My Architect: A Son’s Journey
lovely documentary tells the story of Nathaniel Kahn, the illegitimate
son of the titan of modern architecture, Louis Kahn. If you enjoy contemporary art and architecture you’ll love this film. Kahn died (dirt poor in a washroom at Penn Station in New York in 1974) leaving behind his wife (and daughter) plus two mistresses and two illegitimate children. Nathaniel interviews folks who knew and worked with his father, including Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry, and I.M. Pei.
The film is a story of a son trying to better understand and come to terms with a father he barely knew. It is genuine and moving. And, of course, outside the story of a son looking for his dad, you get to see the wonderful structures this artist-cum-architect built that changed the modern aesthetic: the Exeter Library; the National Assembly in Decca (shown below); and the silent, beautiful Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. My rating 8 out of 10.
This film, which garnered great reviews, is actually stolen from the work of Hong Kong action film masters, Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak, specifically their brilliant 2002 film, Infernal Affairs. This version is set in Boston and stars ‘it’ boy Matt Damon, former ‘it’ boy Leonardo DiCaprio and I-only-know-one-way-to-act-and-do-the-same-character-everytime, Jack (yawn) Nicholson. I don’t know about you but I’m so sick of Jack Nicholson and his one-dimensional acting that everyone thinks is so wonderful.
That all said, this movie directed by Martin Scorsese, is engaging (if terribly violent). I disliked it thoroughly but have to admit this is more because I dislike Nicholson so much. So blatant bias aside we have rookie cops DiCaprio and Damon joining the Massachusetts Police as moles of big bad Irish mob-guy Nicholson. DiCaprio plays the double agent role (working for Nicholson but actually working for the good guys) while Damon works for the cops but is actually on Nicholson’s side. Two long sad hours of violence later, and with Nicholson finally gunned down, we reach the reason for this film: the Damon and DiCaprio denouement facing each other on a rooftop and in an elevator. Course, both end up dead and we’re left thinking (or was it only me?): ‘Yeh, so, what’s the point of all this?’. My rating 5 out of 10.
Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful film! Pedro Almodóvar’s (who is gay btw) Volver is simple, profound, complex, gorgeous. The story/screenplay is brilliant, woven thickly and incorporates today, yesterday, a ghost, a death and a murder … and lots of stunning women, Penelope Cruz (playing the lead character Raimunda) in particular (who I would hope receives an Oscar nod). Too interlaced and beautiful to dare spoil by trying to explain here, I’ll simply say, see it! My rating 9 out of 10.