Kind of a good movie. Directed by a Danish woman from the Dogma movement who is about to make a movie based on a Low album.

Our man Jacob (I like to call him Mads) was a wreck, cheating on his girlfriend and leaving her in India then dedicating the rest of his life to helping orphans (so: a Good Man). All his ventures fail so he needs funding. Enter rich, dying Jorgen, married to Mads’s ex, who has three kids. Eldest is actually Mads’s and the twins are Jorgen’s. Jorgen, also a Good Man, wants someone to take over for him after he dies, love his wife and kids for him, so he tricks Mads into coming to Denmark by funding his Indian thing. Mads stays, leaving his Indian kids behind, a happy ending for all.

Of course all of this is gradually revealed, not laid out neatly in order, but as soon as Mads shows up at the eldest daughter’s wedding and shares a look with Jorgen’s wife, we (I?) know the daughter is his.

Shot grainy and handheld. Good story, acting, etc… nothing wrong here. Most interesting how movie stays tense with no “bad guy”, all buncha decent people. I guess the daughter’s new husband turns out to be a shit… that details after the Indian intro brought back The Namesake a little.

IMDB reviewer says “I haven’t been this moved since I saw I Am Sam and that’s saying something!”

Completely unhinged Danish animated movie… yes, two Danish movies premiering in one week, something like 15% of all the Danish movies I’ve ever seen. Very calm intro, lead guy walking around the neighborhood, slow and simple, than roooar into the opening credits. Love it. Rest of the movie sticks mostly to the roar side of things, with some truly audacious scenes.

August moves in with sister Christina, but boyfriend Charlie spends a lot of time there too. After an eviction threat, they plot to blackmail the landlord to let them stay, so August, always with his video camera, tapes his underage sister having sex with the landlord, and voila. This might be what leads August to piss off and become a missionary priest for a few years.

Comes back, sister has just died, her little daughter Mia is staying at a whorehouse, and Charlie runs a media empire selling Christina’s body on video and magazines. Only bloody revenge can ensue! August blasts his way to the top with Mia in tow. Weird ending though… go to a huge party at C’s house, but C doesn’t even seem to be home. A has hidden a bomb in M’s doll, M runs inside with it, A runs after her, boom.

Alzheimer’s movie by Sarah Polley, who bravely wrestled herself and Julie Christie away from Hal Hartley before he could cast either of them in another of his increasingly bad movies.

Surprisingly heartwarming movie, not the sad slog it might’ve been. Christie is the devoted wife with alzheimer’s, Gordon Pinsent (shipping news, tons of tv stuff) is the devoted husband, Michael Murphy (john sayles movies) is Julie’s fellow nursing home patient and Olympia Dukakis (mr. holland’s opus) is Murphy’s wife.

Movie jumps through time and space, visiting scenes out of order but with a sense of purpose, flashing back and slowly revealing, not just the usual “start with the ending for the helluvit” (see: pan’s labyrinth). Seems Gordon cheated on Julie years before, and as she’s forgetting her way home and forgetting where the dishes go in the kitchen, she can’t forget that. In the rest home she assumes a new identity as the wife of Michael Murphy, much to her real husband’s and Murphy’s real wife’s horror. It’s a clever balancing act: is Julie punishing Murphy for past transgressions or is she so far gone that she really doesn’t recognize him?

Just a gorgeous movie with excellent story, performances, close-ups, snowy cross-country skiing, and Julie Christie’s beautiful expressions. One of my faves so far this year.

A funny puppet version of dante’s inferno, updated for 2007. But for the most part, “funny” means juvenile jokes at easy targets, “puppet” means stiff 2D drawings with hinged limbs, and “updated” means Virgil has a cellphone and we namecheck each member of G.W. Bush’s cabinet as we go through the circles of hell.

So not too great, but surely not bad either… worth a waste of 75 minutes to hear the not-always-bad jokes, see the occasionally-clever puppetry and watch a little video that someone spent a lotta time on. Not much of a recommendation, but it neatly filled an early afternoon timeslot at the film festival without making me go home or making me wish I had.

Oh and some famous actors did the voices as usual.

Blood: Disliked from the start, showing a neglected round-bellied child walking stupidly around some animals, hitting them, unsupervised, an animal herself. Movie explores the problem of AIDS in China, how it is widespread and misunderstood. Uses the ol’ “look how sad everything is, feel sorry for us” effect… more a mission than a movie.

Sari: the excised fourth Iraq Fragment (and seems shorter than the others), also about AIDS. The kid in this one is human, with thoughts and feelings, expressed in voiceover like the rest of the Fragments, as his mother runs the bureaucratic gauntlet trying to get him treatment.

I think in both situations the kids got the disease through blood transfusions… sad that’s still happening anywhere in this decade.

