Lacombe, Lucien – This 1974 Louis Malle film centers around a young Frenchman who is seduced to join the German police at the tail end of WW2. Malle makes Lucien a blank slate – He doesn’t seem to have any great affinity for the Gestapo, he just likes the idea of carrying a gun and seeming important. The core of the film is the boys’ relationship with a Jewish tailor and his beautiful daughter. The tailor (Holger Lowenalder) has lived a comfortable life, and is quietly realistic about what his future holds. Lucien begins by clumsily trying to seduce the daughter, but begins to build a cautious friendship with the old man, as well. Beautifully acted and photographed, and a harsh indictment of French corroboration. A great film.
Dinner for Schmucks – Some pretty good laughs here, mainly from Steve Carrell. The film centers around a corporate ladder-climber played by Paul Rudd who needs to bring a guest to his slimy boss’ “Dinner for Idiots” in order to secure his promotion and get a posh new office. When he meets Barry (Carrel), whose hobby is creating dioramas out of dead mice, it seems like a match made in heaven. The performances of the two leads reminds a bit of the great Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for the way it mixes a sweet doofus with a chronic tight-ass. The film kind of goes down the trail you think it will, but it’s a fun ride, nonetheless. Recommended.