Moon Over Frozen River
In Moon, Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a mining technician confronted by a mystery -- a neat variation on a perennial SF theme -- that undermines his sense of identity and grip on reality. Its tropes echo classic 1970s films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running; its twists are expertly handled; Rockwell's portrayal of Sam, by turns assertive and exhausted, is affecting and assured. Frozen River is set firmly in the here and now, on the border between New York State and Canada. Melissa Leo (Detective Sergeant Kay Howard in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street) plays mother-of-two Ray Eddy, who gets mixed up in cross-border people smuggling after her husband, a gambling addict, takes off with cash saved to buy a new trailer home. The script and direction by Courtney Hunt is tight and precise and merciless; Leo is terrific as a woman trying to hold everything together as her situation grows increasingly desperate and dangerous; Misty Upham is also terrific as her Mohawk partner-in-crime. I really liked both these films. Catch 'em if you can.
Also seen: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. But even though it was reviewed after its Cannes showing, I'm embargoed from commenting on it until the week of its release. I had to sign a release to that effect at the screening, and a promise is a promise. What happens if I break it is unclear, but, you know, I can't be bothered to find out.