Inside Thirteen Blogger: Michael Pielocik
This past weekend, the number one movie in America was Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Let’s all just take a minute to process that:
So with that in mind, New Yorkers can count themselves lucky to have such a wide array of alternatives at the New York Film Festival, running through October 12th.
With most of the country rethinking this whole “capitalism” thing, I can’t think of a better time than now to plant yourself in front of Steven Soderbergh’s 268-minute Che. Benicio Del Toro plays the titular revolutionary in the ultimate anti-biopic biopic; Walk the Line this is not. Instead, Soderbergh has chosen to focus on the dry procedural of revolution, for the most part avoiding easy emotional pressure points.
The film juxtaposes Guevara’s success during the Cuban Revolution (which dominates the first half) with his failure, and ultimate capture, in Bolivia (the second half). Though each section clocks in at 2+ hours, the filmmaking is so assured and Del Toro is so charismatic (as one imagines that Che had to be) that somehow I was left wanting more.
Soderbergh has said that he plans to release Che as two films (part one called The Argentine, part two Guerrilla), but hopes that every city will be able to see the complete “road show version” for at least a week during its release. Both films are incredible, but I cannot imagine that either would have the same resonance alone.
A Christmas Tale (Un conte de Noël), from director Arnaud Desplechin, is a comedy about the emotional minefield of a family coming together for Christmas. It sounds familiar, but Desplechin’s extremely dense direction and the work of a stellar cast (including Catherine Deneuve, the delightfully round Jean-Paul Roussillon, and my new girlfriend Anne Consigny) make this one of the most beloved films of the festival.
Closing out the festival at Avery Fisher Hall will be Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, already generating substantial buzz as Mickey Rourke’s comeback film. Rourke is Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed-up pro wrestler who tries to get his life back on track after years of neglect. There’s a lot of powerful stuff in the film, though I wasn’t as emotionally engaged in it as some I’ve talked to. Look for New York comedian Todd Barry as the manager at The Ram’s day job. I know the Oscar buzz is focused on Rourke and Marisa Tomei, but I think Todd Barry should be clearing off some shelf space for a Best Supporting Actor trophy.
I missed a lot of films I was hoping to check out, and heard great things about the animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, the French import The Class, and Wendy and Lucy, starring Michelle Williams.
We now return to our regularly-scheduled sassy chihuahuas, already in progress.