Sherman's March (Ross McElwee) *** - This is a one-of-a-kind documentary. On one hand, it's a historical documentary about General William Sherman, a union general during the American Civil War who was infamous for implementing total war against the South. But historical tidbits take a backseat to Ross McElwee's love life as he copes with his recent break-up, meets new women and reconnects with old girlfriends. The film is always fascinating when the focus is on Sherman but, for me, very hit-and-miss when focused on his love life. I personally find, nine times out of 10, that when people turn the camera to themselves, that they think they're more interesting than they really are so I was wary about this. Fortunately, it's not the case with this....MOST of the time. I liked it quite a bit and it's still a very interesting piece of cinema but it didn't blow me away since I really didn't really completely buy the combo of his love life and the story of General Sherman.
Maleficent (Robert Stromberg)
**1/2 - When I was a kid watching Disney animated films, the Disney
villain that scared me the most was Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.
She's quite the frightening, evil character with the horns and the
vindictive personality seemingly doing it for sheer evil delight. So a
film centering around her character was an excellent idea. Casting
Angelina Jolie was another good move. The first act, establishing the
motive of Maleficent, was pretty darn good and makes perfect sense but
the film falls apart in the second act when it became just another fairy
tale. I thought this film would subvert the Sleeping Beauty
legend but instead it just kind of reverses it and becomes derivative.
Even the resolution was something we've seen fairly recently. There are
cool visuals and Angelina Jolie is excellent. Overall, it's not a bad
film but it could have been something really special.
Je T'aime, Je T'aime (Alain
Resnais) **** - Director Alain Resnais passed away relatively recently
so I thought I'd check out another one of his films. This time it's
about a man who recently recovered from a failed suicide attempt and
he's recruited by a group of scientists experimenting on time travel.
They send him back in time a year before his suicide attempt (maybe
more) and we see jump around scenes from his life. It seems Resnais took
the concept of jump cuts and ran away with it with this one. The film,
under its time travel conceit, jumps around different time periods and
challenges the audience to actively piece together what exactly
happened. At one point it even makes you question whether or not you're
seeing is real. Like Hiroshima Mon Amour and Last Year at Marienbad, this film is also about an unconventional love story and just as great as those two films.