+ "The Brothers Grimm": "I’m the only earthling besides Lem Dobbs‘s mother who still likes ‘Kafka,’ and for me Terry Gilliam‘s new windup toy ‘The Brothers Grimm’ is a daffy, genre-hash gambol, descendant of the Hammer Film school (if those B sides had ever been made with money and talent)," trumpets Michael Atkinson, who’s also the only one in our regular batch of critics who cares for the film at all. Not that anyone hates it, per se…in fact, most try very hard to be charitable about director Gilliam’s first theatrical effort in seven years to actually make it, completed, to theaters. Roger Ebert finds it "a work of limitless invention, but it is invention without pattern, chasing itself around the screen without finding a plot." He’s not the only one to find it exhausting: Matt Zoller Seitz says the same, and Stephanie Zacharek refers to the film as "a workout," and sees it as something that got away from the director and ended up with "too much noise and commotion for Gilliam’s subtler ideas to really resonate." Manohla Dargis finds it’s both too much Gilliam and not enough, with all of his excesses drowning out what should be ideal subject matter: "there is absolutely nothing – not dread, not desire, not mystery – under the little red hood." And we’ll give the last word to Seitz:
As in Scorsese’s remake of "Cape Fear," one can’t shake the suspicion that Gilliam is not just teasing [Ehren] Kruger‘s script to uncover organic connections to his previous work, but superimposing pet obsessions and motifs in order to make "Grimm" feel more like an auteur’s statement and less like what it is, a work-for-hire job.
[Our own review is here.]
+ "Three Dancing Slaves": Oh, for the days when arthouse films were often just a socially acceptable way to ogle quivering exposed flesh. According to most, GaÃ«l Morel‘s latest, which looks into the lives of three young, hot French brothers living bleak, poverty-stricken lives and taking off their clothes a lot, is a throwback to that era, and never quite reaches beyond that. Dennis Lim finds it harmless and a little silly, a "lulling, banal, and rather pleasant film cultivates a mood of zone-out voyeurism." This week’s indieWIRE/Reverse Shot three are of several minds: Michael Koresky finds the film clumsy ("’Three Dancing Slaves’ might as well have words like "tormented masculinity" emblazoned in fiery font across the screen throughout its duration.) but nevertheless powerful, while Jeff Reichert thinks it’s clumsy and frustrating, and Nick Pinkerton agrees more with Lim. And Armond White, never content to agree with anyone, thinks the film’s peachy-keen ("the sexiest mainstream gay movie ever"), referencing many of the same influences and images that Koresky does in his review, but in a more favorable light.