January 17-23, 2010
I'm glad I got some docs in here this week. When I don't it feels quite strange. I also gave myself a little break. Yippee!!!
25) No Impact Man. Documentary about a man who made a vow for a year to make no impact on the environment and involved his wife and young daughter. Without his wife for doses of normalcy, this film would be impossible to watch. I really liked watching her challenge him. She's pretty awesome. You don't have to be an environmental nut to make a difference but this guy went to so many extremes and said it over and over again. I was a bit bored after not very long but impressed with his dedication until it seemed like the crazy knew no limits. I wish the passage of time was more clearly marked in this film. You had no idea where in the process they were or how they decided to make this change and wy. Also, why do you have to be so extreme? This film would've benefitted from more observational sequences to get a break from all the talking. I'm also curious about how, if at all, the filmmakers changed in the course of this film. I had one of the most difficult times I've ever had distinguishing the topic of the film from the filmmaking. But maybe that also speaks to the filmmaking. Because I have definitely been enamored with the cinematography or whatever in other films and not cared one lick for the subject matter. 3.2 stars
26) Talk of the Town. Cary Grant (my 2nd favorite dead guy-- to Malcolm X) film about a fugitive, the woman who hides him and her tenant. Interesting twists and turns but eventually just mediocre. 3.4 stars
27) All About My Mother. 1999 winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Pedro Almodovar directs this Spanish film about mothers. Beautiful. Penelope Cruz was captivating as was Cecilia Roth. A very well-acted film with unobtrusive direction. 4.5 stars
28) Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. Though the shots in this grand piano documentary were interesting-ish, I felt like just by using a different angle-- above or below could've made them much more interesting. They appeared later in the film in fantastic fashion but I wanted them to get into them. Maybe more explanations earlier on? The opening is just a bit boring. The final tone inspector sequence explaining piano differences was beautiful. The resting room was quite nice as well. The rolling shots were a serious strength. The film still felt longer than it should be. I wondered very early on if the workers like piano or learned how to play. I enjoyed watching the pianists select their instruments. I had no clue all this went into it! Real talk: Harry Connick, Jr. made this film even more delightful. Lol. Some of those really interesting shots from different angles of the piano selections were amazing. It's strange to me that I could tell there were at least 2 editors and at least 2 cinematographers (4 it turns out). The sound was beautiful. Great access (understandably from a business perspective). 3.6 stars
29) Summer Hours. French film about an elderly woman divvying up her valuable collection (art and furniture, etc.) among her children who want to hear nothing about her dying. I started this last week but finished it this week (horrid, I know). Kind of boring. Strangely abrupt ending. 3.2 stars
30) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Classic Frank Capra film starring Jean Arthur and James Stewart about a politician who goes to DC and tries to remain an idealist and fight a political machine. This film reminds me of all the years the leadership of this country consisted only of white men and grateful that that day no longer exists. I enjoyed parts of it but some parts dragged or were too precious. 3.4 stars