Formalized grieving is a strange thing. Thus, I will avoid it entirely and just talk about this week’s movies, specifically:
“Because I Said So“: I like Diane Keaton a lot, I really do. But she has to stop making terrible movies in which she plays neurotic harridans who interfere in their daughters’ romantic lives, and in the process discover their own sensuality. I know, I know … as bad as it was, “Something’s Gotta Give” got her an Oscar nomination. This one won’t. On the other hand, former pop tart Mandy Moore turns out to be a surprisingly natural screen presence. But she’ll be just as good in her next picture.
“The Italian“: A Russian movie about a cute little orphan boy who goes in search of the mother he’s never known, just as he’s about to be shipped out to a life of cappucinos, Vespas and post-Berlusconi corruption investigations? The combination would usually send me screaming out of the theater, but somehow director Andrei Kravchuk and screenwriter Andrei Romanov make it work, even if the second half isn’t quite as strong as the first. I have the sinking feeling Roberto Benigni is going to try to remake this with himself as the five-year-old orphan, so see the original before his mark is upon it.
“The Messengers”: Screened really, really late — like, 9:30 pm on Thursday — so Metro won’t have my review until Monday, but that’s okay … it’ll probably take me a couple of days to come up with something, anything, to say about the Pang Brothers’ inane venture into American cinema, in which Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller and Kristin Stewart buy a creepy old farmhouse and get stalked by a sound mix for 98 minutes. Plus, John Corbett gives the performance of his career as a shotgun-toting farmhand, even if he doesn’t know he’s doing it. Or possibly because of that.
“Partition“: Vic Sarin’s clumsy attempt to turn the political and religious upheaval of 1947 India into a crowd-pleasing romantic melodrama along the lines of “The English Patient” or “Titanic” forgets one important thing: Neither of those films was shot on a shoestring in Vancouver. Also, both of those movies had directors capable of, you know, directing. Of course, neither of those films tried to sell Kristin Kreuk as a Pakistani Muslim, either.
“Sur la Trace d’Igor Rizzi“: I gave Noel Mitrani’s oddball comedy-drama — which stars Laurent Lucas as a washed-up soccer star moping around Montreal who takes a job as a contract killer despite having not the first idea as to how one goes about whacking people — a pat on the head when it played TIFF last fall; if you were intrigued, but couldn’t make it to the screening, it’s at the Royal all week.
Regular posting will resume shortly, I promise.