Yeah, so those reviews I promised to write kind of took a backseat to doing Russian homework and sleeping for days on end. Whoops.
Anyway, the basic gist:
Michael Clayton: one of those rarest things, a genre picture for adults. Solid acting across the board, especially Tilda Swinton, whose work in the penultimate scene is maybe the best few minutes of acting I've seen all year. What could have easily been a one-man-takes-on-the-evil-empire yawner is instead an incredibly nuanced film with real people doing believable things. And it's a "legal thriller"! Talk about pleasant surprises.
Paranoid Park: awesome. Gus Van Sant's post-Finding Forrester attempts at buying back his soul have been variable in quality, but this is easily his best since Gerry. His formal choices suit the narrative perfectly, since the entire thing is the half-remembered nightmare of a sleepy-eyed teenager; individual scenes are chronologically disordered and often repeat themselves as he attempts to piece together what has happened to him. Christopher Doyle makes a case for himself as the most inventive DP currently working, especially in the shower scene. No, it's not that kind of shower scene.
The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson-by-numbers: very nice to look at, and completely dispensable. Everything - the bandages, the shades, the Indians who essentially function as props - is an apparent attempt at signifying a pathos that is never earned. It doesn't help that the three brothers are virtually indistinguishable in terms of personality, which for the most part is plaintive glumness - it's like Luke Wilson's character in The Royal Tenenbaums wearing three different costumes and talking to himself in split-screen. Bonus demerits for a scene in which the brothers shed their metaphorical baggage by, no seriously, shedding their actual baggage. DUDE. NEXT TIME WRITE A SCRIPT AND NOT JUST A STORYBOARD. I SAW RUSHMORE. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
Adrien Brody was pretty good, though.