Film Reviews: 'The 11th Hour,' 'The Ten,' 'Moliere'
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'The 11th Hour'
Entering a preview for this documentary, I was handed information about fighting global warming with a low-carbon diet and told there would be a discussion afterward. No wonder the movie felt a bit like homework.
Without Leonardo DiCaprio's participation as producer and narrator, "The 11th Hour" () likely would have turned up on cable. That would not have diminished its essential, timely message about how we are exhausting nature's resources and putting ourselves in danger of extinction. We've been piggish, and our consumer culture is killing us.
It goes over some of the same ground as "An Inconvenient Truth" but offers history lessons, 50-plus experts (too many, in fact) and a reminder that we need not abandon hope. Instead of hanging our heads in despair, we can consider this a grand opportunity to re-imagine everything from how we commute to how we cool our buildings.
It's a little short on practical suggestions but it makes the point that climate change is real and that the Earth will be able to heal itself after humans are gone. And it ends with a drumbeat that sounds like the insistent ticking of a very large and loud clock.
Opening at the Squirrel Hill Theater.
Rated PG for some mild disturbing images and thematic elements.
-- Barbara Vancheri,
Post-Gazette movie editor
A 1992 episode of "The Simpsons" in which Homer skips church and lounges around the house making waffles and dancing in his undies is funnier than a segment of this comedy dealing with the same subject.
Other attempts to reinterpret the Ten Commandments, however, are audacious although decidedly R-rated. Not to mention uneven, with some commandments interpreted in bizarrely original ways and others falling flat.
From David Wain ("Wet Hot American Summer") and Ken Marino, "The Ten" () uses Paul Rudd to introduce the sketches and appear as a man torn between his wife and his mistress. The aggressively quirky cast also includes Winona Ryder, Gretchen Mol, Liev Schreiber and Oliver Platt, and they're all plowing new ground here.
"The Ten" opens with a skydiving accident that leaves Adam Brody falling through the sky without his parachute and becoming wedged in the ground. To move him would kill him, but he emerges as an unlikely celebrity who is "worshipped," at least for a while.
The movie, intentionally silly and out there, gives new spin to the other Commandments, with a doctor who kills patients as a "goof," a prisoner who covets his neighbor's "wife" and a bizarre consumer competition. It's all pretty much a goof that even ends with everyone breaking into song.
The actors look like they had a swell time making "The Ten." Much like Homer Simpson, until he set the house on fire.
Rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content including dialogue and nudity, and for language and some drug material.
-- Barbara Vancheri
Down-and-out actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin -- a k a "Molière" -- aspires to create something more than cheap farce. But his provincial troupe has gone broke and he's been thrown into debtors' prison.
Suddenly, in director Laurent Tirard's telling of the tale (), Molière (Romain Duris) is released and his debts paid off by wealthy Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), on the condition that Jourdain's dubious one-act play -- he spent an entire hour writing it -- be honed by Molière into a vehicle for seducing the beautiful saloniste Jourdain lusts after. Their scheme must, of course, be kept secret from Jourdain's wife Elmire (Laura Morante), which requires Molière to pose in their household as an austere priest named Tartuffe.
And that's just the flashback. Melding Molière and Tartuffe into one character creates so many complexities, it's hard to keep things straight when Molière, 13 years later, is back in Paris with his own theater, the king's favor and a mysterious young lady's request to visit her dying mother.
Duris is both sexy and prickly in title role, while Luchini and Mirante are excellent in support. Director Laurent Tirard's witty costume drama (in French with English subtitles) dresses the playwright's political and artistic intrigues in whimsical cloth with sumptuous colors.
Gorgeous if dullishly slow in its first hour, this "Molière in Love" takes more liberties than the American Civil Union thereof. But it's a thoroughly enjoyable English (and French) teacher's -- as opposed to history teacher's -- dream: a fine primer on Molière's time, place and delicious art of puncturing human hypocrisy.
Opening at the Manor Theater. Rated PG-13 for some sexual content.
-- Barry Paris,
Post-Gazette film critic
First Published August 31, 2007 12:00 am