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YOUTH | It’s always fantastic when God pitches in as production designer

"La Giovinezza" (Italy)
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino

There is a moment in Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH when the aging conductor and composer, played by Michael Caine, stops in a beautiful European meadow to watch the cows. At first we are listening to each dong of a cowbell as a separate sound. Slowly he begins to hear the music hidden inside them. With a bit of imagination, the conductor soon raises a hand to conduct. If the film has a metaphor, this ... more >

RUBY SPARKS

Bring on the Zoes
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton

We’ve been struck by an invasion of Zoes. Of owl-eyed ingénues with perky, quirky, life-embracing formulas for living. Whose sole purpose is to brighten the lives of pasty young men who could use sunshine in both body and soul. The Zoe in question in "Ruby Sparks" is Zoe Kazan, not only the star, but the writer of the script. In a strange round of metafictional Twister, she has written a story ... more >

FESTBEAT-Meek’s Cutoff

At the New York Film Festival

Meek’s Cutoff defies easy description but if you can imagine an adaptation of the video game “Oregon Trail” being directed by Terence Malick you’ll be in the ballpark. It’s a beautifully-shot but languidly-paced, thinly-plotted Western that is light on character, even lighter on dialogue (there’s practically none for the first ten minutes), and heavy on atmosphere. You can probably already tell ... more >

There will be blood

Eli Sunday lives
Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

In There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson lifts up the veil that has been covering a sordid chapter of American history: oil prospecting at the turn of the century. As in the original story by Upton Sinclair on which this film is based (Oil!), people died, properties passed on through generations were lost and men walked about with greed on their mind and in their heart. Daniel Plainview ... more >