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Two to See: Film Reviews

Arts Reporter Steve Walkers takes a look at two new films showing in KC. Micmacs
The latest ride from "Amelie" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who makes movies unlike anyone else working today, is wildly inventive. Expressive actor Dany Boon channels Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as a goofy video store clerk who's shot in the head in the first 10 minutes but survives to wreak vengeance on the military industrialists who made the bullet. He assembles an army of eccentric compatriots who live in a dome literally made of junk and bring a variety of products and talents to the fight, from sculptures made of discarded kitchen appliances to those of a circus contortionist. The movie evokes utter joy as we watch Jeunet manage to bring what must have been insane ideas on the page to dazzling, brilliant life. And I propose that if every college student in America saw it, the future of foreign film distribution in this country would be ensured. - Steve Walker

I Am Love
Italian director Luca Guadignino and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton worked together off and on for 11 years on this epic family melodrama that is at once gorgeous, sad and thrilling - and my favorite movie so far in 2010. Swinton plays the Russian-born (but fluently Italian-speaking) wife of a wealthy textile magnate and mother of his three children. After her husband and eldest son are handed the keys to the kingdom, the theme of money never buying happiness asserts itself with bravado and filmmaking genius that purposely salutes the lush 1950s movies of Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk. Add breathtaking set design - Milan's historic Villa Necchi Campiglio served as the family estate - and a rich score written by contemporary opera composer John Adams - who loaned multiple segments of his "Nixon in China" - and you've got a movie ripe for movie lovers. - Steve Walker

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