⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Unrated: In subtitled French.
Michel Gondry, director of such eccentric extravaganzas as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep,” tackles love and death in his new surreal romance. The affable Romain Duris plays a Parisian dilettante who decides to fall in love and wins winsome Audrey Tautou. Gondry finds nutty visual metaphors for their ecstatic rapport, giving them gigantic giraffe legs to dance with, a magical piano that turns music into swell cocktails, and a cloud/flying saucer that lifts them high over the city skyline. Then a waterlily lodges in her lung, treatments bankrupt the couple, and the color scheme darkens from pop-art rainbows to chilly browns and blacks. This is a fatalistic fable about aging and loss disguised in ultra-zany wrapping paper.
A SUMMER’S TALE
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Unrated: In subtitled French.
Theater: St. Anthony Main.
Eric Rohmer’s 1996 romance captures the undercurrents of attraction and inhibition in a platonic romance between a young man and woman. Melvil Poupaud plays a shy fellow on vacation in Brittany. Amanda Langlet plays a flirtatious local waitress, Gwenaëlle Simon is her aggressive, beautiful friend, and Aurelia Nolin is his sort-of girlfriend who arrives on the scene late, just in time to heighten the complications. The fascination of the film is the way the dialogue tells one story while body language screams another. As the intellectual young characters discuss their commitments and principles, their stolen glances and increasingly affectionate caresses make clear the struggle going on inside. The best films leave space for viewers to interpret the action. Here Rohmer insists on it.
4 MINUTE MILE
⋆⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Unrated: PG-13 (mature thematic material involving violence, drinking and drugs, smoking, some strong language).
Theater: Mall of America.
An earnest Kelly Blatz (the TV series “Glory Daze”) is Drew, a talented high school track star with anger issues. Certainly, the kid living in a rundown Seattle neighborhood has a lot to be angry about: losing his dad at a young age, an older brother (Cam Gigandet, “Twilight”) whose only source of income is drug dealing, and a mom (Kim Basinger) who has given up on life. The only bright spot is his sorta-girlfriend, Lisa (Analeigh Tipton from “Lucy” and “Warm Bodies”).
When Drew quits the team after a fight with another runner, a former coach and neighbor (the always impressive Richard Jenkins) takes him under his wing.
How they help each other push through the pain gives “4 Minute Mile” its juice and sense of resonance. Thanks to solid performances and a steady hand from director Charles-Olivier Michaud and writers Josh Campbell and Jeff Van Wie, “4 Minute Mile” is a moving, if occasionally heavy-handed, sports drama that deserves a wider audience than it is probably going to find in its limited release.
Cary Darling, Fort-Worth Star Telegram