- Atonement (Joe Wright, USA, 2007)
- No Country for Old Men (Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, USA, 2007)
- The Party (Blake Edwards, USA, 1968)
- The Pink Panther (Blake Edwards, UK, 1963)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm - 2nd Season (Various directors, written by Larry David, USA, 2001)
The more I thought about this film, the more I hated it. It had components that were technically well put together (the scene at Dunkirk in particular) but just don't work as a whole. It uses various devices that are too clever, too self-conscious, too manipulative and have been used many times before but to much better effect. I could go on and on and bag it, but I'd rather provide a link to the ABC's At The Movies Message Board where I've expressed myself quite at some length, along with other people's thoughts.
No Country For Old Men
Seeing this for the second time, I liked it just as much, but picked up various nuances and small details that eluded me the first. My earlier comments are here. I could easily go see it again, particularly as there's a vacuum of decent films, as there usually is this time of year. It's a pity ACMI doesn't have something decent on, like the Kubrick retrospective they held this time two years ago.
The Party / The Pink Panther
This was a Peter Sellers/Blake Edwards double screening at the Astor. Sellers spoofs an Indian in one and a French in the other. Yet both roles were perhaps unsurprisingly similar - the bumbling buffoon that capitalises on people's amusement with ethnicity. They were both good fun, especially the first.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
I first encountered this brilliant series when I went to the US in 2003, at which time the third season was about to start and HBO was screening repeats of seasons 1 & 2. At first, the series seemed a bit raw and under-produced compared to Larry David's more widely-known Seinfeld. But after a few episodes, this series has really gotten into my blood. It's more risque than Seinfeld with a more of a reality look about it. David plays himself, or at least a version of it, which viewers can recognise as Seinfeld's George Costanza (a fact that is played upon in this series). I particularly like one character's foul-mouthed, heavy NY-accented description of David as a "fucking four-eyed fuck". Hilarious stuff, brilliantly written and well put together. I have five of the series on DVD (a sixth has been completed in the US, but not yet available on DVD), and I'm slowly working my way through them.
This is a description of the show, from the official website:
Each half-hour episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm features verité-style footage of David (playing himself) at home, at work and around town, as he gets into predicaments with fictional and real-life personalities. With cast regulars Jeff Garlin (as manager Jeff Greene) and Cheryl Hines (as wife Cheryl) reprising their roles, the series features appearances by guest celebrities playing themselves or character roles.
Candid, unsparing and self-deprecating, Curb Your Enthusiasm brings the off-kilter comic vision of Larry David--co-creator and co-executive producer of one of the most lauded comedy series in TV history, Seinfeld--to HBO. The series blurs the lines between reality and fiction, as David (playing himself) and a cast of real and fictional characters are followed around Los Angeles by a ubiquitous camera that chronicles the private, often banal world of a (relatively) public man.
Having evolved from the 1999 HBO special Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, this series proves how seemingly trivial details of one's day-to-day life--a trip to the movies, a phone call, a visit from some trick-or-treaters--can precipitate a "Murphy's Law" chain of misfortune to hilarious effect. Like George Costanza in Seinfeld, the protagonist of Curb Your Enthusiasm has a knack for getting himself into uncomfortable situations that end up alienating him from peers and acquaintances.
To keep the narrative fresh and spontaneous, Curb Your Enthusiasm is shot without a script; the cast is given scene outlines and often improvise lines as they go. The result is an unpredictable format that's unlike anything else on TV.