Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reviews of the Cinematheque's weekend films

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 10:21 AM

The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is showing several great movies this weekend. Here are our reviews of just a couple of them.

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Big Fan (U.S., 2009) Don’t worry if you don’t know whether to laugh at or pity Paul Aufiero, the New York Giants fanatic at the center of director Robert Siegel’s occasionally funny and sometimes moving film. That’s the way Big Fan wants it. Played by comedian Patton Oswalt (in a role that’s far from comic), Paul — a 36-year-old, minimum-wage-earning parking-lot attendant — still lives with his mom and is the kind of guy who writes down what he wants to say before he makes his nightly call to sports-talk radio. He can’t afford season tickets, so he sits in the parking lot with his best friend listening to the games after all the other tailgaters head inside the stadium. One night, he follows the Giants’ star linebacker, Quantrell Bishop, into a strip club and proceeds to get his ass kicked by his hero. Paul ends up in the hospital, but he’s more concerned how Quantrell’s suspension will affect the team than he is with seeing justice served. Paul is a true fanatic; he can’t bring himself to press charges against his hero. Oswalt (who was the voice of Remy the rat in Ratatouille) is great as the devoted fan; Kevin Corrigan is also terrific as his loyal pal. Siegel also wrote The Wrestler, and he expertly mines the other side of the game for similar results in his directorial debut. At 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 and at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. *** (Michael Gallucci)

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Tetro (U.S./Italy/Spain/Argentina, 2009) Francis Ford Coppola’s follow-up to his virtually unwatchable 2007 debacle Youth Without Youth is the 70-year-old director’s finest work in almost two decades. Working from Coppola’s first original screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation, this grandly operatic tale of two siblings (a remarkable, impressively restrained Vincent Gallo and sensational newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) with daddy issues (Klaus Maria Brandauer plays their imperious orchestra-conductor father) is both loving homage to the heady days of the French New Wave and a glorious throwback to the kind of tempestuous Oedipal dramas Hollywood vets Nicholas Ray and Elia Kazan made back in the 1950s. Spectacularly shot in widescreen, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr.’s high-contrast, black-and-white digital-video images are a feast for the senses. Co-starring Y Tu Mamá También’s Maribel Verdú (terrific as Gallo’s pragmatic common-law wife) and Almodóvar diva extraordinaire Carmen Maura, it’s a self-contained film festival. Anyone who cares about the state of world cinema can’t afford to miss it. At 9:35 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. **** (Milan Paurich)

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