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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Running With the Bulls

Although it is actually an hour-long TV special and not a feature length film, this documentary from UK journalist Jason Farrell (Sky News) does a great job of taking viewers on an adventurous ride of a lifetime without having to risk their necks on a narrow street in Spain. Farrell smartly concentrates the start of the story on the bulls that do the actual running, interviewing the family that raises them and then following them on the journey the hefty animals take from the pastoral pastureland of the farm to the narrow cobblestones streets of Pamplona. The second part of the show gives a history of the event, putting the credit/blame for its global popularity squarely on the shoulders of Ernest Hemingway whose writing on the event in The Sun Also Rises made it the challenge of young men forever after. The story wraps with Farrell putting his mike down and taking part in the run, followed by a celebration for those who made it unscathed and a final interview with those who weren’t so lucky. When it’s over you’ll either shake your head in disbelief or start booking your trip for next year’s run.

Brian Wilson – Songwriter 1969-1982

Rumor of what happened to Brian Wilson, the creative genius behind the majority of the Beach Boys hit records, are almost as prolific as the music itself. Did he go crazy? Did he lose his mind/talent to drugs? Did the other Beach Boys drive him over the edge? This fascinating documentary tackles all the rumors to get as close to the truth as anybody but Wilson could, and it does it without being judgmental about the man or his problems. That alone, the fact that the film tells the story without resorting to TMZ level mud flinging, makes it worth watching. Drugs or no drugs, mental illness or perfect sanity, Brian Wilson is the man who wrote God Only Knows and a couple dozen other classic songs, so he deserves some respect. The thoroughness of this documentary also gives fans the comprehensive story they deserve, too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Disasters Reconstructed

Like almost all History Channel programs, the tales told in this impressive box set are fascinating to watch, although even hardcore history buffs may find it tough to sit through three separate specials on the Hindenburg disaster. The disc that explores the best, if that’s the right word, engineering disasters of the past 40 years is more varied and, as a result, more entertaining, The real treat of the set, though is the one titled Inspector America that follows host Timothy Galarnyk, an infrastructure safety inspector, as he goes around inspecting bridges and things that, according to him, are about to collapse and kill a lot of people. Ok, nothing like that really happens, but Galarnyk has a messenger of doom quality to his voice that makes you believe it will if the powers that be don’t immediately do what he tells them to do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Royal Bodyguard

Famed British comedic actor David Jason (A Touch of Frost) stars as Guy Hubble, a bumbling palace guard who inadvertently saves the Queen’s life and gets promoted to be her private body guard. Hubble is such a bungling mess he makes Inspector Clouseau look graceful, but his heart is in the right place and his devotion to the Queen is unrivaled. It’s enormously entertaining to watch such a talented comic perform the physical comedy of the part. Even when the stories don’t work as hard to give him a reason to do what he does, Jason manages to find the funny in the situation and milk it for laughs with style and, believe it or not, grace.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dreamworks Spooky Stories

It’s not unusual for an animation company to do a direct-to-video spin-off of any film that’s a hit at the box office; Disney has been doing it (with mixed results) for years. What separates these Dreamworks films is the quality of the shorts included in the package. Not only is the artwork and writing extremely well done, but they go the extra mile and hire the original voice talent to recreate the roles that made the characters work in the first place. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you are a fan of the Dreamworks short films, you already own four of the six shorts on the disc. The two new features, Shrek: The Pig Who Cried Wolf and Monsters vs. Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots, are good, but it’s debatable if it’s worth paying for stuff you already have to get them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to West Virginia, those inbred hillbilly cannibals of the last four Wrong Turn movies are back, wreaking havoc on the nubile young adults attending a local rock music festival. If you’ve seen their previous culinary adventures, then you know what to expect from Wrong Turn 5 and director Declan O’Brien, who directed the last two movies, delivers it by the bucketful. The series has lasted so long – and separated itself from the pack of recent horror movies – by combining chuckles and scares in almost equal amounts. Granted, the chuckles are mainly aimed at people with a sick sense of humor, but that’s Ok, too. What makes the fifth movie special is the work of horror movie veteran Doug Bradley as Maynard, the demented uncle of the hillbillies. In less talented hands, Maynard would have been laughable, or at least played for laughs. Maynard plays it with Shakespearean seriousness, which also makes Maynard about the scariest thing in the movie.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alcatraz

