Movie reviews: 'The Names of Love' and 'The Man Who Fell to Earth'

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2011 - 3:04 PM

Plus "Jig" and "Vito Bonafacci."

hide

Sara Forestier and Jacques Gamblin in "The Names of Love"

Photo: Music Box Films,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

THE NAMES OF LOVE

In this adorably daffy movie, Bahia (Sara Forestier), a politically engaged, sexually uninhibited Parisian, comes up with an innovative way to promote her progressive agenda. She sleeps exclusively with right-wingers, be they Islamophobic French nationalists or immigrant Muslim fundamentalists, converting the body politic one man at a time.

Since Forestier is a breezy, engaging actress (she won France's Oscar equivalent, the Cesar, in this role), Bahia comes across as zany and effervescent, not haywire. When she meets Arthur (Jacques Gamblin), a proper medical examiner, he's understandably smitten. But there are a couple of small issues. She's half-Algerian, and he's got lingering issues with his half-Jewish heritage. He's twice her age. And he's a lefty.

The ebullient screenplay (which also won a Cesar) borrows freely from "Annie Hall"-era Woody Allen. There are straight-to-camera asides, a riotously un-PC scene of Bahia ruining a dinner party with innocent but anti-Semitic-sounding remarks, and kid actors playing young Arthur and Bahia who squabble with their grownup selves. There's even a Marshall McLuhan moment featuring a prominent French politician who proves to be a really good sport. It's all put across with such energy and good spirits that it feels brand new. If you don't enjoy this one, you don't like fun. --COLIN COVERT

  • ★★★ out of four stars
  • Rating: R for sexual content including graphic nudity, and some language.
  • Where: Edina.
  • View showtimes.

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH

From the decadent rock-star psychodrama of "Performance" to the Australian Aborigine mysticism of "Walkabout" to the supernatural riddles of "Don't Look Now," director Nicolas Roeg has always seen our world as a strange place. It has never looked more dazzling and bizarre than in his 1976 shaggy dog sci-fi epic "The Man Who Fell to Earth." David Bowie is haunting, androgynous and ethereal as a spaceman hoping to return to his dying world with fresh water. Instead he succumbs to human vices while shocking our economy with disruptive new technologies.

The film presents our world as if seen through his eyes, with edits making unexplained leaps in location and chronology. Candy Clark co-stars as the main-street American girl who falls in love with this strange, vulnerable visitor and witnesses his descent into Howard Hughes-like isolation and paranoia. The film is a more poignant (and infinitely bleaker) portrait of extraterrestrial homesickness than "E.T." --COLIN COVERT

  • ★★★ 1/2 out of four stars
  • Rating: R; nudity, drug use, alien sex.
  • Where: Lagoon.
  • View showtimes.

JIG

You've seen it in "Riverdance" -- Irish dancers with legs going a mile a minute, hands and upper bodies straitjacket stiff. This competition documentary, following contestants in an annual international dance-off, is sort of cut in half, too. The practice and performance sequences are compelling, but the history of the dance style, the intricacies of judging and the personalities of the hoofers are hardly addressed. There are some socioeconomic tensions in the piece, with an affluent little girl from New York in competition with a poor lass from Northern Ireland, but the focus is more on choreography than rivalry. If you enjoy this form of entertainment, you'll like "Jig" hugely, but if you're not already persuaded, there's little here to inflame your curiosity. --COLIN COVERT

  • ★ 1/2 OUT OF FOUR STARS
  • Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and language.
  • Where: St. Anthony Main.
  • View showtimes.

VITO BONAFACCI

Between Hollywood's reliable mining of the exorcism vein and the vampire-slaying action hero of "Priest," recent studio releases suggest that men of the cloth are needed only to deal with the supernaturally horrific. So this earnest film, about a lapsed Roman Catholic in spiritual crisis, is a welcome reminder of religion's true work.

John Martoccia debut feature tells a simple tale. The title character (Paul Borghese) is a well-off contractor shaken by a nightmare. The film follows Vito through his day as he asks his wife and employees if he is a good man, whether they believe in heaven and hell, what role the church plays in their lives. In flashback, he recalls lessons from Catholic teachers. By the evening, he reaches out to his local priest, renewed in his faith. Effectively a tutorial on Catholic rituals, this isn't a great film -- too many scenes are static or clumsily acted -- but it is elevated by touches of neorealist style. In a world fixated on bombast, "Vito Bonafacci" offers a quiet haven for meaningful meditation. --DANIEL M. GOLD, NEW YORK TIMES

  • ★★ 1/2 out of four stars
  • Not rated.
  • Where: Arbor Lakes.
  • View showtimes.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

recent movie releases

Search by category

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close