Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Mike D'Angelo ( has covered Cannes and Toronto for at least ten years. His Twitter thumbnail reviews come out shortly after he sees each film. You find them here: He writes day-by-day Cannes reports for AV Club.

Note: D'Angelo's distinctive and valid tweet-reviewing style was heralded by Kevin B. Lee in Fandor in a 2011 piece called "Essential Tweets: 34 Film Reviews From The Man Who TIFFed Too Much. . .Mike D’Angelo’s Twitter coverage of Toronto employs a new kind of film review aesthetic."

Note: 50 is average in D'Angelo's system. W/O (walkout), presumably not worth rating, but this is somewhat like grading "on a curve." He says before he gives a "W/O" rating he stays through the second reel if it's a print or 40 minutes if it's digital. What follow are exclusively D'Angelo's words copied and pasted from his Twitter stream rearranged with highest rated first.


Holy Motors (Carax): 88. Holy shit.

Moonrise Kingdom: 75. Balance between pre-adolescent ardor and adult disappointment a bit wobbly, but mostly delightful in RUSHMORE vein. [A week later D'Angelo revisited MONNRISE and raised his rating to 78.]

Love (Haneke): 77. Starts out surprisingly lovely, then turns Haneke-grueling. But always deeply felt & beautifully acted, if singleminded.

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! (Resnais): 73. His fond farewell, ruminating on the end, his career and the nature of cinema and theater.
So audacious in conception initially that it wasn't quite sustainable, but very much the film I wished PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION had been.

Sister (Meier): 68. Surprisingly Dardennes-y, but it's not like that's a bad thing. Seydoux ideally cast. English title not ideal. [Market]

NO (Larraín): 68. Honestly, I think this mostly fails in every way except being funny. But it's the funniest movie I've seen all year.

Reality (Garrone): 66. Another film w/only one idea, but at least it's a bold one. Feels like something Buñuel would make if he were alive.

Rust and Bone (Audiard): 64. The story of a horribly disabled person, and also of a woman with no legs. Stealthy reverse schematism! I like.

Killing Them Softly (Dominik): 63. Subtext, Andrew. *Sub*text. Sub.

Mud (Nichols): 62. Ripping yarn with some iffy gender politics, though I give Nichols credit for strenuous efforts to cover his ass.

Lawless (Hillcoat): 61. Flavorful turf-war pseudo-Western with two iconic badasses (and Pearce out-intimidating Hardy, incredibly).

Cosmopolis (Cronenberg): 59. Demands an incredibly precise tone that Cronenberg nails about half the time. Thrilling when he does.
[+1] A reductive way of putting it is that the more human the actor opposite Pattinson (who's great) seems, the less effective the scene.
[+2] Maybe "great" is too strong, but he's perfectly in tune with the film's deliberately stilted, almost robotic nature.

Beyond the Hills (Mungiu): 59. Another accomplished film content to just keep doing one thing from start to finish. Super intense though.

Room 237 (Ascher): 58. Really wish he'd structured it w/each interview as a self-contained unit. But most of the evidence is amusingly wack.

The Angels' Share (Loach): 56. Puckish light commercial comedy with some big laughs and a Hollywood-ready contrived plot. Mild fun.

Safety Not Guaranteed (Trevorrow): 56. Winning premise spins wheels, indulges weak subplots straining to reach feature length. [Market]

38 Witnesses (Belvaux): 55. Powerful when purely cinematic, which is about half the time. On-the-nose dialogue sometimes painful. [Market]

For Love's Sake (Miike): 55. Batshit-goofy musical gradually gets bogged down in convoluted high-school gang plot. Should run 90, not 137.

The Hunt (Vinterberg): 54. To avoid exasperating @msicism let's just say you've more or less seen this one once you know the premise.

Laurence Anyways (Dolan): 53. Yeah, this is way too long. And stars Melvil Poupaud, who I can rarely stomach. Scattered inspired moments.

The We and the I (Gondry): 52. In which he remakes GET ON THE BUS as a high-school movie. Enjoyed rowdy energy, not so much the earnestness.

Me & You (Bertolucci): 52. Pleasantly inconsequential tale of half-sibs hiding out in a basement storage room feels like a warm-up exercise.

In Another Country (Hong): 51. Not sure if I'm tickled or disappointed that he made the same film he always makes, except w/ Huppert in it.

On the Road (Salles): 51. Insert unadaptable-novel boilerplate. Riley's a black hole but Hedlund is tremendous, finally becomes a star.

In the Fog (Loznitsa): 50. Much more conventional than MY JOY, and somehow feels simultaneously sparse and bloated. Adaptation issue?

Post tenebras lux (Reygadas): 48, for now. If demystified, could be 84. Tho' the feeling of ultra-super-mega-pretentiousness might linger.
I will say that the opening rivals SILENT LIGHT's imo (and is not unlike that tour de force crossed with his REVOLUCION short).

Paradise: Love (Seidl): 47. Two hours of mutual exploitation. Individual scenes crackle, but Seidl has one idea, hammers it relentlessly.

Days in Havana (various): 46. Suleiman's film is typically good, Noé's is scary-sensual, everything else is passable to dreck to Medem.

Mekong Hotel (Joe): 41. Strictly a doodle, and formally drab to boot. Supernatural elements feel shoehorned in. Guitar score is pleasant.

After the Battle (Nasrallah): 38. Plays like a daytime soap that happens to be set during the Arab Spring. Epochal meets insipid.

