Sometimes we watch stuff that we want to talk just a little bit about, not a full review worth. These are those films. If any of the films reviewed are available on Netflix Instant Watch (US or Canada) or HuluPlus (US only), we’ll note that by putting a direct link below the capsule.
Everything Must Go
2010 USA. Director: Dan Rush. Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Michael Pena, Laura Dern.
This is Will Ferrell reminding us that he can do more than his usual loud comedy schtick – which gets tiresome quite quickly – and proving he’s a more than decent dramatic actor (he did the same thing with the underrated Stranger Than Fiction a few years back). Ferrell plays a recovering alcoholic whose wife leaves him, and as a result leaves all of his belongings on the lawn. With nowhere to go and pressure from the law to move on, he decides to hold a yard sale to buy himself some time. Nice supporting performances from Rebecca Hall and relative newcomer Christopher Jordan Wallace and a script that walks the comedy-drama line pretty well. Altogether a little too slight to leave much of a lasting impression but a pleasant, enjoyable watch nonetheless.
1959 France. Director: Robert Bresson. Starring: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri, Dolly Scal, Pierre Leymarie.
The film postulates that humanity cannot find salvation without first making a lot of dumb and irrational mistakes. I do not disagree with this assessment. Salvation for our eponymous compulsive thief comes from a woman who, at the time it is safe to assume, was the most attractive woman on the planet (Malika Green, who apparently is Eva Green’s aunt). Three things struck out at me visually while watching this brand spankin’ new 35mm print of the film: First, the director favours his actors constantly walking at the camera from the long distance in a single unbroken shot. It happens often enough that it has to be intentional. I’m not sure what that means in terms of story, but it has the effect that the thief is coming for you, or your wallet, or your to await your judgement. It’s a pretty swell visual strategy. Second, there is a wallet-theft montage which takes place in a train-station and on a train in the latter third of the film that is pure joyous art. Really wonderfully done. Third, the splicing right before fade out transitions is so obvious such that you can perceive the cut every single time by a brightness shift. I wonder how often this was the case for films of that era, because never was it more obvious here. I know we should leave these things intact, but really, someone should fix that, it’s distracting and pulls you out of the film.