Now Playing: ‘The Lunchbox’

Irrfan Khan in 'The Lunchbox'
Irrfan Khan in ‘The Lunchbox’

In The Lunchbox, a sad-eyed office worker nearing retirement in Mumbai gets his regular lunch delivery, only to discover that it’s meant for a married man. But the food is delicious, so he keeps the mistake going and takes up exchanging letters with the cook, a lonely housewife trying to get her husband to notice her.

The Lunchbox is playing now in limited release. My review is at Film Racket:

The sweet and savory epistolary romance The Lunchbox spins a variation on the adage about getting to a man’s heart through his stomach. In this case, the man in question’s heart is certainly touched, but the food he’s illicitly feasting on serves as a wakeup for something else: his soul. It’s more than the woman cooking the food intended. But then, spells have a way of getting away from the caster…

Here’s the trailer:

Reader’s Corner: Bookpub

 

This idea seems like it was a longtime coming. Take the micro- (or nano-) brewery concept that’s been gathering speed across the country, particularly throughout the Midwest, and combine it with reading. Books and beer.

Per the Indianapolis Star, University of Michigan English major Jason Wuerfel is starting up a certain kind of awesome with his new “Books & Brews” storefront:

A personal touch isn’t the only thing setting Books & Brews a part from the competition. All of the beer served in the bar section of the store is brewed on site by Wuerfel. The bookpub owner (yes, I just coined the term bookpub) also is channeling Willy Wonka by allowing folks who pledged $500 or more to the project’s Kickstarter fund to help design a brew, name it, make it, and put it on tap…

Yes, he made all the furniture himself.

(h/t: The Roundup)

Department of Weekend Reading: March 28, 2014

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New in Theaters: ‘Noah’

Every so often it seems that Hollywood gives the Bible epic another go. But there’s something about the genre that could well be so mired in the past that it refuses to be updated; Gibson and Scorsese couldn’t help but fundamentally remake it. Now comes Darren Aronofsky, last seen giving ballerinas nightmares in Black Swan, with his own unique take on the Bible story.

Noah is playing now everywhere. My review is at PopMatters:

In order to tell the story of Noah and the flood for over two hours, the movie erects considerable dramatic and political scaffolding, and in so doing, becomes a Biblical epic truly like no other. With its visionary asides and warnings of environmental apocalypse, it’s too idiosyncratic to make sense as mainstream seat-filler. But Noah is also a tamed thing, curiously lacking in daring for a director usually so eager to pluck an audience’s nerves like a violinist…

You can see the trailer here:

Now Playing: ‘Enemy’

enemy-poster1Last year in Prisoners, director Denis Villeneueve pulled a performance out of the normally downbeat Jake Gyllenhaal whose vibrant intensity stunned even in a film filled with it. With Villeneueve’s followup, a thinly creepy take on a Jose Saramago novel, Gyllenhaal somehow delivers less in a story that asks him to play two visually identical but spiritually opposite roles.

Enemy is playing now in limited release; my review is at Film Racket:

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a somnolent professor at some Toronto university  … He’s a phantom in his own life, not even sure whether those inexplicable moments featuring spiders and dark chambers filled with mysterious people are memories or dreams. With long, anxious shots and very occasional jittery interactions with the people who flit across Adam’s anxious path, Villeneueve tracks him like somebody who is about to implode, if only he existed. Even his mother (Isabella Rossellini) doesn’t seem entirely sure that he does…

Here’s the trailer; great soundtrack at least:

Now Playing: ‘Bad Words’

Jason Bateman has been crafting comedy genius for so long in front of the camera that it’s perhaps inevitable he would eventually move behind it as well. Bad Words is his directorial debut, a promising and blessedly short if wildly uneven hour-and-a-half of rude comedy about a misanthropic adult who crashes a kids’ spelling bee.

Bad Words is still playing just about everywhere. My review is at PopMatters:

Guy Trilby is custom-made for Bateman’s perfected admixture of laconic sharpness. Instead of the more explosive brand of destabilizers favored by US comedy, your John Belushis and Will Ferrells, Bateman upends the norms of this closed micro-society of over-schooled spelling quants by having Trilby simply plant himself there and refusing to move or explain his motivations. Occasionally he’ll try to get a leg up in competition by upsetting his preteen opponents with some verbal guerrilla warfare. But in the main, Trilby is a stoic pillar of nasty. (Having played the put-upon and exasperated nice guy in everything from Arrested Development to Identity Thief, Bateman gets some mileage here out of going so far to the dark side.) He’s Bartleby, and will not be moved…

Here’s the trailer:

Reader’s Corner: The Monastery Library in Admont

The Admont Benedictine Monastery was established in Austria in the year 1074 and is still a going concern. Impressive enough. But add on to that the existence of its stunning Baroque library, finished in 1776. Inside its glorious assemblage of bright walls and frescoed ceilings, the library contains tens of thousands of volumes, including 530 incunabula (books printed before 1500).

The Admont’s builder, Joseph Hueber, was a man of the Enlightenment, who believed in beauty of all kinds:

As with the mind, light should also fill the room.

(h/t: Fodor’s)