Roman Polanski: A Memoir (Bouzereau): W/O. Utterly banal "interview" (= longtime friend urging RP to tell fave anecdotes) + film clips.

Our Children (Lafosse): W/O. I saw 40 mins & this is what happened: Two pretty young people got married and had 3 kids. That's literally it.

Maniac (Khalfoun): W/O. Had I known it's a first-person-camera slasher film I wouldn't have bothered. You can't even *see* Elijah Wood!

The Paperboy (Daniels): 9. Lee Daniels: Worst filmmaker of our time, or worst filmmaker of all time? Discuss.
[+1] As a connoisseur of bad movies I'm sure you'll enjoy THE PAPERBOY on some level. One cannot call it bland.


Eat Sleep Die (Pichler): 75+. Still deciding how much I love this, may go 80+. A triumph of anti-miserablism, ROSETTA with a real girl.

Frances Ha (Baumbach): 76. As I'd suspected, he and Gerwig are a great match, with a similarly loopy sense of humor. Naturalistic absurdism.

Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor & Paravel): 73. Still wish human beings were kept strictly on the periphery. Purely abstract imagery astounding.

/Looper/ (Johnson): 72. Starts off "merely" imaginative and engrossing, then pivots on one of the most audacious bait-and-switch moves ever.

Seven Psychopaths (McDonagh): 68. A bit meta-cute for my taste, but very, very funny. His humor makes the subject matter almost irrelevant.

Ernest & Celestine (Renner,Patar,Aubier): 67. Like TOWN CALLED PANIC, endearingly nutty til it runs out of steam (further along this time).

Jayne Mansfield's Car (Thornton): 64. All over the place, but I wish more American films sprawled so unpredictably. Leave Billy Bob alone!

Byzantium (Jordan): 63. To the extent that there's a plot, it's pretty dumb. As an exercise in Gothic (not Goth) atmosphere, oft-stirring.

The Master (Anderson): 61. Apropos that this film features both a Rorschach test and a game called Pick a Point. Did not coalesce for me.

To the Wonder (Malick): 59. Can Malick's late, glancing style sustain its magic for the entirety of a simple love-lost tale? Almost.

Barbara (Petzold): 58. Exquisitely made, but I was disappointed when its conventional shape took form beneath layers of subtle misdirection.

Bwakaw (Lana): 56. Bit of pathos overload—lonely aging gay protag coping with unrequited love and a dying dog. Honest & direct, which helps.

Berberian Sound Studio (Strickland): 55. Sporadically effective, but feels both secondhand (BLOW OUTER SPACE, basically) and repetitive.

The Bay (Levinson): 55. More like a crowd-sourced CONTAGION than a horror film. Very well-engineered. Levinson's best in what, 14,000 years?

Nights With Theodore (Betbeder): 54. Odd little sketch (67 mins) that creates a mysterious mock history for a real French park. 1st-drafty.

In the House (Ozon): 53. Diverting but shallow Scheherazade "meller" mostly demonstrates (self-consciously) the virtues of relentless pace.

Something in the Air (Assayas): 51. He could make this movie in his sleep by now, and at times it feels as if he did. Impeccably flat.

The Last Time I Saw Macao (Rodrigues & Guerra da Mata): 51. Appreciated effort to jazz up a photo-essay w/noir affectations, but v. clumsy.

Ginger & Rosa (Potter): 44. The amazing story of the only two teenage British girls in 1962 England who've never heard of the Beatles. [D'Angelo later learned Beatlemania didn't begin till '64; but said this movie is still "blah"]

The Gatekeepers (Moreh): 42. But add 20, maybe 30 points if you still appreciate docs that are strictly archival footage + talking heads.

Fill the Void (Burshtein): 41. Like watching a film about freed slaves who opt to remain on the plantation for the good of the white family.

The ABCs of Death (buncha folks): 40. I went for Cattet & Forzani and they didn't disappoint. Also dug Xavier Gens' pointed piece. 'Bout it.

Pietà (Kim): 49. Very much in the BAD GUY/SAMARITAN GIRL vein, which is to say mostly dumb but occasionally, improbably transcendent.

Passion (De Palma): 38. I see the fanboys are ignoring how inane everything but the camerawork is, as ever. Glad I skipped LOVE CRIME.

Outrage Beyond (Kitano): 34. Climactic orgy of violence comes too late to jolt audience out of its yakuza-bureaucracy-induced lethargy.

(Yesterday post-Malick wasn't worth individual tweets. 3 W/Os—7 Boxes, End of Watch, Augustine—and the ho-hum quasi-doc Kinshasha Kids [50].)

Antiviral (Cronenberg Jr.): W/O. Signs of talent here, if he can ditch Dad's aesthetic. But the premise makes no sense even metaphorically.

Thale (Nordaas): W/O. This movie's stupid.

Peddlers (Bala): W/O. Introduces multiple characters/stories at the outset and then never finds a rhythm—every new scene feels random.

Miss Lovely (Ahluwalia): W/O. The Bollywood BOOGIE NIGHTS, but minus even the pretense of fun. What I saw was a colorful slog.

The Art of Killing (3 folks): W/O. As I thought from descriptions, I've already seen this as S-21: THE KHMER ROUGE KILLING MACHINE.

A Late Quartet (Zilberman): W/O. Or I dunno, maybe you want to see Christopher Walken as a cellist who gets Parkinson's Disease.

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