Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Short Takes, Vol. 5”

In this edition of Short Takes, Regina catches some DVDs that slipped through the cracks, such as Boy A, The Class, The Possession of Joel Delaney, Whatever Works and the second season of Mannix.

BOY A. (2007, The Miriam Collection). Andrew Garfield, Peter Mullan, Siobhan Finneran. Directed by John Crowley. Gripping, well-done study of a young man who attempts to reenter society after having served time for a crime he committed as a kid. British-made drama raises questions about juvenile punishment and rehabilitation. Good performance by Garfield as the man who tries to start over. THE CLASS. (2008, Sony.) François Bégaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene. Directed by Laurent Cantet. A year in the life of a French schoolteacher in a tough multi-cultural Paris neighborhood. Based on the autobiographical novel by Bégaudeau, who plays himself opposite real students. This movie was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film, and won a bunch of other awards, but I found it only mildly interesting. MANNIX: THE THIRD SEASON. (1970-71, CBS/Paramount.) Mike Connors, Gail Fisher, Robert Reed. My favorite TV private eye is back, looking slick in that Plymouth Barracuda convertible. Fisher won an Emmy for her work this season as Mannix’s secretary and confidante. Look for the episode where Mannix loses his sight.

THE POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY. (1972, Legend Films.) Shirley MacLaine, Perry King. Directed by Waris Hussein. Upper-crust divorcee becomes concerned when her brother returns from Tangiers, acting strangely and with a sudden ability to speak Spanish. Possession idea predates The Exorcist by a year. King, in his debut film role, is suitably creepy; exorcism scene is pretty silly. OK for MacLaine fans. WHATEVER WORKS. (2009, Sony Pictures Classics.) Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood. Directed by Woody Allen. After his four-movie European sojourn, The Woodman’s back in New York, with this very funny look at a curmudgeon (David, in his element), who puts up with, then becomes attached to, a homeless young Southern girl (Wood, charming). Meanwhile he kvetches amusingly throughout, no matter what happens to or around him (“This is not the feel-good movie of the year,” David warns us early on). Patricia Clarkson and particularly Ed Begley Jr. provide good support as Wood’s parents, who leave the deep South for their own slice of the Big Apple. Plays like vintage Allen, which is what it is (the screenplay was originally written in the 1970s for Zero Mostel).

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