Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (4/21/13 - 4/27/13)

Time of the Wolf (Michael Haneke) ***1/2 - An unspecified disaster wrecks havoc in civilization in Europe, particularly a family trying to survive in the French countryside. This film is spectacularly bleak even in the standards of Michael Haneke. The austere proceedings and deliberate pacing plus shocking spurts of violence and disturbing images will make it a real trial for most people to sit through. It's not my favorite Haneke but it's still an extremely well-made, well-shot post-apocalyptic drama.

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati) **** - I'm a huge, huge fan of director Jacques Tati and his Monsieur Hulot character. This early film featuring him is a wonderful little gem that's nearly entirely plotless. It's basically a series of vignettes and scenes involving Hulot and his fellow vacationers in the French seaside. There are lots of really funny gags and physical comedy. But all in all, I feel like this is the warm up to the masterpieces ahead, namely Mon Oncle and Play Time.

Touchez Pas au grisbi (Jacques Becker) ***1/2 - It's pretty much a cliche that the "one last job" of a thief, a hitman, a criminal, what-not will almost always go wrong. Well, in this one, it's what comes AFTER the "one last job". A professional thief hoping to retire pulls a successful "one last job" but complications post-heist ensue. The film is a slow-burn, especially for a crime thriller but it pays off very much in the end. It's not quite as great as The Hole (the only other Jacques Becker film I've seen) and other French crime thrillers which I've seen of its era but it's still a very solid outing.

Iron Man 3 (Shane Black) ***1/2 - First off, this is way better than Iron Man 2. Shane Black manages to infuse some wicked humor and subvert, even just a little bit, genre tropes giving the franchise a breath of fresh air. Robert Downey Jr. is as usual terrific but Gwyneth Paltrow steps up her game in this one, managing not to be just a damsel in distress. Ben Kingsley, though, gives a hilarious performance....and INTENTIONAL too. To reveal it here would be spoiling something but if you're one of the people who had problems with his accent/appearance in the trailers, it will make sense when you see the film. All in all, a very, very entertaining, fun film.

1 comment:

YeamieWaffles said...

I think that I've got to check out Iron Man 3 now buddy, I've heard nothing but good things about it so far. Great round-up as usual.