VIFF 09: Day 11 10/12/2009
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism
Directed by Gerald Peary
American film criticism has a rich and interesting history entirely worthy of a documentary. But one better than this one. Peary's film is dull and poorly put together. For the Love of Movies is shallow and not even particularly informative. Most of the stock footage (which is 99% of the movie) is arbitrarily assembled, and the brief running time of 80 minutes fails to cover large pieces of this "story". It is, however, nice to see certain critics speak, and to finally be able to put a face to the name. Seeing Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris talk about each other is fascinating, and seeing greats like Roger Ebert pop up is a treat. Ultimately, one could spend 80 minutes on the internet and learn much more, and see even more interesting footage of these people. Considering the subject of the movie is film criticism, it wouldn't have taken much to please me, and I was not pleased.
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Audience favourite Almodovar's latest film is an utter failure. It is alternately fluffy, melodramatic and dark, and doesn't know how to handle its mix of tones. Not long after Broken Embraces began, I lost interest in its characters and themes, and ended up spending much of the remaining time laughing at the film. Most of the actors do what they can with such weak material, but Almodovar seems unable to take advantage of his player's talents. Almodovar's storytelling is intrinsically flawed, and his attempt to explore the themes is embarrassing. The only other Almodovar film I've seen is the critically acclaimed Volver, which I prefer but also didn't really care for. Because of his status as top-notch filmmaker, I will continue to go through his filmography. However it is not something I look forward to.
posted by adam cook