+ "Old Joy": Kelly Reichardt‘s "Old Joy" is the kind of film you’d miraculously stumble across at a festival, so there’s something a little strange about finding it in theaters, where we have to wonder if all the (well-earned) critical praise is likely to set up expectations of something more flashy. Samplings of praise:
Manohla Dargis at the New York Times:
There are roughly 90 viewing days left till Christmas. By that point most of the big studio movies will have opened for the consideration of the paying public and Academy Award voters, and untold numbers of words will have been spilled about the same handful of serviceable or perhaps even brilliant films of the sort that dominate the discourse every fall. Odds are that none of those contenders will capture the tenor of these difficult times with more sensitivity or greater attention to beauty than Kelly Reichardtâ€™s â€œOld Joy,â€ a triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year.
Lisa Schwartzman at Entertainment Weekly notes that "It’s in all the moments where little happens that Reichardt is most amazing, investing even a gas-station pit stop with perfect emotional pitch." Andrew O’Hehir at Salon allows that "Some viewers may well be bored, or monumentally irritated, by this. I found it masterly, riveting." David Edelstein at New York writes that "everything in this lovely film is crystalline." At the Village Voice, J. Hoberman observes that "Open-ended as it may appear, it has a crushing finality. For all the wool-gathering and guitar-noodling, this road movie is at least as tender as it is ironic." And Adam Nayman, Michael Koresky and Michael Joshua Rowin at Reverse Shot are varying degrees of pleased with the films, with Rowin at the far end writing that "At the risk of overstatement, ‘Old Joy”s Mark and Kurt are the only original characters in any American film this year."
+ "Jackass 2": Watching someone fall down is one of the great fundamental pleasures of cinema, so it’s not really surprising that, aside from the standard "I don’t find this kind of thing funny" pieces, the reviews of the newest semi-film from Johnny Knoxville et al. are pretty good. We have to take a moment to give props to Mr. Jake Coyle at the AP, who makes the most brilliant stupid connection we’ve seen a while:
Still, "Jackass Number Two" might have more in common with film history than it would appear. In one scene, Steve-O attaches a leech to his eyeball, a fitting bookend to Luis Bunuel‘s eyeball cutting in 1929’s "Un Chien Andalou."