Monday, April 17, 2006

Quick Takes, March 31-April 16

by Brian
Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas): Oscar nominee for Foreign Film last year, this movie is about a temporary truce struck by Scottish, German, and French soldiers in the trenches during World War One. As one would expect, the film plays rather broadly, and it contains, without a doubt, the worst lip synching ever recorded in any visual medium ever. But it's still fairly powerful despite its sentimental tendencies. Very good performance by Daniel Bruhl, as the German lieutenant; a lot of overacting by many of the others.

Duma: This movie about a boy named Xan and his pet cheetah became a popular cause by Ebert and Roeper last year, and it finally opened in Dallas a couple weeks ago. It’s a very good film, not least because of the animal footage, which is truly spectacular. But it’s also very interesting from a character standpoint, especially in Eamonn Walker’s Ripkuna, who at first seems like a stock “questionable motives” type but turns out to be much more fully developed than that. A good show.

Fateless: Another Holocaust movie, but unlike The Pianist and The Grey Zone from recent years, this one doesn’t really strike any new ground. Still, like every review of this movie has mentioned, it’s impeccably shot, and if it feels like this ground has been covered, it remains powerful ground.

L’Enfant (The Child): Palme D’Or winner last year, and a good film, but I don’t understand how anyone could seriously argue that it’s superior to either Caché or A History of Violence.

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days: Another Foreign Film Academy nominee from last year, and perhaps the equal of winner Tsotsi, Sophie Scholl details the arrest and execution of a young anti-Nazi activist in 1943 Munich. I really appreciated the straightforward, unsentimental approach director Marc Rothemund takes here, because the potential for melodrama is always so close. Very well acted by Julia Jentsch as Sophie and Gerald Alexander Held as a Nazi interrogator.


Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Dubbed foreign films really irk me. I much prefer subtitles.

A friend of mine actually saw the Roberto Benigni Pinocchio, which he said had atrocious lip-synching. And, of course, there are those Japanese monster movies. So the bar for bad lip-synching has been set high.

4/17/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Actually, the movie was subtitled. The lip-synching I'm referring to is during an opera performance, where the opera voices clearly don't belong to the characters, and is very much part of the original version of the movie.

4/17/2006 02:10:00 PM  

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