From the Archive — Paris, je t’aime

There’s no particular inspiration for extracting this old review from the archive today. It is one of the fairly random raids of my old writing. The only annotation I’ll offer is the retrospective conviction that Alexander Payne’s segment is strongest in the film. It’s the one that has stuck with me. The new film Paris, je t’aime brings together eighteen directors (or teams of directors) to create short films celebrating the beloved city of the title. There is no through-line, no overlap, nothing that connects the pieces together. It seems everyone was given the the freedom to construct whatever they … Continue reading From the Archive — Paris, je t’aime

Enright and Berkeley, Garbus, McQuarrie, Van Sant

Promised Land (Gus Van Sant, 2012). This is exactly the sort of appalling earnest, dramatically inert fare that makes many rightly cringe when they think about the sort of medicine-tinged movies Oscar season might bring. With a story credit for Dave Eggers and a shared screenplay credit for Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who also start in the film, Promised Land takes the issue of fracking and tries to spin a sort of Capraesque fable with a dose of twenty-first century cynicism and a gotcha plot twist for good measure. Damon plays an ambitious employee of a global energy concern who … Continue reading Enright and Berkeley, Garbus, McQuarrie, Van Sant

Top Ten Movies of 2008 — Number Nine

#9 Gus Van Sant’s Milk pulls off the gratifying trick of making the fact that its title character is gay simultaneously vitally central and utterly beside the point. Harvey Milk’s mid-seventies rise from San Francisco small businessman to influential political figure is largely predicated on and shaped by his identity as a homosexual man. His sense of how community works–how to understand it, how to motivate those who are a part of it–is built there from the ground up. The powers of persuasion that serve him well in San Francisco municipal government are forged there. Perhaps most importantly, the urgency … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2008 — Number Nine