Friday, October 12, 2007


For those of you following along at home, that's Thank God It's Friday and also Thank God It's the Chicago Film Festival, where the hits keep on coming. I'm still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for all of these screenings, even when I've crammed five into a single day, and my schedule has mostly stayed consistent with my initial plans. The print for the tantalizing Dreams of Dust unfortunately never arrived, and life intervened to prohibit my attendance at Opium and Chicago 10 on Wednesday night, and to postpone my rendezvous with The Man from London from Thursday afternoon to Sunday night. I'll also have to bag my plans for The Banishment and One Hundred Nails next Tuesday for a work obligation—one of the very few disadvantages to hitting such a major film festival in one's own hometown, all of which are significantly outweighed by the advantages of sleeping in my own bed, eating my own food, and knowing all the quickest routes between the theaters.

The Festival staff compensated for the Dreams of Dust cancellation with a substitute ticket for the gay British thriller Surveillance on Tuesday night, so that will be my last screening appointment until the big Savages finale on Wednesday. Further and greater compensations have been furnished by the films I have actually seen, both within the Festival program and among the concurrent multiplex releases that I have squeezed in between commitments. I hope you've enjoyed the reviews so far, and I promise to keep turning them out, for Michael Clayton and Yella, two suspenseful dramas from the world of work, with more similarities than they superficially admit; for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, the Romanian Palme d'Or winner that's every bit as galvanizing as you've already read elsewhere; for Taxi to the Dark Side, one of the year's most urgent and best-assembled documentaries; for Catherine Breillat's The Last Mistress, one of the program's few outright misfires, and not as interesting a misfire as one might rightfully expect from Breillat; for the engagingly sweet if undeniably thin Lars and the Real Girl; and for James Gray's We Own the Night, a Sony/Columbia release that mostly got drubbed at last spring's Cannes Film Festival. The short report, timed for its debut in wide release today, is that I loved We Own the Night, with its crystal-clear and classical form, its superb sound design, and its canny positioning of all the scenes you saw in the trailer into stages of the narrative where you won't expect them. Go out and catch it—give the movie that opening-weekend boost that it needs—and check back here in the next few days for a fuller tribute.

(And for all you dear souls who wrote earlier this week with birthday wishes—God bless you every one! Personal replies forthcoming when this delicious madness subsides...)

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Blogger Dr. S said...

Awesome, re: We Own the Night. I thought that preview looked terrific. Who knows when it will open here, but I'll keep my eyes out.

Oh yeah, and happy birthday again!!

5:10 AM, October 13, 2007  
Blogger Dr. S said...

And oh yeah, again: I think that (following up on our conversation the other day) I may in fact have been missed. Huzzah!

5:11 AM, October 13, 2007  
Blogger Calum Reed said...

Happy Birthday! :) Libra right? Not sure what that means.

I'm really looking forward to We Own the Night and the 4 Months, 3 weeks film! Never heard of Surveillance, though Im British so I feel I should have. Oh well. Have more fun at the festival.


2:27 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you end up catching Silent Light?

7:29 PM, October 13, 2007  
Blogger girish said...

Nick, I'm not sure if you've seen Gray's previous film, The Yards (2000; with Wahlberg, Phoenix, Theron, James Caan). It is also wonderfully 'classicist', and IMO among the 2 or 3 best American films of the decade thus far. I can't wait to see the new one.

5:46 AM, October 15, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Anon: I did catch Silent Light, and as I'll report later, I thought the technical marvel and incredible beauty of the cinematography were in service of a much weaker story and thematic structure than they deserved. Still a thumbs-up, though.

@Girish: I really liked The Yards when I first saw it (review here, though quite possibly a lame one, written long, long ago!). The film has only improved in my mind since 2000, though I haven't actually revisited it. I'm hoping to watch my DVD soon and catch We Own the Night again before it leaves the theaters.

10:22 AM, October 15, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Oops: @Cal: Thanks for the birthday wishes! And Surveillance is still pretty under the radar, as it were, mostly skulking around the festival circuit, so don't feel bad about not having heard of it.

@Dr. S: Many, many huzzahs, right back at you... and great talking to you!

10:24 AM, October 15, 2007  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

my dear dear friend, i totally forgot your birthday. *bows head in shame*

but i feel like you've given me a late birthday gift with all of this new blogging/writing

8:04 AM, October 16, 2007  
Blogger tim r said...

I did too. I feel terrible...

2:58 AM, October 17, 2007  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

You guys! There is no need! I will call and reassure you of this!

7:14 AM, October 17, 2007  

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