It’s a crazy idea, but somehow it works. In this Fox TV series, the men incarcerated in the infamous Alcatraz prison were not transferred when the prison was closed back in 1963. Instead they were…well, you’ll have to watch to find out. Wherever they went, they are turning up in present day San Francisco with alarming regularity and causing the modern day police some really big problems (it’s always hard to arrest a criminal that’s supposed to have died decades before the crime was committed). Thank goodness there is a shadowy government organization, lead by a guy with the clumsy moniker of Emerson Hauser (Sam Neil) to try and cover up the crimes and keep the big secret of what happened in 1963 a secret. The premise is too much to support all the twists and turns the stories take, which is probably why the show wasn’t picked up for a second season, but the ride is enjoyable enough while it lasts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Robert Conrad Double Feature

Although he is better known for his work on television, as James West in The Wild Wild West and Black Sheep Squadron, Robert Conrad had a decent movie career in the 70s starring in low budget action movies like the pair featured here. In Sudden Death, he plays a covert government agent named Duke Smith who battles corrupt corporate bigwigs trying to take control of the resources in a remote island in the Philippines. In Live a Little, Steal a Lot, known theatrically a Murph the Surf, he’s a Miami playboy who moonlights as an international jewel thief. The plots are formulaic, but the action is generally well-directed in both films and while he isn’t going to get any Oscars for his performances in these two flicks, Conrad is always entertaining to watch and he knows how to deliver a quip as well as he can deliver a kick. The tagline for Sudden Death that “Robert Conrad is better than Dirty Harry!,” however, is laughable.

Nina Conti: Her Master’s Voice

When her mentor/ex-love dies, renowned ventriloquist Nina Conti decides to honor his final wish and bring his now silent dummies on a pilgrimage to 'Venthaven' the resting place for puppets of dead ventriloquists. That’s right, there really is a place where dead dummies go when they are no longer of use, but the film isn’t really about the creepy museum of the people attending the ventriloquist convention next door. The movie is actually a documentary of Conti trying to sort out her feelings about her mentor, the career path she has taken and whether or not she wants to continue being a ventriloquist despite the fame and fortune the underappreciated art form has brought her. Yes, it’s a little weird that her partner on this journey of self-discovery a fluffy dummy called Monkey, but watching the movie is a lot like watching any great ventriloquist perform: It isn’t long before you forget that Monkey and Conti are the same person and actually start listening to their ‘dialogue’ like it was two friends talking.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Marina Abromovic: The Artist is Present

The centerpiece of this fascinating documentary from directors Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre is a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that covers decades of performance art from Marina Abromovic, the so-called grandmother of performance art. There is a nude man lying on a platform with a skeleton lying on top of him. There are two nude people (sometimes same sex, sometimes not) standing in a doorway making a fleshy obstacle that people have to walk through to see the show. There is a nude woman that appears to be nailed on the wall. There are video installations showing Abromovic as she appeared over the years in the same artistic position as the and there are lots of interviews from experts explaining what it all means, or at least what it meant when she did it the first time around. It’s all very fascinating as long as you take that first leap of faith and agree that what she is doing is art in the first place. If you don’t, then the movie may not be as compelling.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted


Most movie franchises run out of steam long before they hit the trifecta, but there are rare occasions when the threads all pull together in a new and interesting way to give audiences something familiar, but fresh to look at. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted starts out with the same needy tones, with Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller) desperately trying to get off the island where they were stranded at the end of Madagascar 2 so he can get back to his beloved Central Park Zoo in New York City. Through a series of mini-adventures, Alex and his friends – Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) – end up hiding out with a European circus troupe that is hoping to audition for an American investor who will bring their show to America. There’s just one problem: The circus stinks. And that’s the key to Madagascar 3. Because the main characters run into a group of animals who are even worse off than they are, it gives them a chance to finally quit kvetching and do something. It’s a nice change, and leads not only to some really funny moments, like Marty embracing his inner show horse, but also lets the story take time to build new characters that can interact with Alex and the rest in interesting, compelling ways.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

