My flight back to Winnipeg was slightly more entertaining than my flight to Europe. I finished 100-Year-Old Man and watched the latest films of two great directors. Here are the five films, from worst to best:
I’ve enjoyed every film Susanne Bier has made, until now. Even with actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, Serena is an awful film. I didn’t think Lawrence was capable of a bad performance, but either she’s the victim of some very bad writing and direction or she just messes up this role as the scheming, horrifically unsympathetic wife of a 1920’s rail baron, played by Cooper, who fares no better in his role. Melodrama like this doesn’t work if we don’t care at all about the characters. ** My mug is down.
Another great director (Atom Egoyan) takes a dive in this Canadian mess starring Ryan Reynolds and Rosario Dawson. Reynolds plays the father of a kidnap victim, a ten-year-old girl who is abducted by one of the craziest and most unbelievable characters in the history of film (played by Kevin Durand). Dawson (the only convincing actor in the film) is the police detective assigned to hunt down internet pedophile rings like those in which the girl has become involved (for many years, as it turns out). The entire film lacks credibility and the bizarre structure didn’t work for me. ** My mug is down.
This delightful French-Canadian film was made by Martin Talbot and features Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles as a young man who has grown up in a Catholic orphanage and knows nothing about life in the outside world (where he suddenly finds himself). All he knows is that he has a gift for bringing light into people’s lives. So he literally follows the signs he thinks God is putting in his path as he struggles to find his place in the world, and find some romance (with a blind woman). It’s lightweight, and fizzles out in the last half-hour, but it’s amusing and occasionally inspiring. *** My mug is up.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The last half of this hilarious dark comedy was a little too dark for me, as the bad guys get killed off in various gruesome ways, but all-in-all this Swedish film from Felix Herngren is very entertaining. It concerns the life of a Forrest Gump-like character who stumbles his way into history (meeting people like Franco, Truman and Stalin) as an explosives-expert who has no training and little schooling. As a 100-year-old man, he accidentally steals millions from a crime lord, who understandably wants it back. Like Walter, I give it a solid ***. My mug is up.
My third Canadian film of the flight was by far the best. Almost a Canadian version of Calvary, Terrance Odette’s quiet thoughtful film stars Michael Murphy (who is excellent) as an aging priest in Niagara Falls, Ontario who is suddenly confronted with something he did (or did he?) to a boy forty years before. The acting and writing are solid throughout and Fall, like Calvary, provides a thought-provoking view on the decline of the church and the role of the priesthood. ***+. My mug is up.