Tag Archive: roman polanski

venus in fur

I was surprised by how much I liked this, especially after how much I disliked Roman Polanski‘s stage-to-screen adaptation of “Carnage.”

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Dir. Roman Polanski
(2011, R, 79 min)

Carnage is a sour, misanthropic slog through bourgeois recriminations. It’s directed by Roman Polanski and written by Polanski and Yasmina Reza, based on her Tony-winning play God of Carnage. It stars Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as an upper-middle-class New York couple, and Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as an upper-upper-middle-class couple, who meet after their respective sons are involved in a playground fight. I believe we’re meant to take Foster and Reilly as the poorer pair, because she’s a writer and he sells plumbing supplies (Waltz and Winslet are in civil law and finance, respectively), but given the size and style of their New York apartment, where the film takes place, and her obsession with limited edition, out-of-print art books, an air of affluence hangs over them as well. They all pride themselves on their maturity in the face of their kids’ violent altercation, but before long their strained pleasantry breaks down and they reveal themselves to be bitter malcontents.

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ghost writer

Dir. Roman Polanski
(2010, PG-13, 128 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

I have seen enough movies that twist fatigue sets in quickly. In some thrillers you can feel them pulling you through the maze, guiding you from plot point to plot point, and in the wrong hands you find yourself bored by the contortions of the screenplay. Instead of engrossed by a story you’re anticipating the beats. “Are we there yet?” you ask the driver. “Wait,” he says, “I’ve got something great to show you.” You roll your eyes and hunch down in the back seat. “Wake me when we get there.”

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Wanted and Desired'

Dir. Marina Zenovich
(Not Rated) ★ ★ ★ ½

What makes the law such popular fodder for film and television is that the adversarial system of justice provides inherent conflict. There’s a prosecutor and a defender arguing their case before the court. One of them is right, and one of them is wrong, and maybe one is even good and the other evil. In the end, there is a verdict, and truth prevails; the guilty are punished or the innocent exonerated … At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. The fascinating documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired recounts a case where justice was turned sideways. It’s about a guilty defendant and two adversarial lawyers who ended up adversaries not of each other but of the judge.

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