Pick of the week: “Renoir“: My full review is here. The legendary painter in his late years is the subject of this French biopic, but the real star is the colors, the frame dappled with gorgeous orange and vermillion that the artist himself would have envied. Aside from the arresting visual poetry of the film, it’s otherwise an agreeable but shallow look, as the painter’s son (who will one day become “Rules of the Game” filmmaker Jean Renoir) falls for one of dad’s nude models.
“Gideon’s Army” — My full review is here. This powerful and eye-opening documentary looks at our legal system, through the eyes of low-income defendants often coerced into pleading guilty to avoid losing everything they have in a protracted trial, and through the eyes of overworked public defenders facing a system stacked against them. Packed with drama and memorable characters (including a defender who has the names of the defendants in every case he’s lost tattooed on his back), this is a must-watch.
“Crimson Tide“ — I hope Gene Hackman is enjoying retirement and historical novel-writing, because we sure miss him at the movies. Hackman and Denzel Washington make worthy opponents in this pressure-cooker drama set aboard a sub that may (or may not) have just received orders to start World War III.
“Perfect Sense” — This is one of the strangest end-of-the-world movies you’ll ever see, as humans (including lovers Ewan McGregor and Eva Green) begin losing their senses one by one. It’s very creepy to watch unfold, and yet the love story offers a glimmer of hope.
“Patton” — Since Patton was larger-than-life, George C. Scott gives a larger-than-larger-than-life performance in this Oscar-winning 1970 film, begin with that incredible opening speech in front of a giant American flag.