I have nothing but admiration for Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, a heartfelt homage to the great filmmaker and comedic artist Jacques Tati, based on one of his unproduced screenplays. But I wanted to love the film wholeheartedly, and I didn’t.
Tati’s films like Mon Oncle, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, and Playtime, are marvels of comic invention, but they are not so much hilarious as droll. My Merriam-Webster dictionary defines that word as “having a humorous, whimsical or odd quality.”
Chomet has captured all three of those qualities in his lovingly-crafted film, but it remains—
I count Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation as one of my favorite films of the decade, and I have great respect for her other pictures—except for the one at hand. Somewhere, which somehow won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival, strikes me as a non-movie, an utter waste of time.
Apparently, others see profundities in what strikes me as an obvious, and superficial, examination of an actor’s life in Los Angeles, where he lives in pampered luxury at the Chateau Marmont. An absentee dad, he is suddenly saddled with the responsibility of looking after his daughter, which eventually causes him to—
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