That's My Boy


Adam Sandler plays Donny, a former child celebrity whose claim to fame is having slept with and impregnated his smokin’ hot high school teacher (Eva Amurri Martino). The teacher gets 30 years in prison for what happened between them; Donny gets tabloid fame and a son he has no idea how to raise. The story jumps 30 years into the future to show us what happened to Donny. His fame, shallow and fleeting as it was, is over and he’s a drunken has been who needs to raise$43,000 to pay back taxes or he’ll be sent to jail. His son, Todd (Andy Samberg), on the other hand is a very successful businessman about to marry the love of his life (Leighton Meester). The secret to Todd’s success is simple. He’s convinced everybody that his ‘parents’ were killed in a tragic explosion and buried all thoughts of his real parents under the lie. Of course, Donny and Todd will find each other, and of course, after a series of wacky adventures, they will learn how much they really love each other. In terms of plot points, That’s My Boy is extremely predictable. But so are 90 percent of the comedies released each year. It’s how many laughs the film can cram in along the way that makes a comedy work or not, and on that level, That’s My Boy works pretty well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Piranha-Man Versus WereWolf-Man: Howl of the Piranha


Yes, the ‘monsters’ in this movie are guys in rubber masks. Yes, the ‘blood’ looks like ketchup. And yes, there are probably a thousand other things you can be overly critical about with this movie, but if you do you are missing the point: Piranha-Man Versus WereWolf-Man: Howl of the Piranha is a heck of a lot of fun. The film follows the adventures of a young TV reporter named Lexi Glass (Carrie Long) as she tries to get the scoop on a serial killer mystery. Before she can get to the bottom of things she discovers that she is actually the key part missing from the puzzle. The script, co-written by director Dorian Knight and producer Steve Goldenberg is wonderfully weird, the acting better than you would expect and the special effects…not very special at all, which is all part of the fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bedevilled

When the stress of her job at a financial center pushes her over the stress limit, Hae-won (Seong-won Ji) decides to take a vacation back to the tiny island where she grew up. It’s clear from the minute she steps off the boat that life on the island isn’t what she remembered it to be, or at least it doesn’t match with the memories she hasn’t suppressed about the brutal reality of her childhood. Although the film is set up as if it was going to reveal Haeowon’s past, director Chul-soo Jang is only setting the stage to draw you into a tale that’s darker and far more dangerous that you expect and the result is stunning. Of course, it would be unfair to simply spell out exactly what happens in the movie; suffice it to say that you need to keep your eyes on all the players in the drama as it unfolds because one the thin thread holding the island natives’ dark secret together snaps and the blood starts to flow, you won’t have time to try and reflect and figure out the clues leading to the first brutal killing, You’ll be too busy enjoying the thrill ride. 4 stars

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Who Live in Texas ‘75

The music is loud and played with high spirited energy. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the show is filmed, from the most part, using a single camera that looks like it was parked in the cheaper sides to the side of the stage. The director tries to compensate with a lot of cheap tricks, like slow motion photography and ‘cool’ special effects, but there’s no covering up the fact that you can only see part of the band most of the time. The camerawork improves as the show goes on with the addition of a second camera that shots the band from about 20 rows back on the floor, and there are even some shots that look like they were made from a camera on stage. They’re out of focus most of the time, but it’s still a better view than the one you have for the opening songs. The music is good, though, so maybe this is a concert DVD you want to turn the picture down and just listen to it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Great Mouse Detective

It may not have the cachet as some of the other Disney animated movies recently released on Blu-ray, but this only makes rediscovering this entertaining underdog all the more fun. Loosely based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular Sherlock Holmes adventures, the movie follows the adventures of Basil of Bakker Street (voiced by Barrie Ingham) as he helps a little mouse named Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) rescue her toy maker dad from the clutches of the evil Professor Ratigan (a wonderful Vincent Price). The script is fun, particularly in the way it both pays tribute and pokes a wee bit of fun at the Holmes legend, and the acting is strong. The film, the first feature length animated movie to combine hand-drawn images with computer generated ones, looks fabulous, too. The musical numbers are a bit dated, especially the big song performed by Ratigan called "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind," but they’re cheesy fun. The only downside is that the Great Mouse Detective never generated a sequel; not having one is a crime.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Lucy Show: The Official Sixth & Final Season

