This summer has been something of a bummer as far as the tent-poles are concerned (and I'm writing this scant hours after seeing Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, a film that does nothing to brighten my general opinion of the season). Smaller, cleverer, more thoughtful films are doing pretty good, though. We've gotten Cyrus and The Kids are All Right; still to come is the incredible Israeli war film Lebanon; a couple of gritty crime dramas -- Animal Kingdom from Australia and Mesrine: Killer Instinct from France -- and the cleverly observed Change of Plans, also from France. That's a pretty solid line-up, and we haven't even covered documentaries.
And this week sees the opening of Get Low, the directorial debut of cinematographer Aaron Schneider, starring Robert Duvall as Felix Bush -- an Appalachian hermit who decides he wants to throw his own funeral before he dies -- Bill Murray as the funeral director all too happy to oblige, and Sissy Spacek as the woman tied to Felix's past. If just looking at that cast list gives you a warm glow, rest assured that the film fulfills the promise of the line-up. Nice to have something with the confidence to pull back and let the drama breathe, and that has a cast with the chops to handle that freedom. Hopefully this won't be the last time Schneider takes the helm.
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