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Friday, August 22, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on August 22 at 16:37 PM

Hello, friends and foes!

Opening this week:


I, for some reason, fail to hate sweaty Rainn Wilson vehicle The Rocker: “Like most films devoted to the absurd kickassedness of rock, it’s hopelessly derivative, but I’ve sat through worse moviegoing experiences than a secondhand Spinal Tap.”

Andrew Wright mega-hearts Steve Coogan, but only kind of hearts Hamlet 2: “Even if the film’s level of invention sputters here and there, its star is really something to see, creating a gurning, fearless portrayal of Americanus idiotus that even Chris Elliott might envy. (I can think of no higher praise.)”

The love lives of Mongolian shepherds in Tuya’s Marriage delight Annie Wagner to no end: “For Tuya (Yu Nan), the difficulty of eking out a living in Inner Mongolia is a given; it’s the institution of marriage that has to be stretched and massaged until it conforms to the circumstances of her life. Politics hum in the background, in the forces that are pushing her family away from a nomadic lifestyle and in a squabble over water rights, but the central conflicts of the plot are on a human scale.”

Charles Mudede delves Marxily into Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie: “She is not a slave; no one is forcing her to sell her sex. The shameful situation has resulted from a choice she made. Society is not to blame. Capitalism is not to blame. Her family is not to blame…Her tragic end has its source nowhere else but in herself, her freedom.”

And Annie Wagner says “no duh” to Transsiberian: “Some nice Christian women have checkered pasts? No shit. Ben Kingsley looks awesome in a furry Russian hat? So true. But if you concentrate very hard and don’t let the blaring danger cues spoil the fun, Transsiberian is an entertaining film. Just don’t expect finesseóand suffer the xenophobia in silence.”

Over in my little Concessions corner, a friend gets incurably freaked out by Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up on Mu at Northwest Film Forum. (Via text message: “Oh man, stumbled home, not sure if light was all weird or it was just me, had to lie in the dark for some time.”)

And in Limited Runs, some special treasures:

Animator (and Stranger Genius Awards shortlister) Stefan Gruber screens his complete works and two new shorts at Northwest Film Forum. Also at the Film Forum this week: Miyazake’s hypnotic Spirited Away; and two worthwhile takes on the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Summer ‘68 and the not-to-be-missed Medium Cool. The Grand Illusion has Church on Dauphine Street, a Hurricane Katrina documentary (“too polite,” sayeth Annie Wagner). The excellent Pickpocket is on at the Metro. Under NO circumstances should you sit on the filthy ground and watch Hairspray (2006’s John Travolta in “drag as your dad would do it, if your dad were developmentally disabled, wedged in a state-of-the-art fat suit, and drunk on Robitussin” version) at Fremont Outdoor Movies. Kung Fu Grindhouse Night is screening Evil Aliens, which I loved at SIFF in 2006 and described thusly: “If itís not a twitching human spine or an alien drill to the back passage, itís an exploding eyeball or a flesh-hungry fetus. Vomit. Brains. Pus. Titties. Inbred Welsh yokels. Genius.”

For all your other cinematic needs (Man on Wire! The Edge of Heaven! Star Wars: The Clone Wars!) visit our complete Movie Times page. Please. It would make me so happy.

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and don't you dare call this off topic because this will affect all of us

Posted by teve | August 22, 2008 4:50 PM

I got to see Transsiberian at SIFF, and I highly recommend it.

Yeah, the plot pushes plausibility in an effort to get the characters into dire situations, but what do you expect from a thriller, even a serious thriller? It does thrill and it's a real escape.

Oh, and the cast:

Emily Mortimer is just one big-time movie star. There's just an intimacy about her on the screen--here even more than in Match Point. Dear Hollywood, please, more films starring Emily Mortimer.

And yes, Ben Kingsley... Awesome. Of course.

Posted by cressona | August 22, 2008 7:01 PM

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