[Alejandro González Iñárritu]

So, Babel was coming out, but I felt that I should watch Iñárritu’s previous feature two films. Possibly because I am a crazy person. First up was Amores Perros, which is a gritty and violent film about love, told in 3 interrelated stories (a hallmark of Iñárritu).

Next came 21 Grams, which I think is my favorite of the bunch. From my impression of the marketing I had expected it to be a much more spiritual/religious film than it really was. It’s much twistier than the other two, but certainly compelling, so I had no trouble following it.

Finally, Babel was an intense and devastating film, one of those pieces that makes you wonder why anyone attempts to communicate at all, since it is so clearly doomed to failure.

(In looking up Iñárritu, by the way, I also discovered that he directed one of the most memorable segments of 11’09″01, a collection of shorts very much worth watching.)

[The Prestige]

I don’t know why, but I’ve been woefully out of the upcoming film loop lately. (Those of you who read my regular blog can feel free to take a moment to DIE LAUGHING now.) Seriously. When I went to see The Illusionist, I saw the trailer for The Prestige, and until then I had never heard of it. Yeah. I know. I must have some sort of card I should turn in.

I flailed all over the place when I saw the trailer, though, and since The Illusionist didn’t do much for me it just kicked up the anticipation that much more. Then I learned that it was based on a book, which I hunted down and devoured and then, well, it finally came out. And I loved it. It’s changed from the book, but it’s still about these men and revenge and obsession and yay. It’s beautifully adapted and shot, and haunting in all the best ways. -And- it was made within the studio system, I think. There is hope!

[The Science of Sleep]

I had very much wanted to see The Science of Sleep at the film festival, but I had to skip it because it was the Closing Night Gala and therefore spendy. However, it was probably better that I didn’t see it until now, because my new boyfriend Gael García Bernal’s performance is all the more remarkable in contrast to his work in Bad Education which I had seen a few days before. Seriously. He’s one hell of an actor, sweet & comic here.

The film is gorgeous. I said elsewhere that the script isn’t as tight as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which, of course, was written by Kaufman, not Gondry), but frankly, I didn’t care. It’s touching and surreal and yay. I loved it. So there.

[The Illusionist]

I had intended to just Netflix The Illusionist, but a friend suggested going last night and so. Here we are.

Without spoilers I will say that Edward Norton was particularly good, especially as a good deal of his performance was sans dialogue, and that Paul Giamatti was excellent as always. I tend to enjoy things having to do with more or less Victorian magic and mediums, so the movie had me there. Also, it was beautifully shot for the most part.

I swear I am not one of those people who always says “oh, I totally saw that coming” because really, I’m not. There are lots of twisty movies that had me along for the ride, and lots of movies that people thought were predictable that I was blown away by. But when The Illusionist ended, my first thought was that the final scene had gone on too long and the director had told us too much. I was quite surprised to find out that my partner in crime had totally bought it, because from the beginning I was sure she wasn’t dead, and so I was watching it for that.

The only thing that had made me doubt myself was the timeline. I’m still unclear on how long everything was supposed to take. Eisenheim mourns, buys a theater, etc, and in all of that time no one notices that her body has disappeared? And no one mucks out the stall?

And in the end, an innocent man kills himself. An innocent man with anger management issues, true, but I don’t think he deserved to die for that.

(I have a lot of video & DVD things to post, as usual, but they’ll have to wait. I have a pot of coffee & two discs worth of “House”.)