Wall*E

by Ulf on October 6th, 2008

Many people seem to like the new Pixar flick, but I think it’s a far cry from the likes of Ratatouille and Toy Story. A little robot cleans up the over-littered earth after all humans have decamped for more hospitable grounds far away, and he falls in love with a visiting robotess who’s looking for life left on the planet. Sure, it’s cute, and it’s fun to see where mankind might be headed once people are too obese to walk on their own, but the plot never really engages the viewer, and seems an incoherent whole.

More info at imdb.com

Watching Paris

by Ulf on August 20th, 2008

The film depicts a neighborhood of Paris and its inhabitants in their pursuit of happiness, or simply their daily life. The focal point is a severely ill man who watches the people from his balcony but can’t take part any more, and his sister who helps him cope. There are some similarities to Short Cuts, although more attention is given to love and companionship here (as befits the city), sometimes in all its undignified -but all too human- glory. Imperfect people try to make the best of life in a great city, or -as the main character summarizes it- “That’s Paris – everybody complains, nobody just enjoys living.”

More info at imdb.com

Charming hitmen on the loose In Bruges

by Ulf on July 25th, 2008

A couple of hitmen need to hide out for a while and are sent to Bruges. While one enjoys the sights of the medieval city, the other is looking for less exalted pleasures. Eventually, things become … more complicated, involving their boss, a dwarf, a couple of Canadian tourists, a couple of locals preying on tourists, romance, beer, a weapons dealer, a pregnant landlady and much else, not least beautiful pictures of the city. In the end, a surprising amount of humanity is on display, considering the profession of the protagonists. Not that all of them survive, mind you. Having seen images of the city for the first time, I’ve resolved to go there myself some day, so it’s a cinematic ad for the city as well.

More info at imdb.com

Fresh at the box office: CSN&Y / Déjà Vu

by Ulf on July 15th, 2008

CSN&Y Deja VuIn 2006, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came together for yet another reunion tour, this time under the motto Freedom of Speech with a decidedly anti-war message. Although the protagonists are all in their 60s now, their fire, song and guitar playing is still almost what it was 40 years earlier. Musically, this is somewhere between the Neil Young captured on film in Year of the Horse and the one in Heart of Gold. Besides the music, the film also has interviews with the musicians, reactions of concert-goers (both positive and negative), and some footage of 60s/70s performances of CSN&Y at the height of the protests against the Vietnam war and the Kent State killings. The music may not be the best Young’s ever written -although some is quite good- but seeing the audience and media reactions, and hearing the band tell their point of view makes for a memorable concert/tour movie.

More info at imdb.com