Directed by Dito Montiel
Robin Williams has a peculiar career in movies these days: all his comedies are lousy, but his dramas are almost uniformly worthwhile. In Boulevard—a drama, thank god—he delivers one of his best and most intriguingly internal performances. (Who knew he could have doubled for Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day?) The man whose comedy is without shame is here utterly without vanity; at a crucial moment he obsessively sobs, “It can’t mean nothing,” and it’s a wonder he doesn’t collapse right on the floor.
Two girls steal an infant and kill it through a combination of neglect, ignorance and fear. That (fictional) incident lies at the center of this movie—an event so ghastly that its pain echoes out to everyone involved seven years later. Because the death occurred at the hands of children, it's easy and reasonable to dismiss it as a horrid mistake made by kids who may not act on the same impulses even a year later. But then the girls are released from prison and another child disappears under similar circumstances. Is it coincidence, or are the girls—to put it simply—evil? Every Secret Thing (which screens Sunday evening) has an answer to that question, and it's the least satisfying part of the film, an answer that not only awkwardly redefines the film’s narrative but also its genre.
The movie was directed by Amy Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, far removed from the gentle insights of Lovely & Amazing or Enough Said. While Berg’s previous credits, the documentaries Deliver Us From Evil and West of Memphis, covered similarly uncomfortable moral terrain, neither seem especially comfortable balancing the elements of procedural drama with the personal themes that presumably drew them to the material (Laura Lippman’s novel) in the first place. The film’s key character—Diane Lane, playing mother to one of the girls and surrogate mother to the other—is shunted off in favor of a more traditional, less interesting hero, Elizabeth Banks’s cop. It’s always interesting when independent filmmakers try their hands at genre fare, since they often infuse it with idiosyncratic styles and obsessions (example: Inside Man). In this case, the genre overwhelms its makers, and their qualities appear only faintly. That’s enough to make Every Secret Thing a solid entry among procedurals, but nothing more. Ryan Vlastelica
Verdict: Skip if You Want
Horror films are hard to mess up. Even if the script is terrible, filmmakers who can get a vulnerable character surrounded by creepy lighting and eerie noises can count on generating a sense of dread. Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal (which screens at the festival for the last time tonight) contains moments that are undeniably tense, but the tension comes from time-tested, overly familiar techniques. Everything else—you know, the movie part—seems like an afterthought, like this is the horror movie as Mad Libs. Consider the film’s creepiest moment, which involves a webcam seeing something the characters don’t. It’s undeniably tense, but the technique is the cinematic equivalent of frying food: undeniably delicious, but thanks to chemistry, not the skill of the cook. It would’ve been harder to screw that scene up.
Fading Gigolo has an unusual premise, in which Woody Allen plays your pimp; how did it come about?
I thought it would be interesting to do something with Woody; we could have good chemistry and be an interesting duo, and then I thought what would happen if we wound up in the sex business. I was thinking about all these businesses closing throughout New York, and lots of these people had to reinvent themselves. I’ve also always liked movies about streetwalkers; Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria is one of my favorite movies ever. I think it’s a big part of life, and obviously you can trace culture and the dynamics between the sexes and how people go about their business politically and personally.
Every time someone in your movie talks about moving to Bogota, someone else reminds them that there are no black people there. Do Afro-Colombians tend to be pretty invisible in most parts of Colombia? And if so, is that part of what made you want to tell this story?
Yes, definitely. I believe Afro-Latinos in South America in general haven’t been well represented in film, especially in Colombia. If you travel to Buenaventura, it doesn’t take long to see that it’s a place that’s been sort of forgotten by the government. It’s the richest port city in Colombia—it has the most imports and exports—but the people who live there don’t participate in that economy. It’s under siege by a lot of things, especially narco-trafficking.
There's not much Mica Levi is bad at, apparently. She composed for the London Philharmonic at age 21. Her band Micachu & The Shapes used instruments she made herself to create Jewellery, one of the 00s' best weird art-pop records. Never, their 2012 follow-up, is one of the most underrated of this decade so far. She returned to the classical world in 2011, lending a disjointed hip-hop sensibility to the London Sinfionetta chamber orchestra. Now, in her mid-20s, she's become an acclaimed film composer for scoring Under the Skin, the beautifully odd new sci-fi flick by '90s music video master turned Kubrick heir, Jonathan Glazer.
In it, Scarlett Johansson plays a seductive alien preying on the lonely young men of Scotland. With dark, baffling images and hardly any dialogue, Levi's anxious, buzzing score has to do much of the film's work to let the viewer inside a somewhat inscrutable character grappling with the onset of humanity. It's hypnotic, disorienting, and quite impressive. We talked to Levi about working on a film for the first time, her music's unique role in Under the Skin, and how hearing Dr. Dre in a strip club influenced her own soundtrack to man-eating.
Is probably truth what Lisa says, She (mary lou) had a threesome with two of…
The evening with Nas and Clemente was amazing. Read about it here: