Film
3:20 pm
Fri September 4, 2009

Art, Independent and Foreign Film Reviews

Film critics Cynthia Haines and Steve Walker return to the KCUR studios to review the latest art, independent, foreign, and documentary films showing on area screens.

Kansas City , Mo. –

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Bright Star

"Long absent from the screen, writer/director Jane Campion returns with a lovely tribute to the poet John Keats - he of "a thing of beauty is a joy forever" - and the power of poetry to incite love, lust, and obsession. Australian actress Abbie Cornish is mesmerizing as the subject of Keats's devotion." - Steve Walker

Inglourious Basterds

"Quentin Tarantino's long-gestating World War II movie is less a faithful take on the war itself than it is his personal homage to - and revision of - movies about that war. Despite Brad Pitt's oddly cartoonish performance, the movie succeeds in spades, especially where Tarantino patiently unfolds rich, dialogue-heavy scenes that throb with of palpable intensity. German actors Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger steal the show." - Steve Walker

Ponyo

"Hayao Miyazaki's spins from the Hans Christian Anderson tale of the little mermaid a modest story about a goldfish who is willed by a little human boy to become a real girl. Though wonderful American talent like Tina Fey and Matt Damon redub the original Japanese for this Disney-distributed film, there's a noticeable disconnect between the epic potential and this pallid result. I'll take Disney's own version - or, better yet, Miyazaki's masterpiece 'Spirited Away'". - Steve Walker

Extract

"In the spirit of the cult classic 'Office Space', that film's director Mike Judge returns to the world of thwarted desire amid time clocks and factory quotas. Set at a flavor extract company (and who knew there were such places?), the film isn't particularly deep but it's very funny, thanks mainly to Jason Bateman, who plays the factory boss with expert comic timing, and 'Saturday Night Live's brilliant Kristen Wiig." - Steve Walker

The Cove

"Just when you thought there was no wiggle room within the documentary format comes Louie Psihoyos's thrilling and innovative yet disturbing film about the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Its chief protagonist is a guilt-striken Rick O'Barry, who was the trainer for all the dolphins used on the 1960s television series 'Flipper'. This film, made with the cooperation of Industrial Light & Magic, among other groups, documents his passion in a way that's both a heartfelt apology and a crime drama." - Steve Walker

Taking Woodstock

"Perhaps director Ang Lee loves America so much, he can't help making great movies about its many contradictions. With painstaking detail, the film returns to upstate New York for the weekend of the Woodstock music festival and how those three days unearthed in 1969 in all those in its presence social changes that probably seemed more permanent at the time. The music takes a back seat to the colorful characters on the festival's periphery, including a family of Jewish immigrants and a beefy transvestite bravely played by Liev Schreiber." - Steve Walker