Recently we’ve—rather randomly—been reading someone’s blog reminiscing about the highs and lows (mostly lows) of living with a scholarship basketball player in college, Livin’ Large. It was after reading about ten or so entries we realized that we were, most likely, reading the blog of the film we’ll probably be writing about in five years or so. It kind of dampened our negativity about Julie and Julia, the film version of someone’s blog in which they attempted to chronicle their efforts to cook their way through Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking. After all, perhaps the original blog was as pleasingly narrative as Livin’ Large? We certainly haven’t read it, so we can’t say, but concerning the film alone reviews seem to be positive. Susan G. Cole at NOW gives it a nice review, though she does ask us to particularly “watch what she [Meryl Streep] does with her right hand during a scene of sexual play with [Stanley] Tucci.”
Admittedly it will probably be just as hard to convince anyone to watch this week’s biggest film, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. Stymied by early reports of a disastrous production and a movie poster that makes it look like its own low-quality straight-to-DVD rip-off, they’ve predictably chosen to avoid press screenings so we haven’t seen any worthwhile reviews yet. Expect them to be poor, but not poor enough that, like Transformers 2, they end up making you want to see the film after all.
We have a top pick this week, though! Nollywood Babylon is an NFB-produced documentary that looks at Nollywood, reputedly the biggest film-producing “-wood” in the world, with more than twenty-five hundred films created within Nigeria for the local market. The films produced are an utterly bizarre alternative evolution of cinema that—in the trailers—appear to be hyper-kinetic, non-stop insanity, but when you actually watch them they mostly seem to involve groups of people arguing in their living rooms. They’re (therefore) much more interesting to learn about than to watch, and that makes Nollywood Babylon a near-perfect introduction to the form, because it’s funny but never sneers at the endeavors of the Nigerian film industry, instead fully offering a fair look at it. Admittedly, they don’t explain Toronto Connection at all, a film that still intrigues us! Anyway, Nollywood Babylon plays the NFB Mediatheque at 7 p.m. from August 11 to 13.
Also out this week: twee, indie moc-doc Paper Hearts, for those of you not worn out already by (500) Days of Summer; Park Chan-wook’s Korean vampire horror Thirst; Danish WWII epic Flame and Citron; dolphin eco-horror The Cove; Cold Souls; Adam; A Perfect Getaway; and Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country.