December 2, 2009

Flame & Citron

Also this week: Terminator Salvation, Paper Heart, I Sell the Dead, Bellamy

Highlight of the Week

Flame & Citron (Mongrel) Nazi hunting appears to be the sport of choice these days. Then again, Ole Christian Madsen’s Danish resistance noir has more in common with Jean-Pierre Melville’s 40-year-old French-resistance noir, Army of Shadows, than it does with Tarantino’s post-history lesson of last summer. Based on true events and accounts, Flame & Citron boasts a style of its own and a distinctive outlook on humanity, heroism and even genre filmmaking. Additional kudos to Madsen’s moody mise en scène and his two leads, Thure Lindhardt (Flammen) and Mads Mikkelsen (Citronen), who exhibit outstanding chemistry from bitter beginning to bitter end. Extras: nein. 

Also Available

Terminator Salvation (Warner) The fourth entry in the slow-burning franchise sees John Connor, his younger father Kyle Reese and a half-cyborg attempt to bring down Skynet’s Nazi-like termination camp. With more ’splosions than all three of its predecessors combined, the outcome is an emotionally stagnant chase flick that looks and sounds incredible in high-def home theatres — but make no mistake, the machines have won. Blu-ray extras: director’s cut, “Maximum Movie Mode,” a couple of FX featurettes. 

Paper Heart (Starz/Anchor Bay) Twee goes too far in this meta-faux-doc where Michael Cera does his awkward eunuch thing and star/co-writer Charlyne Yi falls for it. The Cera-less segments make for endearing framework, with papier mâché re-enactments complementing personal stories of lost and found love, but the rest of the film’s phony adorableness is suffocating. I give it two out of five hamburger phones. Extras: making-of, featurette, deleted scenes, more love.  

I Sell the Dead (Anchor Bay) This Hammer-style horror-com, with its nifty grave-robber concept, won Best Independent Feature at 2008’s Toronto After Dark Fest. Though it would likely serve better as a lean Tales from the Crypt episode, time flies thanks to palatable performances (hello, Ron Perlman!), campy creatures and smart send-ups. Extras: commentaries, lengthy making-of, featurette, graphic novel.   

Bellamy (ais) If anything, feature film 54 confirms that Claude Chabrol hasn’t entirely lost his touch. Even so, the film’s success is almost exclusively owed to Gérard Depardieu’s charismatic performance as an ogre-like police commissioner on a relaxing-vacation-turned-murder-mystery. (Unless you’re in it for that, stick to the director’s old-school oeuvre.) Extras: rien pour vous.