Saturday, April 28, 2007

April 28th Log

1931, Rene Clair, France
Repeat Viewing, DVD

The premise couldn't be much simpler: A poor painter winsthe lottery but losses his ticket in the jacket his fiancee gave away, and everyone goes on a mad search for it. Simplisticas it may be, Le Million remains a wilding charming and imaginative film that is a joy to watch. Even today, much ofit's joy and charming appeal remains unaffected. French filmmaker Rene Clair was one of the early masters of bothsound and musicals, and Le Million represents his mastery of each. Also (as in Clair's Under the Roofs of Paris) Le Million features some remarkably beautiful set designs. Le Million is a perfect film from a time of difficult transition. Simple, light-hearted, fun, inventive and romantic as it may be, Le Million also rates among the most important films ofthe early "talkie" era. A Must see for fans of early cinema.

2003, Richard Linklater, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Its gonna be a really tough project, you're gonna have to use your head, your brain and your mind too.” School of Rock is a joyous film so full of energy and humor it's impossible to resist. While the script is rather formulaic, it still manages to be incredibly clever, fresh, and highly effective! Above all, the humanity of the film is what makes it such a wonderful masterpiece. There's alot to find within the films themes (whether it's about finding yourself, following your dreams, or simply "sticking it to the man!"), but ultimately is just a joy to experience. The strength of the film lies in the wonderful characters. School of Rock shows both originality and compassion for each of its characters, and the performances are all fantastic. The young kids, who are all real musicians, are deeply charming, but Jack Black and Joan Cusak really shine. Cusak is a great comedic actress that is often overlooked and this is one of her finest roles and performances (“I've just been informed that all your children are missing”). Of course it is Black who is the particular standout performance of the film. He gives one of the most energetic and hilarious comedic performances I have ever seen in a film. Black is absolutely brilliant and perfectly casted as a man who has an undeniable belief and passion for the art form of Rock and Roll music, and he wants to spread the joys to others. Black's performance will have the viewer in tears with laughter, not so much for what he says and does, but how he does it. There are so many memorable moments and dialogue in this film, which I often find myself consistently quoting. Richard Linklater is one of contemporary American cinemas great filmmakers. An artist who can work successfully both inside and outside mainstream Hollywood studios. Here he has teamed with writer Mike White (who also co-stars) to create a highly entertaining mainstream film, without compromising a personal expression of the artist. The ending may be predictable, but that never discredits how incredibly effective it is. It will surely tug at your heart, and leave you smiling at the same time. Really, all 108 minutes of School of Rock will have you smiling. Clearly Linklater understands the power of music and uses this films formulaic premise as a source for this expression. And it is done so with an intelligent, subtle, and compassionate style of filmmaking resulting in a film that is equally charming and fresh. A great and memorable film for all to enjoy. It Rocks!


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