[Pickups: March current]

* Carbon Nation is a fun but slight documentary on climate change. I liked that it was the sort of movie one could plunk their Tea Party parents down in front of (Who cares if climate change is real or not? There’s money to be made!), but it came at the expense of showing why these positive changes aren’t happening (there’s more money to be made — at least for a select group — by preventing it).

* I’m a huge, vocal fan of Moon, so I was perhaps unduly excited about director Duncan Jones’ follow-up feature, Source Code. And then it let me down, perhaps inevitably, by cheesy dialogue and a pasted-on romance. However, Gyllenhaal & Monaghan are both damn pretty, Vera Farmiga is always great, and the more you think about it, the more depressing the ending *actually* is. So, perhaps, hooray!

* My other highly-anticipated film of March, however, did not let me down. Sure to earn a spot in my Best of 2011, Win Win was another perfect small film from Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor). Seeee it. See all of them. All three feature characters who could so easily veer into stereotype under another director, but which remain firmly, fully real and true people in the worlds created by McCarthy.

[Leftover SIFF]

Part of putting together my festival schedule is eliminating those movies which are coming out in regular release relatively soon. Soon has apparently arrived, and first up was Moon, a minimalist scifi film starring Sam Rockwell. To say it stars him is rather an understatement. His closest rival is Kevin Spacey who voices GERTY, a sort of second cousin to HAL.

To say anything more about it is possibly too much. I went in only knowing what I had seen in a trailer — Rockwell’s character is nearing the end of a three year contract at some sort of base on the moon, he is the only person there, and he encounters (or thinks he encounters) himself — and I have found every review today to be upsetting because they tell too much. It’d be an effective film either way, but all the better for experiencing the same confusion as the lead. Also, Rockwell is amazing in it, a performance that will surely be ignored at the end of the year because it appeared in a genre film. That is, frankly, tragic, because he *is* the heart of the film. Without him, who we believe immediately and fully, it would not work at all.

Putting off seeing The Hurt Locker was much more difficult. I’ve been excited to see it ever since it debuted in Toronto last September. Here’s the telling thing: it was worth the wait. It’s probably the best 2009 film I have seen so far, and definitely the best war movie I’ve seen since Three Kings. The two are similar, actually, in how clear the action is. You know where every bullet goes and nothing is without consequence. Intense, authentic, and with a much-lauded (for good reason!) lead performance by Jeremy Renner.