Here are two very different movies worth seeing – both are in theaters now!

Melancholia” is the latest from iconoclastic, bombastic Danish director Lars von Trier.  I love this man in all his pretentious glory  - like I love the Teutonic blowhard Werner Herzog.  I’m often not totally sure what these people are trying to say, but I love the bluster with which they say it.  And “Melancholia” is a great example of that.  Stunning visually (and auditorily – love that LOW ENDDDD), this story of a very upscale wedding, a very depressed person and our planet’s last days is supposed to convey a message about human hopelessness.  I think.  What I can say for sure is that the 136 minutes went by very fast and that I was riveted by the mere conviction of the cast, even though they were given very little to work with in terms of character.  As always, LvT’s films are worth seeing, whether you end up necessarily liking them or not, and the opening sequence of this one is worth the price of admission.

The Conquest is about a subject that might just make you wish for the end of days: the cynical quest for power .  But it’s actually a lot of fun. This fictionalized account of the rise of French pol Nicholas Sarkozy is fascinating, even though I’m sure I missed a lot of the subtleties of le politique française.  Certainly the story of Sarkozy’s battles on the political battlefield aren’t unique to France, even if the halls of power are a tad more rococo than ours and the players have better table manners.  And while Michael Sheen (as Tony Blair) has set the bar for the portrayal of modern leaders, Denis Podalydès does an amazing job as Sarkozy, portraying him (like Sheen) as a multi-faceted, if somewhat questionable, human being.

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