Films viewed in 2011

494. 8 1/2

In Foreign Language on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Dir. Frederico Fellini

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

MY TAKE

Tricky business this film reviewing 50 years after the fact. Frederico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963) is still widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece after creating a small firestorm on its release, winning two Oscars along the way. The visuals remain striking and bizarre, and the overall atmosphere manages to capture the chaos of an artistic mind desperately grasping for both creative and sexual releases. But I couldn’t help feeling like more context was required for piecing together this poetic puzzle. The title may refer to the number of times you need to see it before the whole thing really clicks.

493. Helvetica

In Documentary on August 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Dir. Gary Hustwit

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

MY TAKE

Forget what’s in a name, how about what’s in a font? Gary Hustwit’s unlikely subject for a documentary about Helvetica, the teacher’s pet of typographers and designers around the world, will appeal to more than just sans serif addicts. The film may not earn its full feature length runtime, but there are historical lessons about modern aesthetics that will interest most modern artists. Keeping the approach and length minimal, however, might have made for a perfect one-hour TV doc instead. So don’t feel bad if you scroll through the film for the fonts that interest you.

492. Shadow of a Doubt

In Thriller on May 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

A young woman discovers her visiting “Uncle Charlie” may not be the man he seems to be.

MY TAKE

Often cited as the favourite of his own films, Aflred Hitchock’s Shadow of a Doubt is a deliciously suspenseful slice of domestic thrills.  Joseph Cotton plays the shady uncle who brings just right balance of intrigue and terror with his menacing portrayal of a killer that’s a little too close to home. Without the same visual flourish as some of his more famous work, the story manages to grab the viewer all the same and pull you in before nearly pushing you off the train. Hitchcock may have stronger films, but aside from some quaint plot points, this one holds up nicely.