Don’t think of it as the final season; think of it as the season where some very talented friends came out to pay tribute to the redheaded queen of comedy because it’s those shows that make the set worth owning. Sure, there are some laughs to be found in the shows without any special guest stars, mainly because the chemistry between Lucy and co-star Gale Gordon as her cranky boss Mr. Mooney made even the most routine routines sparkle. Their comic timing may be impeccable, but it pales in comparison to the sparks Lucy could generate with somebody like Carol Burnett (in a two part episode called simply Lucy and Carol Burnett). The show where Lucy gets Jack Benny to make a deposit is a classic, too, especially if you are old enough to remember Benny’s penny-pinching comic persona. Add to it all the shows where Lucy is reteamed with her old pal Vivian Vance for a trip down memory lane, and you can see why Lucille Ball is still look up to as a comedy icon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

something big

This could be the strangest movie Dean Martin ever made…and considering how many films he made with Jerry Lewis, that’s saying a lot. In the movie, Martin plays Joe Baker, a criminal cowpoke with plans to do ‘something big.’ All he needs is a Gatlin gun, which he can get from a dirty dawg named Johnny Cobb (Albert Salmi) who will only part with the big gun if Baker brings him a woman. Any woman. The bulk of the movie has Baker holding up stagecoach after stagecoach looking for a woman to trade, finally settling on Mary Anna Morgan (Honor Blackman), the wife of the local Calvary colonel (Brian Keith). Confused? Then you’re thinking too hard. It’s almost unfair to try and judge this movie on anything but its sheer silliness, and on that scale it’s a surefire hit. If you can laugh when Baker’s horse shows his teeth (they are gold capped), then you’ll have fun. If you can’t, then don’t bother.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Girl

The hook, of course, is the delightful Zooey Deschanel, a quirky and talented actress who manages to be cute, without being cloying, nerdy without being nerve wracking and sexy without acting stupid. Plus, she can sing and has natural comic timing. No single person, however, is talented enough to hang an entire show from and keep it interesting – let alone funny and entertaining – on a sitcom week after week. So hats off to the producers for surrounding Deschanel with plenty of talented people to play off. The premise is simple: Deschanel plays a young woman who, after a painfully funny breakup with a long term boyfriend, moves in with three single guys. The plots basically center on the battle of the sexes, but it’s a battle fought with pillows at a sleepover so nobody gets hurt. The show has an edge, but it comes from the smart writing and sharp performances. It’s fresh, funny and totally addictive. 3 stars

Friday, October 12, 2012

Iron Man Armored Adventures Season 2, Volume 2

Although the series is definitely designed for kids, any fan of any facet of the Iron Man legend – form the original comics to the blockbuster movies – will enjoy watching the adventures of Tony Stark as a 16-year-old inventor and heir to the billion-dollar corporation Stark International. The stories walk a din balance between honoring the established Iron Man traditions and adding to the legendary superhero the young boy will grow up to be. In the six episodes on this disc you get to see everything from Iron Man going up against the villainous Doctor to his first meeting with the Black Widow and Hawkeye. The voice acting, lead by Adrian Petriw as Tony Stark, is generally excellent. The one caveat viewers may have about the series is the computer generated animation style, which is cold and impersonal in its rendering of the human characters in the movie. It makes the fights and technology used in the shows look great, but the people look like over-animated dolls. It takes a while to get used to … or simply ignore.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Samaritan

A Sam Jackson movie where he doesn’t yell half his lines at the top of his voice? That is reason enough to watch this entertaining film from director David Weaver (Century Hotel). In the film, Jackson plays a smalltime grafter named Foley who, after spending almost two decades in prison, is anxious to spend the rest of his life doing normal. There are people in the outside world, however, who have different plans for Foley and it isn’t too long before he has to resort to his old ways to keep himself alive. The Samaritan has all the right ingredients for being a decent heist movie,, and Weaver knows how to pace the reveals in a way that keeps you interested to see what will happen next. Luke Kirby is effective as the young punk who draws Filey back into the game, and Ruth Negga is haunting as the young woman who weaves her spell on Foley as the film progresses. Good as they are, this is still a Samuel Jackson film and it’s his performance that makes the film a nail biter to the end.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

