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.