I’ve been quite busy the past few weeks so here’s a group of short reviews of some of the things I’ve watched worth mentioning.
It’s the ten-year mark for Martin Scorsese’s Casino, so I decided to watch it again. It’s a great movie from him and one that belongs next to the other high marks in his career--my personal favorites being Raging Bull and Good Fellas. I don’t see how a film can be made that can completely cover the dead era of Las Vegas in the ‘60s and ‘70s better than this unbelievably detailed and nuanced film. Scorsese even makes Sharon Stone turn in a good performance and that is miraculous since she is so unrelentingly awful. Oh, and never let Joe Pesci put your head in a vise. Bad things will happen, particularly to your eyeball.
My own festival with James Garner is still going strong as I’ve seen 16 of his pictures this year. Saw Victor/Victoria, Duel at Diablo, Decoration Day and Tank the past month. That’s four different films from the talented Garner that vary greatly from a Blake Edwards film to the silly tank driving picture. The man is just a solid, solid actor and makes me proud to be a fellow Okie.
Enjoyed The Constant Gardener. This was a pleasant surprise that had Ralph Fiennes’ best work in years and maybe Rachel Weisz’s best ever. It’s an artistic, lively, challenging mystery directed by Fernando Meirelles and is worth checking out.
Saw Junebug and was kind of lukewarm toward it. I loved the performance of Amy Adams as a talkative, pregnant Southerner. She is just so unbelievably open and honest in this film. Other elements I found put upon and the dude from the O.C. I wanted to punch in the throat. He should stick with trashy tv. Loved seeing Will Oldham show up for an unexpected cameo. The weird folk art painter and his “erotic” Civil War battlefield scenes were great. I wanted more of that guy and his crazy accent!
I also saw one of the filthiest and funniest films I’ve seen in a long while with The Aristocrats. Proud that Circle Cinema is the only place in Oklahoma showing the documentary, as everyone else is too scared I guess. It’s just language people. Although, it is one of the nastiest, crudest, vulgar things I’ve seen in a long while. It’s also frequently hilarious as a bunch of comics try to top each other in how filthy they can make an old joke that’s been around forever. The Aristocrats is as much about the way comics work as it is about the joke. Hilariously filthy!
Swede director Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya 4-Ever is about the most heart wrenching, bleak and depressing film I’ve seen in a while. The film is about this teenage girl that is abandoned by her mom and she resorts to prostitution in some hellhole in Russia. She thinks she is escaping to Sweden but it just gets worse for her. Powerful, yet, the sort of unrelenting film that will make you shove a handful of prozac into your mouth after you’ve seen it.