G.I. Joe: Renegades: The Complete First Season

There have been countless versions of GI Joe released over the years, from a poorly animated afternoon kids show in the 80s to the 2009 big screen blockbuster GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Most of them, even the movie, come across more as an elongated advertisement to sell the Hasbro line of toys than anything worth standing on its own as a story. This series from 2010 breaks the mold by reinventing the Joe legend and giving it a modern spin. The series focuses on a group of young soldiers — Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, Tunnel Rat, Ripcord and Snake Eyes – who are forced to fight for themselves when a soy operation at a Cobra Industry operation goes awry. The voice acting in the series is good, and the stories are all pretty interesting. More importantly, the animation is light years beyond what fans were fed in the 80s. It may still be aimed at kids, but adults (especially the ones who were GI Joe fans in the 80s) will find a lot to like here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bob Dylan & The Band – Down in the Flood

Dylan going electric is one of the turning points of rock music history. It also marked the formation of one of music’s most influential and enduring groups, The Band. Although they were basically Dylan’s backup band for the electric tour, The Band – Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helms, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel – were more than glorified session players. They soaked up what they learned from playing for/with Dylan and used it to forge their own place in music history. The movie, with a run time of close to two hours, the film is filled with details about the music and the men who made it; if anything it’s a bit too exhaustive. There are too many people telling virtually the same stories over and over again. A little editing would go a long way to making a good movie like this great.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Klown

While attending a wedding, Frank (Frank Hvam) discovers two things: his girlfriend is pregnant and she’s thinking about getting an abortion because she just doesn’t see him as good father material. Determined to prove her wrong, Frank kidnaps the boy he and his girlfriend were supposed to be babysitting for the weekend and takes him on a canoe trip that the boy, Frank and the audience will never forget. Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard, Klown has more than its fair share of raunchy humor, including a bizarre three-some between Frank, his buddy Casper (screenwriter Casper Christensen) and a lonely woman they meet on their trip. Unlike most American comedies, that see raunchiness as the be all and end all of the story, Nørgaard makes sure to always keep the humanity of his characters in focus, which not only makes it a lot funnier, but gives the film a lot of heart, too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Habermann

Directed by Juraj Herz, this movie takes an in depth look at the Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 by focusing the story on how the invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country, impacts a specific family. August Habermann (Mark Wascjke) has been operating the family lumber yard and sawmill for a long time. He’s wealthy, a pillar of the community and, as the film opens, the new husband of Jana, the prettiest woman in the village. It’s a perfect life that is soon sent toppling to the ground as the German army moves in to ‘liberate’ the country from its Czech oppressors. Family and friends become divided upon political lines, trusted comrades become informers. Most shocking of all, Jana’s birth certificate shows that the father who abandoned her to be brought up in a convent was actually Jewish, making her, in the eyes of the new German government, a criminal. Herz keeps the tension levels cranked up high throughout the movie, while at the same time giving the actors — especially Ben Becker as the evil Sturmbannführer Kurt Koslowski – time to fully flesh out their roles. It’s a delicate balancing act, and an unforgettable movie.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lone Wolf and Cub Complete Collection

Even if you already own an edition of Lone Wolf and Cub, you will want to invest in this one. Digitally remastered from HD transfers of new prints of the films, this is the ultimate collection of the popular Japanese series about a rogue samurai and his son as they travel through Japan offering their deadly services to anyone who can pay them. If you are confused about the difference between this new set and the one you own, click HERE). The six films in the set follow the adventures of Ogami Itto and his son as they begin their bloody journey towards revenge on the fiendish Yagyu clan. The fight scenes are well choreographed and extremely violent – the blood literally sprays like a fountain out of those who fall victim to Ogami Itto’s sword. The acting is just as effective, and the stories far more complicated than you find in most samurai flicks.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beautiful Darling

