Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
David Elliott begins and ends this week's review with fishy fantasies — first of fishing, then of serving. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is about salmon fishing in the Yemen. "In England and Scotland, the film reaches for the quirky satirical vibes of the old Ealing studio comedies, which were big on absurd dreams and projects. In the rugged desert nation — Yemen, south of Saudi Arabia, is mostly known for sand and fanatics — the sheikh’s vision takes on the aura of a mirage made awesomely of cement." I'm putting "cement mirage" up there in the running for 2012's Oxymoron of the Year. Also, wouldn't you love to see a documentary titled simply Sand and Fanatics?
To better help you understand the review of Norwegian Wood, here is Wikipedia on mise-en-scène: "an expression used to describe the design aspects of a theatre or film production, which essentially means 'visual theme' or 'telling a story' — both in visually artful ways through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design, and in poetically artful ways through direction. Mise-en-scène has been called film criticism's 'grand undefined term.' When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement — composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. Mise-en-scène also includes the positioning and movement of actors on the set, which is called blocking...This narrow definition of mise-en-scène is not shared by all critics. For some, it refers to all elements of visual style — that is, both elements on the set and aspects of the camera. For others, such as U.S. film critic Andrew Sarris, it takes on mystical meanings related to the emotional tone of a film." Got that? Good. Moving on.
Being Flynn is not, alas, a scandalous tell-all biopic about Errol Flynn. Instead, it's a film based on a memoir with the far more arresting title of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. I don't get it. They can put a tagline like "The only thing getting blown tonight is their cover" on the poster for 21 Jump Street, but they can't bust out the asterisks for 'bullshit'? Weird. Anyway, it apparently stars Robert DeNiro as an actor playing a role. Imagine. Huge points for mentioning Joe Gould's Secret, though.
And finally, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Elliott: "What is perfection? A horizon that beckons and never arrives. Artists, not wishing their search to end, are grateful. After 75 years in the trade, Tokyo sushi-genius Jiro Ono, 85, remains gloriously unsatisfied." I think I'll be seeing that one.