The Bothersome Man *** out of ****
Starts out excellent, takes a dive midway, then rallies strongly for an enigmatic finale. It's about a man who arrives in a mysterious city where everything of necessity is provided for him and there are no wants. However, food has no taste, love has no passion and life is dry and dull. The problem is that the film, in depicting the dullness of this world, actually starts to seem sort of dull. The last third makes up for this by introducing an element of hope to this world, however fleeting. It's an intriguing puzzle of a film, regardless, and is recommended for fans of the unusual.
The Fall *1/2 out of ****
Visually gorgeous, narratively atrocious, Tarsem Singh's latest got huge raves from several festivalgoers, but it's such a mess. A simple narrative core (man tells little girl stories in hospital) gives way to fantasy sequences that consistently look pretty, but lack any sense of joy or inspiration. For all his visual brio, Tarsem makes movies like someone who has never seen an actual movie--he gets the notes right, but he can't make them sing.
Rescue Dawn **1/2 out of ****
(AKA Hey! You Got Your Crappy Hollywood Movie In My Herzog Film!) About half brilliant and half daft, Herzog's latest is a somewhat bizarre action adventure film. Think 'classic Herzog' bookended by standard Hollywood bullshit, then imagine it played even more ineptly than that sounds. Good to great performances throughout, but a disappointment, especially considering Herzog's closeness to the story. Still worth it, though, for that tense, exciting Herzog film that dominates the mid-section.