Montreal Film Journal

2004 LOG (7)

(2 Jul) Legend of Eight Samurai (1983, Kinji Fukasaru) [ review ] 34

(3 Jul) South Park – Season 4 (2000, Trey Parker & Matt Stone) 83
[ The exquisite voice work, the wonderfully cruddy animation, the subversive satire... "South Park" is so sweeeet, I love these little bastards, and I love the whole 4th Grade thing with More Explosions, Mrs Choksondik and of course, TIMMY! ]

(4 Jul) Elvis Gratton XXX: La Vengeance d'Elvis Wong (2004, Pierre Falardeau) 6
[ Pierre Falardeau has never been known for his subtlety, but here he reaches a new low in moronic farce. Two decades after his creation, Elvis Gratton is more pathetic and less funny than ever. The boorish "p'tit gars de Brossard" is now the head of a giant media conglomerate, concerned only with profits and promoting Canadian unity. This allows Falardeau to hurl bile at politicians, journalists and intellectuals but, even if you agree with his opinions, they're too crudely thrown into this cinematic cesspool to register as more than the whining of a frustrated old man. ]

(5 Jul) Camping Sauvage (2004, Sylvain Roy & Guy A. Lepage) [ review ] 18

(6 Jul) Le Bison* (et sa voisine Dorine) (2003, Isabelle Nanty) 14
[ When very pregnant Dorine's no-good husband walks out on her and their four kids and a half, careless neighbour Louis Le Bison reluctantly finds himself involved in their troubles. Isabelle Nanty not only stars but is also making her directorial debut here. She's got a light touch behind the camera, but the story is uninspiring and her writing is too mannered. Her shrill overacting quickly grows tiresome and so do the cloying child actors surrounding her. ]

(6 Jul) The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich) 67
[ Is there a more beautiful sight than young Cybill Shepherd? You might be stuck in a flat and empty Texas town, wasting away in high school, but to be around young Cybill Shepherd, aaww... In black & white, too! Bogdanovich' bittersweet 1950s slice of life also features a young Ellen Burstyn, a young Randy Quaid and a young Jeff "His Dudeness" Bridges but really, it's all about the Cybill. ]

(7 Jul) The Door in the Floor (2004, Tod Williams) [ review ] 56

(7 Jul) Killer's Kiss (1955, Stanley Kubrick) 73
(7 Jul) The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick) 85
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(9 Jul) Ginger Snaps Unleashed (2004, Brett Sullivan) [ review ] 68

(10 Jul) Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater) [ review ] 90

(10 Jul) Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004, Grant Harvey) 34
[ Part of our FANTASIA coverage ]

(11 Jul) Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick) 87
(11 Jul) Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick) 65
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(11 Jul) Last Life in the Universe (2003, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) 71
[ Part of our FANTASIA coverage ]

(12 Jul) Les 11 commandements (2004, les Réals de Madrid) 29
[ Part of our Comedia coverage ]

(12 Jul) Lolita (1962, Stanley Kubrick) 70
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(13 Jul) Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004, Danny Leiner) [ review ] 78

(13 Jul) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick) [ review ] 97

(13 Jul) One Point O (2004, Jeff Renfroe & Marteinn Thorsson) 54
[ Part of our FANTASIA coverage ]

(14 Jul) Barry Lyndon (1975, Stanley Kubrick) 86
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(15 Jul) Going the Distance (2004, Mark Griffiths) 23
[ Part of our Comedia coverage ]

(15 Jul) Memories of Murder (2003, Bong Joon-ho) 37
[ Part of our FANTASIA coverage ]

(15 Jul) Breakfast with Hunter (2004, Wayne Ewing) [ review ] 24

(16 Jul) Anchorman (2004, Adam McKay) [ review ] 85

(16 Jul) Je Reste! (2004, Diane Kurys) 20
[ Vincent Perez is always off building bridges around the world while Sophie Marceau stays at home and takes care of their son. Marceau's long-suffering character is necessarily more sympathetic than Perez's one-note jerk, and we understand her when she leaves him for a screenwriter played by Charles Berling. But then the film becomes about the selfish husband's attempts to win his wife back and we're supposed to root for him? Bollocks. This is a handsome production and Marceau's a peach, but I'm growing impatient of movies about improbably beautiful and rich married couples who still find ways to be unhappy. ]

(17 Jul) Blueberry (2004, Jan Kounen) 58
[ Part of our FANTASIA coverage ]

