't really make much sense. Claire's Knee purports to be about love but comes across as little more than infantile.

For more discussion of the "six moral tales," see the review of My Night at Maud's.

Continue reading: Claire's Knee Review

My Night At Maud's Review


OK
Every cineaste knows that Eric Rohmer made a series of films called the "six moral tales," but I'd wager that virtually no one has seen them all. Most knowledge of the tales begins with this, the third film in the series (which was inexplicably filmed fourth), and tragically by then they've already started a prodigiously deep decline into preachy bloviating and repetitiveness.

I realize I should expect a good amount of hate mail for panning a "classic," but here goes anyway. See if you think this sounds like a good way to spend two hours: Devout Catholic Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) decides that he's going to marry Françoise, a blonde girl he sees at mass but whom he's never actually met. After half an hour of wandering around their small town, he ends up going with his pal Vidal to the home of Maud (Françoise Fabian), a divorcee with a young child who's actually interested in listening to Jean-Louis drone on and on about his moral choices, only for him to throw them to the winds when he decides to jump into bed with Maud, mere minutes after exclaiming he'd never do such a thing.

Continue reading: My Night At Maud's Review

Bukowski: Born Into This Review


Good
Poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was a howling drunk, an unapologetic womanizer, and a smoking, gambling foul-mouthed literary sensation. He haunted barrooms and horse tracks. He brawled and hired prostitutes. He hung out with celebrities and is revered by legions of readers. No doubt his life contains all the stuff of a fascinating documentary -- only Bukowski: Born into This isn't it.

For a movie about a wild man, Born into This is awfully tame. Director John Dullaghan does a commendable job of chronicling his subject's life, using Bukowski's various novels and poems as portals into his life experiences, but Dullaghan never challenges the audience to determine exactly what to make of Bukowski, either as a human or as a writer. Was he a misogynist or a sage? Is it possible to be both? What is his literary legacy? Why don't universities typically teach Bukowski? Do English professors know something the rest of us don't?

Continue reading: Bukowski: Born Into This Review

Claire's Knee Review


Weak
Lechery in the guise of art, and what could be more fun? Eric Rohmer's fifth Moral Tale tells us of a man obsessed with nubile young girls, particularly a young blonde's... well, you guessed it. Our hero is about to get married, you see, and he just doesn't feel ready to go through with it. Somewhere between insulting and repulsive, Claire's Knee purports to be about love but comes across as little more than infantile.

Continue reading: Claire's Knee Review

Murder By Numbers Review


Terrible
Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much liked Sandra Bullock or her selection of films. My initial reaction to the previews of Murder by Numbers was a laughing fit. But I ventured into the theater not based upon the marquee name of Bullock, but by the crew behind the camera - renowned director Barbet Schroeder, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Clint Mansell, and screenwriter Tony Gayton (who wrote the solid, upcoming film The Salton Sea). In the end, I didn't know who to blame for this awkward and schlock-filled "serial killer" flick, which is about as enjoyable as watching that new Andy Richter TV show.

Bullock plays hard-nosed, seasoned homicide detective Cassie Mayweather, who has more issues than four of my ex-girlfriends combined. After a young woman is found dead in her district, Cassie and her new partner Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) take the case and discover conflicting evidence. Using techniques she must have picked up by watching CSI, Cassie's intrepid sleuthing leads her to cocky high school student Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling, who eerily resembles a Muppet), who owns a unique pair of boots linked to the crime scene but were stolen weeks before the crime. Richard's airtight alibi and carefree nature only confounds Cassie's intrepid sleuthing skills and brings to surface memories of a tragic event in Cassie's life, involving a bitter husband and 17 stab wounds.

Continue reading: Murder By Numbers Review

Kiss Of Death (1995) Review


Excellent
Ever get the feeling that no matter what you do, you're screwed? That basically sums up the life of Jimmy Kilmartin (David Caruso), an ex-con trying to go straight in the new feature, Kiss of Death.

Jimmy, his wife Bev (Helen Hunt), and their daughter live an inner-city dream, trying to make ends meet. When Jimmy's cousin Ronnie (Zebrahead's Michael Rapaport) shows up, begging for a driver for his chop shop caravan, all hell breaks loose. Jimmy is busted, and his descent back into the pit of crime, prison, betrayal, and the government begins. Soon, Jimmy and his family are hounded by cop Calvin (Samuel L. Jackson), asthmatic psycho kingpin Little Junior (Nicholas Cage), and a host of other unsavory players. We are invited to watch and see how Jimmy extricates himself from the mess.

Continue reading: Kiss Of Death (1995) Review

Before And After Review


OK
(Not to be confused with last year's Now and Then.) And aside from that brief statement, I scarcely know where to begin trying to critique Before and After. I don't even quite know how to describe it, but I do know that it isn't a good sign.

Let me try my best here, in the process trying to spoil the plot as little as possible. In small town Massachusetts, the Ryan family lives a semi-typical semi-functional family life. Carolyn (Meryl Streep) is a physician. Ben (Liam Neeson) is an avant-garde artist. Daughter Judith (Julia Weldon) is a precocious elementary school student but is wise beyond her years, and son Jacob (Edward Furlong) is the typical bratty teenager.

Continue reading: Before And After Review

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Barbet Schroeder Movies

The Darjeeling Limited Trailer

The Darjeeling Limited Trailer

Director Wes Anderson brings us, The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason...

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Murder by Numbers Movie Review

Murder by Numbers Movie Review

Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much...

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