Movie Reviews: Bandslam, Flame & Citron, The Time Traveler's Wife 

Also, The Goods, It Might Get Loud and more

Wednesday, Aug 12 2009

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GO  TAXIDERMIA A batshit-crazy whatsit that applies a dazzling visual vocabulary to gleefully crass buffoonery, Taxidermia suggests a Jackass flick as directed by Sweden’s Roy Andersson. The stoner’s fantasy of non sequiturs and carnivalesque body horrors begins, almost sensibly, with a possibly retarded army dude singeing the hairs on his body, then shooting flames from his cock — a phantasmagoric expression of the lengths to which bored stiffs will go in order to get off. The dimwitted perv will go out with an unexpected bang, but not before slipping his dick into a freezing tub of water, a makeshift vagina carved into the side of his cabin, and a portly tease who will give birth to his son, a future giant, literally, of the speed-eating world. The tableaux depicting the pathetic, single-minded lives of father, son and, finally, sickly taxidermist grandson are insanely stitched together with highly conceptual graphics, and director György Pálfi’s vision includes a 360-degree pan around a vomit trough and the conflation of an orgasm to the killing of a pig. All this helps to shape Pálfi’s crudely bombastic but impressive philosophical view of the body as landscape and art, a source of personal discovery, wonder and annihilation. (Nuart) (Ed Gonzalez)

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE A dapper (mostly) contemporary costume drama, The Time Traveler’s Wife is abundantly interior-decorated in vintage rococo. Eric Bana, to his credit, continues to wear the outfits picked out for him remarkably well. The hip-bougie upholstery even covers the band at the fairy-tale wedding, playing “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” It’s not really love, though, that complicates things between Clare (Rachel McAdams) and Henry (Bana) but, instead, Henry’s tendency to inconveniently melt in and out of the present, finding himself unceremoniously stranded somewhere in time, naked. The “absentee time-traveling partner” is an open invitation to apply your own metaphor — I favor a time-travel-equals-chronic-blackout-drinking reading, but it’s elastic enough for whatever. Wife recalls a few other timeline-tangled romances, not least the telescoped lifelong love of 1948’s Portrait of Jennie — but where Jennie favored a “poetic” logic (and no-strings-attached romance), Wife forgoes any sense of mystery, dealing in the daily difficulties of synchronizing schedules, doctors’ appointments, vasectomies, pregnancies and meeting friends and parents (all crowding the movie and further diluting the already-limited rapport of the central lovers). This thoroughness may impress fans of the bestseller source novel but will disappoint anyone looking for transport from a movie. Being a time traveler’s wife, it turns out, is mostly a drag. (Citywide) (Nick Pinkerton)

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