Archive for the “2006” Category

2006

June 27, 2009
Netflix DVD
Ireland / UK / Germany / Italy / Spain / France
English / Irish Gaelic
127 Minutes — March 16, 2007
Drama / History / War
Ken Loach [Ladybird Ladybird]

In 1920, a radical young Irish doctor cancels his plans to practice medicine in London when he witnesses British troops brutalizing Irish volunteers waging a guerrilla campaign.

Not sure about its historical accuracy, but this film sure makes the British look like total dicks. ROB ROY and BRAVEHEART and BLOODY SUNDAY and to a lesser extent, GANDHI, did the same thing. But this seemed somehow more brutal. Because it’s Ireland, there are, of course, two brothers, one of whom is about to become a highly-paid doctor in England and the other is becoming something of a leader in the Irish resistance. I’ve since done a bit of reading on the subject and the film followed pretty closely the Declaration of Irish Independence and the different battles and skirmishes they had. The film is supposed to show us a reluctant man, forced into taking up arms after all that he witnesses. It’s hard to dispute his actions, but I’d like to see a film from a reluctant English occupier some day. Several powerful scenes involve torture by the British on the Irish leader in a dank jail cell. Perhaps more morally horrifying is the way that the “good guys” have to deal with their own men who may have been forced to tell secrets under fear of that same torture. If someone tells the opposing army, and it results in the death of some of your men, what do you do to the young man who let the cat out of the bag?

You’ll need the subtitles, by the way.

Winner of 2006 Palme D’or

8.2 Metacritic
7.6 IMDB
** Halliwells

The Wind That Shakes the Barley @ Amazon

THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY

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AVENUE MONTAIGNE
2006

June 20, 2009
Netflix DVD
France
French / English
100 Minutes — February 16, 2007
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Daniele Thompson

I still don’t know why this film showed up in my mailbox. I obviously added it to my Netflix Queue, but for the first time, I have no idea why. It didn’t star anyone I’ve seen anything else from. The director was new to me. I don’t love Paris-based films. I don’t add things because Netflix says “I also might enjoy…” So I’m not sure what happened, it may have even been a mistake. Having said that, it was an enjoyable story about a single block on a street and the stories behind a play, a piano recital, and an auction all taking place on the same night. One spunky “amelie-esque” waitress is the connection to all three stories. All of the characters are wealthy and attractive, but even rich people have a hard time being happy all the time.

The actress in the play, feels like she’s slumming by appearing on a soap opera when all she really wants is to be cast in the newest Sydney Pollack film. The pianist would rather play in shorts and flip flops to a group of children or hospital patients than tour nonstop for rich audiences. The old man who is auctioning off his priceless art collection is trying to stay young in the arms of a beautiful woman who is open about only loving his money.

It’s good, it’s french, and the main waitress character is adorable. What’s not to like?

6.4 Metacritic
6.9 IMDB

AVENUE MONTAIGNE

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2006

April 29, 2009
Netflix DVD
UK
English
101 Minutes
Drama
Shane Meadows

Run With The Crowd, Stand Alone, You Decide

In 1983, a 12 year old boy in the north of England, whose father has died in the Falkands War, falls in with a gang of skinheads who introduce him to racist members of the far-right National Front.

8.6 Metacritic
7.9 IMDB

This is England @ Amazon

THIS IS ENGLAND

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I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE
2006

March 21, 2009
Netflix DVD
Malaysia / China / Taiwan / France / Austria
Taiwanese / Malay / Mandarin / Bengali
115 Minutes
Comedy / Drama
Ming-Liang Tsai [What Time Is It There?]

7.8 Metacritic
7.2 IMDB

I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone @ Amazon

I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE

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2006

December 31, 2008
Netflix Roku
USA
English
100 Minutes — February 8, 2008
Documentary / Comedy
Ari Sandel

Vince Vaughn, who will forever be remembered for making fratboys across the nation say “you’re so money” in SWINGERS, got some of his buddies together for a tour of 30 cities in 30 days. He talks up a lot about taking his show to the heartland, but five dates are in California, and St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta are hardly strangers to stand-up comedy.

On the other hand, I am a big fan of his OCD-inspired fast-talking and the comics he brings along are pretty funny. One of them is Ahmed Ahmed who became something of a poster-boy of an Arab-American trying to make it big in a post-9/11 world. He’s been profiled in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He already has a career. The other three guys are at various levels of struggling. If you thin a 30 day tour into a ten minute act, of course these guys are going to look like comedic geniuses. Vaughn acted as the MC, and did some skits with famous friends (Favreau, Long, Yoakim), but most of the stuff is about the four comics.

Your like or dislike of this movie will be dependent on your interest in stand-up comedy as an artform or a catharsis-in-public for the performers. If you’ve ever wondered if you would have made it on a stage in front of a brick wall (as I often do), it will probably hold your interest. Each of them is shown after a disasterous set where they had a completely different impression of their show than the audience did. One guy yells out “F**k Yeah!” but the comic hears it as “F**k You!”, which completely takes him out of his rhythm. Stuff like that I enjoy–you may not.

Another worthwhile portion is that we meet the parents of several performers and see where they get their sense of humor or lack thereof. Ahmed’s parents are especially interesting as they’re Egyptian immigrants who expect their children (especially sons) to be doctors or lawyers–certainly not a guy who tells swear word jokes for a living. The stuff on the road isn’t new in any way. The boys (minus Vaughn–who has his own back bed) sleep in bunks on the bus. They share single hotel rooms. They get on each other’s nerves. We’ve seen that stuff before. We also only glimpse the towns in which they perform. They visit Graceland and Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace, and the Grand Ole Opry, but I defy you to differentiate between the audiences at these different places.

