Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Movies: Short Takes

Let The Right One In (2008). A guy who should know told me this was “a Swedish Val Lewton movie,” and is that description on the money. A lonely little boy befriends the mysterious girl who moves in next door, not knowing she’s a vampire. A chilling horror tale, a Scandinavian black comedy, and an unsparing look at childhood. (No one ever thinks about the psychic toll on the bully’s friends.) Can Tomas Alfredson direct; there’s half a dozen shots in this film that will take your breath away. Go rent now.

Zift (U.S. 2009). Budget Balkan noir. A convict arrested in 1944 is sprung in Communist Sofia and expected to produce a diamond he stole before the Russians took over. A number of classic films (D.O.A., Gilda) are turned inside out in a wild, digressive movie in which everyone has a story and they all involve excretions. Part Guy Ritchie, part David Lynch, pure Bulgarian. It just played at SXSW, but you can watch it at home via IFC on demand.

The Great Buck Howard (2009). The second-rate show business milieu is far more interesting than the story, but if like me you find the sentence “He co-hosted on Dinah!” funny, you’ll get something out of this, too. John Malkovich is terrific as a comeback-minded mentalist inspired by The Amazing Kreskin. Emily Blunt is also good as the publicist who won’t stand for his antics. The movie is in theaters and available on demand. With this technology and AmazonFresh, soon I’ll never have to leave the house.