At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
January is “The Month of Coincidence” at Film Space.
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, January 2: Burn After Reading (2008) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – 96 mins – US/ UK/ France, Comedy/ Crime/ Drama. With George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt. Rated R in the US for pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence. Generally favorable reviews: 63/61 out of 100.
With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Right: the cast and directors.
Rotten Tomatoes: With their overtly comedic follow-up Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers return--about a third of the way--from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of Fargo and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of The Big Lebowski, with 2007's No Country retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart skepticism to the proceedings. In a more linear trajectory, Burn After Reading also stands as the third entry, after Blood Simple and Fargo, in what could be an unofficial Tragedy of Human Idiocy trilogy, wherein characters make the most outlandishly moronic moves to devastating consequences simply by adhering to true human behavior. Indeed, Carter Burwell's emotionally weighty score, which washes over biting scenes of explosive, anesthetizing belly laughs, is very reminiscent of his Fargo work. Burn is ostensibly structured and propelled by a spy-thriller plotline involving a classified CD lost by a disgraced CIA spook and found by two simple gym employees. But, in actuality, it's simply--amazingly--a collection of brilliant caricature studies interwoven by veracious, if Coenesque, social interactions, as epitomized by the pathos of the Frances McDormand character's precipitous quest for cosmetic surgery. The CIA superior who learns of the film's events (always second-hand and sometimes along with the viewer) doesn't know what to make of it, and why would he? This is the first Coen film in almost 20 years not shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins, yet the "new" guy, Emmanuel Lubezki (Children Of Men), has created as visceral and emotionally fraught a high-definition cartoon as any since Barton Fink.
Chiang Mai Mail, Mark Whitman: Highly diverting satire.
Movie Smackdown, Mark Sanchez: Nothing is simple with the Coen Brothers, except for some of the main characters. In Burn After Reading they've written and directed a convoluted story that begins with disgruntled CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) quitting his job rather than accept a demotion. Cox puts off everyone and his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) isn't far behind. She plots to leave the marriage while carrying on with serial philanderer Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney). Cox fills his days failing as a consultant and writing his memoirs. Along the way we meet Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and dimwit Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt). Their roles bloom after the secretary of Katie's divorce lawyer loses a CD of Cox's memoir at the health club where Linda and Chad work. Blackmail, murder, and the quest for plastic surgery become a pretzel of major themes. I did say the story is convoluted. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Brian Orndorf: A back-stabbing, double-crossing, exhaustively absurd caper with pitch-black comedic enhancements, Burn" is a beauty; a charged symphony of impulsive idiots left to their own devices.
At Film Space Saturday, January 9: A Stranger of Mine / Unmei janai hito / 運命じゃない人(2005) by Kenji Uchida– 98 mins – Japan, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance. A multi-award-winning film.
In one long Friday evening, Takeshi Miyata, a straight-arrow businessman, will encounter a number of people (some only fleetingly) who have intertwining fates. After six months he is still mourning the loss of his girlfriend, Ayumi and is lured from his apartment when his childhood friend, the detective Yusuke Kanda, telephones invoking Ayumi's name. Arriving late at the appointed restaurant, Kanda says Ayumi is getting married and chides Miyata over not finding a new girlfriend. He then spontaneously invites a solitary [female] diner, Maki, to join them. Although she is silently vowing to be alone because of bitterness over her engagement being broken just the day before, she quickly agrees. Kanda makes a sudden exit, leaving his friend to contend with the despondent and homeless girl. The two return to his apartment, …
Japan Times, Mark Schilling: Interestingly, this is not a festival film, in the high-brow, deep-think sense. Instead it is a circularly plotted, slickly made relationship comedy that abounds with witty lines and twists, but has about much weight as a "Seinfeld" episode (which is not meant as a slam).
Uchida sees himself as a mainstream entertainer – Billy Wilder is one of his idols – whose talents lie more in casting the right actors and giving them funny things to say than in the nitty-gritty of lighting, shooting and cutting (for that he relies heavily on his staff, beginning with cinematographer Keiichiro Inoue).
At Film Space Saturday, January 16: 11:14 (2003) by Greg Marcks – 86 mins – US/ Canada, Comedy/ Crime/ Thriller. Starring: Hilary Swank, Patrick Swayze, Rachael Leigh Cook, Barbara Hershey. Rated R in the US for violence, sexuality, and pervasive language. Generally favorable reviews: 65/68 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: At 11:14 PM on one fatal evening, previously unconnected lives connect for the first time, with fatal consequences for some. This is the premise behind director Greg Marcks's inventive drama, 11:14, which draws on an impressive cast that includes Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry), Patrick Swayze (Donnie Darko),and Rachael Leigh Cook (She's All That). Marcks slowly unveils five separate tales as the characters unwittingly careen towards each other. The movie is reminiscent of Paul Haggis'sCrash, although 11:14 precedes Haggis's film by two years.