Dogville: 8 out of 10. Lars von Trier’s become one of the big names at Film Festivals worldwide the last few years with Breaking The Waves and Dancer In The Dark, so there was a big crowd on hand at the Elgin Theatre today for his newest, Dogville. Of course, a good portion of the crowd was there to see Nicole Kidman (and, possibly, Chloe Sevigny). There was enough celebrity worship to make us squirm a bit. The film was 3 hours long, and von Trier’s really taken the Dogme 95 Manifesto to heart; no music, no visual effects, no nothing…not even real sets. The entire movie was shot on a single stage, with only tape outlines marking where walls and buildings (and plants, and animals) would be. There were a few props…chairs, desks, tables, beds…but nothing that didn’t figure into the movie in some way. It was dangerously close to being incredibly pretentious, but got away with it because of the sincerity of the writing and acting. This won’t come to many theatres, and it won’t be for everyone, but it was bold and different, and you can’t fault anyone who at least tries something like that.
Casa de los Babys: 6 out of 10. John Sayles, as always, makes a story out of nothing. However, unlike Lone Star or Sunshine State, this one just wasn’t all that interesting. Good performances by Lili Taylor, who’s hilarious, and Marcia Gay Harden, who does sociopath very well, but other than that, unremarkable. Maybe it’s just because Dogville had gotten me used to a long movie, but this film seemed abbreviated, like I needed to know more about what happened to each person. He introduced all these characters, got them about half way into the audience’s minds and then rolled the credits. Too bad.