Pretty okay movie. Definitely a strong western with lovely Australian landscapes. Good enough story. Guy Pearce is the bad guy with conscience, part of a whole bad guy family. Arrested with his daft younger brother in a whorehouse shootout, the chief lets him go, promising to free the younger if Guy kills his older, a hardcore killer living in the mountains. Well done, with great acting by Pearce, Ray Winstone (captain), Emily Watson (capn’s wife), and Richard Wilson (younger) and loopy fun acting by David Gulpilil (always the tracker) and John Hurt (bounty hunter).

Fall just short of loving this movie, only because it seems to have no real point besides “Nick Cave wanted to write an Australian Western”. I don’t have much Western history to compare it to, though… Good/Bad/Ugly, Dead Man, The Unforgiven, Fistful of Dollars… so no comment on its place in the great Western tradition. Little bit of mob-rule in there as the townsfolk find out about the captain’s deal, take younger brother from prison and flog him almost to death. E. Watson participates in that (cuz the brothers raped/killed her friend), then faints from the brutality… later is raped and has husband killed by older brother after he finds out. So it’s a cycle of violence thing (even though older bro planned to kill her husband before he even knew that younger bro had been whipped). Scenes about the aboriginal Australians’ relation with the whites… Gulpilil works for the captain’s men (gets killed), others are captured/enslaved, others attack without warning, spearing Pearce (see below) and some of captain’s men, and getting their heads blown off by older bro. Don’t think there’s much political commentary going on here, just attempts at historical accuracy.

Abandoned the commentary after 30 minutes as Cave & Hillcoat were just alternating between “this scene was really hard to do” and “this actor is brilliant”. The two made a movie in the late 80’s called Ghosts of the Civil Dead and have a comedy coming this year called Death of a Ladies’ Man [note 3 years later: this is probably Death of Bunny Munro, got postponed due to The Road].

Best outcome of the movie: getting on a Nick Cave kick and buying the 2DVD/2CD “Abbatoir Blues Tour” set. The 15-minute music video for “Babe, I’m On Fire”, also directed by John Hillcoat, is almost as good as The Proposition.

Tried to find the least-interlaced screenshots.

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Harsh, harsh film. Three soldiers (Zack, Mike and Steve) get cameras to take on their tour in Iraq, filming daily activity and keeping sort of video journals. Meanwhile, camera crew in U.S. interviews their family, loved ones, and records their safe return home at the end. Tightly edited together to give an excellent, horrifying look at the war.

Cameras can be helmet-mounted or gun-mounted, giving a disturbingly video-game-like feel to the fighting (and there IS fighting). We see IEDs go off, civilians get hurt, US soldiers get hurt, dead rebels, grieving families. Brings home the reality of things I’d only vaguely read/heard about that are still going on (this was shot 2004). Very glad I watched, even if I felt terrible throughout.

Zach is from Lebanon, speaks Arabic, is one of the few US soldiers who can communicate with the locals, until he gets tired of having to repeat the company line to them. Mike is a pro-war go-get-em guy who signed up because of 9/11 and ended up disgusted by the experience, back at his difficult job at home. Steve is a lightweight joker reading The Nation, goes through a lot in Iraq, comes home probably with post-traumatic disorders, all a ball of bottled rage. These guys have gone to war and been messed up by it. They’re worse off, both countries are worse off. A real-life horror movie.

An IED going off:
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Night-Vision Zack:
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“Secularism won’t give us our rights. America is secular but its democracy hasn’t achieved justice.”

All movies start with the ending now. This starts with the ending.

Documentary portrait of an Iraqi father running for political office, unsuccessfully. His (friend’s?) son gets kidnapped for ransom towards the end of the movie, safely returned, seems unconnected to the election. A muddled film giving a muddled look into the muddled political world of a muddled country. Would’ve maybe been valuable if The War Tapes hadn’t blown it away a few minutes later.

Enjoy the forced subtitles:
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Starts with the end. All movies start with the end now.

Kind of a disappointment. Not just that expectations were high, just that they were so high for so long and movie kept playing and finally I saw it in closing week and by then I knew it’d be a depressing fascist struggle film with metaphorical special effects and had already seen the monster with eyes in its hands a million times in promo photos. Had few delightful surprises to offer, just a good movie.

Let’s see… fascist Spain 1944, little Ofelia’s dad is dead and mom is marrying a psycho captain who moves them into the country to fight rebel forces who camp in the woods. Housekeeper Mercedes is in love with lead rebel and smuggles out food, supplies and information. A showdown ensues, rebels win the battle but not the war.

Oh also Ofelia finds an underground fantasyland where she tries to escape the pain of reality and eventually succeeds by getting shot to death by the captain and reuniting with her dead parents, now king and queen of Pan’s realm. A happy ending, not really.

Katy liked it I think.