Love And Death -
Fantastic film from Woody Allen, and further proof that Diane Keaton really was his muse, and lack of her may be part of the reasons behind his more recent lack of artistic ambition.
And this is a very, very ambitious film. Fantastic cinematography, a massively beautiful score by Shostakovich (Shostakovich!) and a hilarious script, I'm sure by Woody Allen himself.
The acting is hysterically theatrical. Don't look into this for heartbreaking method acting. Look into it for overstated, simplistic and yet honest manner-acting. And Diane Keaton and Woody Allen do it here very, very well. Woody Allen's monologue about wheat combined with Diane Keaton's monologue concerning her future with Boris is the absolutely hilarious result of this style.
Simply put, this is a classic Woody Allen film. Trogoldytes, be warned: a working knowledge of Russian Literature and the Russian people (and a healthy knowledge of Yiddish) is necessary to get the most out of this film.
In The Company of Men -
This is Office Space from hell. Seriously, I don't even want to know what's going on in Neil Labute's head. He's disturbed, or angry, both or maybe even neither.
This is a powerful, depressing, disturbing, affecting film. For some, I'm sure it can be guilt-inducing. It certainly made me revaluate how I look at relationships. Inside of it is also buried a scathing satire of the cliche of romantic comedies - how they pull all this crap that forces conflict, and forces our male hero to make a "confession" to the female romantic interest (see: She's All That, etc.).
In short, an undeniably excellent film. It's the sort of film that when you watch it, you're glad that you rented it, so that you can pause it so you don't have to take all the vileness at once.
A Price Above Rubies -
Renée Zellweger doesn't get enough love around Rotten Tomatoes. She always, always gives a professional performance - at least in all of her movies that I've seen.
This movie has its fair share of problems in terms of pacing, lack of subtlety and stereotypical elements. And the main plot just isn't all that compelling. Some scenes containing surreal conversations with a godess figure are rather awkward.
However, I liked the religious allegory present - Stander is, appropriately enough, a stand-in for Satan himself, and Zellweger obviously represents Eve (or perhaps Lilith?). Eccleston plays poor Adam, beaten around, a very sympathetic figure.