(17 Jul) Anchorman (2004, Adam McKay) [ review ] 85

(19 Jul) Le coût de la vie (2003, Philippe Le Guay) 62
[ A film about money and the way different characters relate to it sounds like it will be cold and distant, but Philippe Le Guay's ensemble picture is actually warm, touching, even funny at times. It follows various mostly unrelated characters: a neurotic programmer (Fabrice Luchini) who pinches every penny, a restaurant owner (Vincent Lindon) who's so generous he's approaching bankruptcy, a young heiress (adorable Isild Le Besco) who wants to be liked for more than her fortune... Their financial situation is what ties the film together thematically, but it truly serves as a catalyst to reveal their feelings. ]

(20 Jul) Six Feet Under 2.1, 2.2 (2002) 80
[ Oh, I'm glad to be with these great actors/characters again and the writing/direction is still great, it just feels like the show is spinning its wheels. Hopefully the season will kick into gear soon. ]

(21 Jul) La Planque (2004, Alexandre Chartrand & Thierry Gendron) 60
[ After stealing millions of dollars of heroin from their boss, two thugs nervously wait in a disaffected factory for their contact to show up. This ballsy huis clos shows that you don't need a big budget, elaborate technique or a shooting permit (!) to make an effective movie. Using a couple of DV cameras, natural lighting and only general scene outlines, co-directors Thierry Gendron and Alexandre Chartrand follow actors Martin Desgagné and Pierre-Antoine Lasnier in long uninterrupted takes, allowing much tension to build up. The film is understandably a little rough around the edges, but it really works. ]

(22 Jul) Six Feet Under 2.6- 2.8 (2002) 85
[ Wow, only season #2 and they're already bringing in new characters? But hey, I'm not complaining, not when it's the goddess Patricia Clarkson as a kooky hippie aunt! The tears are starting to flow, too. ]

(25 Jul) Six Feet Under 2.3-2.5 (2002) 82
[ I wish I didn't have to watch these all out of order like this, but I can hardly ever get my hands on one of these DVDs at Boîte Noire so I get my fixes however I can. So now I'm catching to the great mid-season stretch I previously watched, which is odd but still effective. I find myself relating to practically every character in the show - only Federico somehow doesn't fit in for me. But in a scene like the closer to this episode, when a broken down Claire deals with Nate, David and Keith, every one's every reaction is interesting and touching and understandable... Good stuff. ]

(27 Jul) La Comunidad (2000, Alex de la Iglesia) 30
[ When a rich old man who lived holed up in a trashy apartment finally croaks, his neighbours go looking for his hidden fortune but it's found first by a pesky real estate agent (Carmen Maura). This Spanish import flirts with black comedy, but the attempts at burlesque are not particularly funny and the Hitchcock-style thriller elements eventually overshadow everything else. The visuals are interesting, but the score is distractingly derivative of Danny Elfman, the movie is erratically paced and it's needlessly violent. The voyeur in the Darth Vader suit is a nice touch, though. ]

(29 Jul) Six Feet Under 2.9-2.11 (2002) 71
[ Ooh, more Lili Taylor. I love her so much, why don't we see more of her, not just on the show but in movies and stuff? All the way back to "Say Anything", she's been beautiful and heartbreaking, always wearing her emotions on her sleeve... Other than that, this stretch is a little off. Every episode can't be a winner, I guess, what with the different writers and directors alternating... You still get a funny or touching or clever moment once in a while, which is more than you can say about most TV (or movies), but I'm starting to doubt the show will ever top the brilliance of Season One. ]

(30 Jul) The Village (2004, M. Night Shyamalan) [ review ] 85

(31 Jul) Six Feet Under 2.12-2.13 (2002) 89
[ Here we go. Two more hours and then that's it, at least until sometimes in 2005 when HBO decides to release Season 3. I haven't been as passionate about Year Two as I was with the first 13, but I do still love these characters. When this show works, it REALLY works, and these two episodes are just gravy. 2.12 is, like, the best Federico episode ever and Brenda's "cunt from hell" routine finally climaxes with Nate. The "opening death" gimmick is getting old, but 2.13's one of the most effective yet. Then you've got a hilarious "Flashdance" send-up, more Lili Taylor (always a good thing), great stuff with Ruth, one mofo of an intense Keith/David clash... Awesome stuff, really, but the cliffhanger is a b-i-aaatch – I can't believe I gotta wait a whole year to find out what happens next! ]

June / August