Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FI Two-for-One: "Pat and Mike" and "My Winnipeg"

Pat and Mike

One of the later Tracy/Hepburn pairings, Pat and Mike is also one of the more poorly aged. Sure, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy's undeniable chemistry is here in spades, but the film's dated sports scenes and cameos from some classic (and some barely-remembered) athletes really make its age show. The plot is also a bit of a relic, with some sloppy message about who "owns" a woman thrown into a sports story that mostly fails to engage. But a few good slapstick moments and the fun of watching Hepburn and Tracy do their thing elevate the film above the mediocre rating it otherwise deserves.

My Winnipeg

If you're not familiar with the singular style of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, this film might not be the best place to start. Maddin tends to combine silent-movie visuals and intertitles with surreal, dream-like, psychoanalytical plots. In My Winnipeg, he applies his style to a semi-documentary examination of his home city, Winnipeg. Blending historical footage and photographs with reenactments -- and outright fabrications -- Maddin explores the history of Winnipeg and his own family life there. Somehow, it all ties together into an absorbing, irreverant look at one individual's complicated relationship with a little-known but unique city. But it requires patience, and the odds are that, if you can't get past Maddin's style or this film's Freudian conceit, you probably won't enjoy My Winnipeg as much as I did.

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