A lot already has been said, written, filmed and recorded about Andy Warhol and his Factory, but by concentrating on one of the people closest to the artist, writer/director James Rasin brings a fresh perspective to a story anyone interested in the subject has heard before. Born James Lawrence Slattery in Forest Hills, Queens, Candy Darling was a sensation in New York City during the late 60s and early 70s. She was featured in a series of Warhol films, appeared on the Off-Broadway stage and was featured in glamorous shots for numerous fashion magazines. Combining archival footage and present day interviews, Rasin’s film does a good job of recreating the era that spawned Candy Darling, from The Factory to Studio 54. The film falters a bit in giving us any picture of who Candy Darling was beneath the layers of makeup. Of course, it can be argued – especially after watching the movie – that there wasn’t anything there, that the minute Candy Darling came to be James Lawrence Slattery ceased to exist. Still, the portrait painted by the film feels too one-sided without it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Games of the XXX Olympiad

Talk about a quick turnaround: The London Olympics only ended a month and a half ago, but the Blu-ray of the events is already available. The hurry to cash in on Olympic fever is understandable, but one can’t help wondering what was lost in the rush to get it to shelves ASAP. The two-disc set is filled with highlights, which is cool considering many Americans were fast asleep when the events took place to begin with given the time difference with London. But that’s about all you get – highlights. The drama that builds over the course of each event as you watch athletes compete against each other is lost; all you see is the winners winning. After a while, it gets a bit dull, especially if it’s a sport you watched already and know the outcome. On the plus side, at least you don’t have to listen to the insipid commentary from the announcers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Doubletime

Like all great documentaries, this film from director Stephanie Johnes takes the audience into a world they probably know very little about, in this case the world of competitive jump roping as embodied by two very different points of view. The Bouncing Bulldogs of North Carolina are purists who showcase athleticism over style in their single jump ropes routines. The Double Dutch Forces of South Carolina use style, swagger and two jump ropes to match their movements to a hip-hop soundtrack. The two philosophies collide when the squads are invited to compete in a jump rope showcase at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Johnes does a great job of building the viewer’s interest in the sport and in the athletes as they prepare for the big contest, balancing insightful interviews with lots of footage of the teams practicing and perfecting their routines. By the time they get to Harlem, you know these athletes and their coaches so well you almost feel bad for rooting for one team over the other, which makes the final faceoff very powerful to watch.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

To truly enjoy this new film from DC Universe Animated Original Movies, do yourself a huge favor and do not dig up your copy of the groundbreaking Frank Miller graphic novel on which it is based. View it on its own merits first. While it’s clear that the animators took a lot of trouble to include come of the iconic images from the source, it’s also equally clear how much work was put into this project to make sure people who have never read Miller’s book can enjoy it too. The story is set in a future where Batman has been retired for more than a decade. Bruce Wayne is an angry old man living the life of a debauched millionaire playboy that he only faked when he wore the cape and cowl. Jim Gordon is stepping down as police commissioner, too. Crime, however, in the form of a gang of mutant punks, is on the rise and it’s up to Wayne to put the drink down and put the costume back on one more time. The art work is good, better than the scratchy work Miller used in the original, and the voice talent is top notch, especially Peter Weller’s world-weary work as the Caped Crusader.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Delicacy

Audrey Tautou stars as Nathalie, a young woman whose life is shattered when the man she loves is struck by a car and killed. Shattered by the loss, Nathalie, a normally sunny and outgoing person, emotionally collapses and spends the next three years in a fog of desperate mourning stumbling from home to work and back again with virtually no interaction with the world around her. One day, on impulse, she passionately kisses a coworker, not to see what it would feel like kissing this particular man, but more to see if she can feel anything at all. She doesn’t and blocks the moment out of her mind. The guy (François Damiens) has a very different opinion of what happened and starts to woo Nathalie in a heartbreakingly clumsy way. Directed by brothers Stéphane and David Foenkinos, the film avoids the traps that catch most romantic comedies by letting the chemistry between the unlikely pair build over a series of well written scenes. Damiens plays the nerdy Romeo with goofy grace, while Tautou balances fading grief and increasing desire in new and moving ways.