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The Reeler Blog

Screening Gotham: All-Positive Friday!

As per tradition, some of today's more upbeat movie news of note from around New York:

--The trailer for Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding is live, and it looks pretty terrific. And refreshing: Beyond its breezy laffs and a few shivering hints at chamber-drama meltdown, I'm kind of thrilled to see a trailer that doesn't beat viewers around the face with its principals' Oscar creds. Rather, it seems to say: "Here are Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh in a film by Noah Baumbach. Take it or leave it." OK, I'll bite, as will one of the higher-profile fall fests (Karina Longworth suggests Telluride or Toronto; Logan Hill calls it for the NYFF).

--The L Magazine's Mark Asch covers the New York Asian Film Festival program like he puts on his pants: One leg at a time. Thankfully he's a natural at both, and while you're not likely to get into the latter, there's plenty of good stuff to check out in the former; I recommend his one-sentence, 108-word capsule review of Patrick Tam's After This Our Exile, a formidable mid-year training sesh for the garrulous glory that is The L's annual Top-10 roundelay.

--It's by no means an easy pullquote for the Weinstein Company, but A.O. Scott's has a pretty resounding admiration for Sicko: "(Michael) Moore has hardly been shy about sharing his political beliefs, but he has never before made a film that stated his bedrock ideological principles so clearly and accessibly." At least the marketing department has David Edelstein: "Sicko is Moore’s best film: a documentary that mixes outrage, hope and gonzo stunts in the right proportions; that poses profound questions about the connection between health care and work; and that throws an unforgiving spotlight on what is, in both senses, the elephant in the room." And you know what? They're both right.

Posted at June 22, 2007 10:00 AM

Comments (2)

Other than lacking "its principals' Oscar creds" what do you find so "terrific" or "refreshing" about the trailer for Margot at the Wedding? Perhaps they used the wrong editor to create the clip, but when you almost fall asleep during the trailer you know the film's in trouble. I remember you (Mr. Van Airsdale) dissing Mr. Roy (formerly of Hamptons Film Fest) for calling on American indie directors to stop their navel-gazing and to instead make films about the world. You know what? He was right and your dissing was misplaced. It would be genuinely refreshing to see more Amerindie auteurs making films dealing with the World (with a capital W) instead of obsessing with their own banal family sagas. Oh, she's going to marry the "wrong guy"! Pelease...

You know, you're right. Noah Baumbach should no longer make intimate comedy/dramas with strong casts that entertain international audiences, bear repeat viewing for years to come and are regular favorites of those world cinema authorities who program the New York Film Festival. He should diversify -- perhaps embed in Iraq for six months? Maybe bump around Darfur? Afghanistan? Romania is kinda sexy right now. You tell me. Write the story while you're at it; we can never get enough war allegories, coming-of-age dramas and political satires. Make sure it's something he can subtitle, that instant conferral of legitimacy that somehow exempts foreign contemporaries like Almodovar, the Dardennes, Weerasethakul, Xia, Hou, etc., who really branch out in scope with every new film because those rich characters and narratives of theirs can't endure alone.

But to answer your question more specifically, the trailer is refreshing because it gets its story and tone across without any stunts or gimmicks -- as noted above, it tells you to take it or leave it. So go ahead and leave it, but quit with the sanctimony. It's really oppressive.

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