Chuck Montgomery

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Fay Grim Review


Weak
Roughly ten years after cementing his place as an offbeat indie favorite, Hal Hartley revisits the characters that put him there. His 1997 Henry Fool, a screenplay-award winner at Cannes, introduced us to lonely garbage man Simon Grim, his horny sister Fay, and the titular character that drastically changes their lives. Hartley brings them back with Fay Grim, but the "where are they now?" fun wears thin quickly.

Part of the problem is Hartley's distinct style, which, if you're a fan, you already know well. Characters often speak slowly, pausing pensively for dramatic or comedic effect. Conversations -- and camera angles -- are unexpectedly funny and skewed, dabbling in established genres. When this approach has purpose or emotion (as in Henry Fool), it works. When it runs in circles, as in the second-half of Fay Grim, it exists only for the "art" and can be annoying as hell.

Continue reading: Fay Grim Review

Amateur Review


Good
Hal Hartley's latest film, Amateur, is quite a departure from his earlier work. Still gone is his once-traditional lead, the crimson-haired ingenue Adrienne Shelly (who hasn't been seen since Trust), and in her stead are two foreign actresses, Isabelle Huppert (as a lapsed nun trying to make it as a porn story writer and who believes she is a nymphomaniac) and Elena Lowensohn (returning to Hartley's films as Sofia, a somewhat psycho porn star). Hartley's favorite male lead, Martin Donovan, remains as Thomas, the slimeball husband of Sofia.

The plot is this: Sofia is fed up with Thomas, so she tries to kill him. He doesn't die--he just cracks his head and develops amnesia. Isabelle finds him and takes him under her already fragile wing. Throw in an extortion plot wherein the old Thomas was trying to blackmail a nameless entity, and add the thugs trying to kill him. Eventually, everyone gets sucked into this scheme, and nothing works out for any of them.

Continue reading: Amateur Review

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Chuck Montgomery Movies

Fay Grim Movie Review

Fay Grim Movie Review

Roughly ten years after cementing his place as an offbeat indie favorite, Hal Hartley revisits...

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