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Monday Movies: Criminal Masterminds

I saw the following movies this week:

  • Pandora’s Box: This movie really has it all — comedy, musical numbers, romance, murder — though the final act felt very random. Lulu looked weirdly modern to us, almost identical to some contemporary actor (though we couldn’t place who it was). G. W. Pabst may well become a “light completism” project for me.
  • A Prophet: I found this to be a very satisfying movie. The only thing holding me back was my worry that The Girlfriend wasn’t enjoying it, since it had essentially no woman characters whatsoever. (Her verdict was that she liked it, but less than Read My Lips.) Anthony’s post on the film turns out to be correct. As I reflected on why I like mafia and crime-oriented movies so much, I think it’s because I realize that I would completely fuck up at step one if I tried to get involved in anything like that — I’m enjoying the display of a competence I will never have.
  • The Beat That My Heart Skipped: we decided to go ahead and round out Audiard’s major films this weekend (the others being Read My Lips and A Prophet). Overall, both of us agreed that it was our least favorite out of the three, but still very good — a rare instance of the well-done “two years later” conclusion scene.

March 8, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. I watched Stranger Than Fiction this week, largely out of obligation, as it was forcibly loaned to me by a friend and I kind of had to watch it at some point. It’s aggressively mediocre, a sort of poor man’s Adaptation which is periodically brought from middling to terrible by a voice-over narration that’s at once distracting, overwrought yet seemingly critical to the plot, which centers around the writing of a novel which we’re repeatedly told is brilliant but is apparently the kind of theoretical Serious Book imagined by someone who never actually reads books. I wanted to die at it by the end.

    Comment by stras | March 8, 2010

  2. i am not really a fan of prison/crime films at all but i really enjoyed a prophet. i think because it successfully avoids feeling anything remotely resembling a cliche – although the content of certain scenes could be described as a cliche, it was presented in a manner that felt very sincere. and (/similarly), as aps said in conversation (i’m not sure if he brought it up in the post), it’s thoroughly undidactic.

    what did you think of the ending? i found the song (and cars in the background) creepy but i’m not sure if you’re french you would interpret the song that way.

    Comment by expletive | March 8, 2010

  3. “Year One” was everything I expected it to be. “Where the Wild Things Are,” in contrast, was absolutely intolerable. We made it twenty-eight minutes in and then gave up. Why didn’t Max just die when his sister’s friends smashed his snow fort? Better movie.

    Comment by Craig | March 8, 2010

  4. I think James Gandolfini was the perfect choice to play his character in Where the Wild Things Are.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | March 8, 2010

  5. Didn’t get that far on account of wanting that little, annoying brat to die. Maybe we’ll try it again another day.

    Comment by Craig | March 8, 2010

  6. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans would be a middling procedural except that Herzog and late-period full-throttle Nic Cage are expertly wed, and Herzog occasionally surrenders the movie to blurry handheld shots at alligator- and iguana-level. Lizard-cam! Also this scene was wonderful.

    The Ghost Writer has Hitchcock-level execution. Olivia Williams plays a character ten years the actress’s senior. There is no on-screen violence. At the end, you realize that the stakes were absurdly low. Dana Stevens was right when she said “the house that plays the house should win the Oscar for Best House.”

    I have screeners on loan for The White Ribbon, The Messenger, and It’s Constipated but I have to hand them back over on Wednesday. We’ll see what I get through.

    Comment by K-sky | March 8, 2010

  7. The Red Shoes‘ ending seemed forced, in that up until the last ten minutes there hadn’t seemed to be any jealousy on the part of the composer for Vicky’s dancing (unless I am blind). His insistence that she return for his premiere seemed to come ut of the blue. Otherwise, of course, it was fantastic.

    I also saw The Tale of Zatoichi. These movies are kind of grim, you know?

    Comment by ben | March 8, 2010

  8. I enjoyed Where The Wild Things Are quite a bit.

    Comment by stras | March 8, 2010

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