Doesn’t say very much about the life of an entertainer or the “heartland of America”, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

5.1 Metacritic
5.9 IMDB

Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show @ Amazon

VINCE VAUGHN’S WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW

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2006

December 21, 2008
September 16, 2006
DVD — Thanks, Paul
USA
English
106 Minutes — August 11, 2006
Drama
Ryan Fleck
Ryan Gosling [Remember The Titans; The Believer; The Notebook; Lars And The Real Girl]

Secrets Don’t Let Go.

A teacher in an inner-city middle school has a heroin habit — a fact discovered but kept secret by one of his pupils, a 13-year-old girl. He tries to protect her from unseemly influences in her life out of school, and they strike up a cautious friendship.

“Hey Teach, can I ask you something?”
“Mmm-hmm”
“What’s it feel like when you smoke that stuff?”

And then the look on Ryan Gosling’s face somehow tells us how hard the struggle is inside him. The struggle against drugs and the struggle to remain a viable and worthwhile role model to the students he teaches. This was my favorite film of 2006 and I was again captivated by Gosling’s realistic (and realistically flawed) performance as a caring teacher by day, basehead by night.

One father figure for Drey is the local drug dealer, who has a stable home life, a nice car, and whose worse vice appears to be an addiction to peppermint candies. The other father figure is a schoolteacher, who can barely make rent, hooks up with strangers in bars, and is addicted to all sorts of substances. Neither are good for her. Both truly care about her.



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HALF NELSON is the subject of Cinebanter Podcast Number 7. After you’ve seen the movie, listen to the spoiler-filled review by Tassoula and I by clicking the play button right here. (note: the audio quality back then wasn’t particularly good–I breathe heavily during this episode–sorry):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Show Description:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 HALF NELSON Discussion, Part 1
• Break
• 20:56 HALF NELSON Discussion, Part 2
• Break
• 31:35 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 32:36 The Last Five®
• Break
• 47:12 Corrections
• Break
• 49:19 Surprise Segment
• 56:42 Credits and outtakes

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“It’s a thinly disguised battle of wills over the future of an adolescent girl between two improbable saviors, but the writing and characterizations are so strong that the story never feels reduced to such a bald formula. Instead, the script is full of intriguing grace notes; Dan’s ambivalence about growing up, Drey’s wisdom that often gives way to her child-like qualities; and the pact between the two, which in context seems oddly believable. And it’s rare that one sees an actor inhabit a role as meticulously as Gosling does here.” — Halliwell’s Film Guide 2008

“The script deals steadily with enduring racial and social divisions in America by pitching the liberal thinking of the classroom against the reality of the street. Gosling and Epps, a most unusual and effective pair, show real commitment.” — Time Out Film Guide 2007

8.5 Metacritic
7.5 IMDB
** Halliwell’s

Half Nelson @ Amazon

HALF NELSON

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HARD TIMES, EASY CREDIT AND THE ERA OF PREDATORY LENDERS
2006

November 30, 2008
Showtime
USA
English
90 Minutes
Documentary
James D. Scurlock

The Movie You Can’t Afford To Miss.

6.5 Metacritic
7.4 IMDB

Maxed Out @ Amazon

MAXED OUT

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TELL NO ONE
2006

July 23, 2008
September 17, 2008
Campbell CA — Camera 7
France
French
125 Minutes — July 2, 2008
Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Guillaume Canet

Eight Years Ago, Alex’s Wife Was Murdered. Today…She E-mailed Him.

Can a murder-mystery be as spell-binding the second time? In this case, yes. Though there was a single plot point that I didn’t notice the first time, which I found to be illogical and impossible the second time. I promise you won’t notice it on the first viewing. Still one of my favorites of the year.

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TELL NO ONE is the subject of Cinebanter Podcast Number 56. After you’ve seen the movie, listen to the spoiler-filled review by Tassoula and I by clicking the play button right here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Show Description:
• 00:00 Intro
• 00:26 TELL NO ONE Discussion, Part 1
• Break
• 17:00 TELL NO ONE Discussion, Part 2
• Break
• 30:15 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 31:10 The Last Five®
• Break
• 53:45 Listener Feedback
• 1:01:30 Credits and Outtakes

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8.2 Metacritic
8.0 40 Critic Consensus
7.5 IMDB

Tell No One @ Amazon

TELL NO ONE

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TELL NO ONE
2006

July 23, 2008
San Jose CA — Camera 3
France
French
125 Minutes — July 2, 2008
Drama / Thriller
Guillaume Canet [The Beach]

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TELL NO ONE is the subject of Cinebanter Podcast Number 56. After you’ve seen the movie, listen to the spoiler-filled review by Tassoula and I by clicking the play button right here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Show Description:
• 00:00 Intro
• 00:26 TELL NO ONE Discussion, Part 1
• Break
• 17:00 TELL NO ONE Discussion, Part 2
• Break
• 30:15 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 31:10 The Last Five®
• Break
• 53:45 Listener Feedback
• 1:01:30 Credits and Outtakes

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8 Years Ago, Alex’s Wife Was Murdered. Today She E-mailed Him.

8.0 Metacritic
7.5 IMDB

TELL NO ONE

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2006

July 12, 2008
HBO
USA
English
122 Minutes — January 12, 2007
Crime / Drama
Nick Cassavetes [Mask; Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle; She’s So Lovely; Face/Off; Blow; The Notebook]

Inspired By True Events

5.3 Metacritic
6.9 IMDB

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Written by Michael W. Cummins